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Aug 17 2012

The Unbearable Lightness of Being an Expatriate

Comrades,

I have struggled with the thought of writing something about my experience of living in Taipei for four years. I have complained, sometimes loudly to my friends, about the community of foreigners that I often had little choice but to hang out with.

I have always wrestled internally about what my opinion of Taipei should be. On the one hand I have genuinely wanted to discover it and take its pulse, on the other I have not made the necessary efforts to sally too far off from the expat community with whom I shared the comfort of a common language and cultural references.

Several months ago, upon seeing my photography of Taipei, a close friend remarked: “I would say you are rather fond of Taipei, despite your recriminations”. It is true that my most intimate moments with the city have been when I went out with a camera, pounding its pavements for hours on end. The occasions have given me the opportunity to appreciate Taipei in my own way, instead of parroting somebody else’s lines like: “oh it’s so convenient!” or “I feel like I can do anything here!”

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