As I boarded the long 13 hour plane ride to Taiwan this summer all that kept going through my head was how almost everyone told me "you are going to be so different" "this experience is going to change you." I began to think about if I would come back after 2 weeks and be almost unrecognizable, if I wouldn't be able to connect on the same level as my peers and what that all meant. As the 2 weeks went on I realized what they were saying wasn't true. Traveling didn't change me. I changed myseld and traveling to Taiwan only helped me realize what I was missing out on.
I learned a lot while I was in Taiwan. i learned how to make a crown out of leaves (only I was horrible and someone else had to make it for me), how to literally live off rice, drink warm or hot water and enjoy it... even when its 102 degrees outside with an extremely high amount of humidity, take in the incredible little things around you, embrace differences, love with no boundaries and so much more.
Taiwan opened my heart in a way I didn't my heart needed to be open. I found myself loving doing the dirty work... literally. I loved being around people more than ever before. If that meant late night games of UNO or cleaning out an old food storage warehouse, I found a way to love it and enjoy it.
Aside from labor work Taiwan opened my eyes to the true beauty of nature. I've always known that this world is beautiful but sometimes it can be so easy to forget. Taiwan is full of tall green tress, covered in mountains that never end and consume the island, the water is crystal blue and is every where your eye can see. Inland you find rice fields, streams, and more plants than you could imagine. on an hour boat ride you can see up too 800 dolphins, at least I had the chance too.
But what does all this have to do with my trip to Taiwan not changing me but changing my look on life? I opened my eyes to how much of life I was missing. I was forgetting to take in the mall things, find the beauty in every situation, enjoy even the most annoying and hardest thing and truly just love life. Taiwan made me fall in love with life all over again.
I didn't realize how much I wasn't enjoying or appreciating until then. Taiwan opened my heart and I found myself loving life, people, situations and literally everything life has to offer. My whole perspective was positive and loving rather than dreading things I found the positive silver lining. When I was standing knee deep in recycling sorting it for 5 hours I was laughing and having fun. Something that if you told me to do that before I would've been filled with a negative attitude and would have hated every single minute of it. I was playing games and singing stupid songs that thought were funny, even though I'm pretty sure those around me didn't find them very funny.
I came back to the States with my heart full and even more open that I ever thought possible. I wanted to spend more quality time with people, do the simple things in life, work harder, do better, and be better. I didn't wan to just go through the motions but I wanted to live in the moment. I no longer anted to have meaningless conversations but I want to actually get to know people on a deeper level. Needless to say I cared and loved more and hated less. I found that life is so much better with a positive attitude than a negative one. Something that we are so often told but Taiwan truly showed me. So no Taiwan didn't change me it just opened my eyes to so much more.