Nov 01, 2021
3 mins read
i am only at the beginning of my 3rd week in TNNUA though it feels like its been so long ago since ive not been in this place. i feel some settled.
im living in my studio now, not so differently from the 9 months when i was doing the same when in singapore. almost like that was preparation for this. except this is a little more comfortable in that i actually bought a new single-seater sofa that opens into my bed complete with a new pillow, foam mattress and blanket (the green thing you see above). my new friends here like to talk about how comfy my set-up is, how i know how to enjoy. maybe its age and experience that ive led myself to this knowledge that i deserve and want to live generously. i was at a friend's place the other day and remarked how im not sure if i can imagine myself living in a typical room-room, now that ive been so used to living in an open square-space. the only thing extra i would like is probably my own bathroom.
i am either lucky or blessed or destined. more and more i realise as i accept and grow more into myself that it is easy for me to make friends. the kind that i want to keep seeing in this lifetime. already since the time ive been here ive not yet had to figure out public transport to bring myself out of school (school is far away from most daily necessities we have come to take as norm since living in a city). ive enjoyed being a pillion on their motorbikes, often 15min rides to nearby small towns for a supermarket, outside food, cigarettes. im eating mostly shabbily: student meals, 7-11 conveniences, the occasional fried rice a 5min walk away. i intend to cook and eat better, but for now my body is taking it all quite ok.
bought a new helmet to commit myself
having spent about 4 years living on campus in yale-nus, ive learnt the importance to leave the bubble for perspective. in some ways it is like yale-nus here, people live proximate to school, if not in it, we go to class together, eat together, talk openly with one another and in groups into late nights or until the sun rises, drinking, smoking, video games, and each most everyone serious about their work. days and weeks can feel so elongated like ive lived months in them. the minutiae so big. so ive learnt to leave the bubble for perspective however much i love the safety and joy of it, the fantasy of it. already ive been out of tainan twice, once each past week, each with a different new friend. 20-30min rides out, then a ~2hour bus from tainan to taichung. there i land at home, a feeling of freedom, of i can be and say whatever whenever, in a big place, friends or family a reachable distance, or i can be completely anonymous. home seems that for me.
in about a week's time i will have my first exhibition with the school. its a thing for every first year masters, an opportunity to share our work, new or old, with each other and with faculty. 3 weeks ago i dreaded this for i am not a fan of traditional white cube ways of exhibiting my work. now i am excited, that i have this chance to make a new work, anyway anyhow i want, in my own room-space to transform. this is something i made recently:
tape to cushion the hole in a chair, with a 1000NTD hovering inside
being a foreigner but being able to pass for a local has its strange difficulties. especially with the language, though i can communicate verbally decently, the writing and reading is still some arduous, especially the kind we find in "official" documents. the bureaucratic world, as expected, always upsets. three weeks ago most of my worries were about how when to settle into this new place, how when to get my resident visa, open my bank account, etc. maybe ive assimilated or maybe ive just learnt not to care, but these days those worries are far, and my joys are simple, found in the warmth of the sun, the cool of the wind, the green of the trees, the noise of the cicadas, the walks with newold friends, the feel of my bare feet on the land i want to keep touching for a long long while. until next, i wish you similarly these quiet gratitudes!!!!