I hate being labelled as ignorant, or worse discriminatory. I want to accept responsibility when I have done something wrong and learn how to make things better.
I have tried countless times to build friendships with many Taiwanese. It always starts out quite well. Some even blossom into relationships that we explore together. But almost always (of my more than 200 attempts I have been able to maintain about 2 regular consistent friendships that rely on the fact that Ian not always bothering them).
I want to get to know Taiwan better. I want to use my strengths to position myself in this wonderfully welcoming society. But the difficulty I keep having is that this friendliness covers a deep issue.
For many Taiwanese, they find it very difficult to see a future with a foreigner. Social media is a big thing for them, and that outward appearance matters so much (which I acknowledge is the case almost everywhere). In the two years I’ve been here I’ve often been the only 外國人 in groups of Taiwanese. I know it makes people uncomfortable. I stick out like a sore thumb. I don’t feel it myself, but then on social media it attracts discussion that ultimately harms the relationship I am building with those new friends.
Is my analysis correct? Is this something that I should accept and move on from? I do not live in Taipei, so I recognize my experience may be different there. I also loved in Beijing a year, and had a support system almost immediately. Very fulfilling friendships with locals that I maintain to this day. But here in Taiwan the experience is very different, I really feel that at first I’m welcome but in the long term it’s better I not bother these people - I’ve outlived my usefulness.