Today, I finally walked out of our Nangang apartment alone to spend the day alone, exploring Taipei, which to many seems like such a small feat. It’s Taipei, for goodness sake – how have you not wandered on your own, they look at me in judgment and bewilderment. But even after several years, I’ve never explored the city on my own. To blame an overprotective and loving mom, would be complete and utter nonsense because honestly, I actually have preferred the comfort of just following her around because then, I never need to feel uncertain or insecure about people figuring out I’m not a native, despite being fluent in Mandarin.
After only 2 hours of being out of familiarity and without the comfort of my mom’s perfume even in the midst of smelly alley ways, stinky tofu and bodily odors on MRTs, I became exhausted from looking for a place to eat and from my obsessive need to be able to read every character on the menu. I mean, I could just speak English and act like I have no idea how to order and then be presented with an English menu, but my pride stands in the way, to the point, where I almost resorted to just purchasing a rice ball at 7-11. I wish I could truly explain to you how rewarding this plate of food was at the moment because it reminded me of my urgent need to get over silly fears of mistakes, of trusting myself a little more and of embracing adventure for what it is – an adventure.
Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice, on some unknown street, near RenAi Road, thank you from saving me from a fully diminished pride. It’s time to force myself out of comfort more often.
An uncomfortable Taiwanese-American