Hatless [Year in Taiwan, Ed. 5]

Lately, any girls I would notice on the streets with pixie or buzz cuts would give me that much more inspiration and motivation to take off my hat. Having worn hats for the better part of this year so far, including the first week of classes, it felt monumental, freeing, and almost effortless to walk out of the door and face the world like this:

Mental hurdles like this one, not only to classes, but also to spots I’d frequented previously only with hats, meant so much to overcome this past week, at last.

While the wigs ended up being useless, I sure used the hats I’ve gotten well and can confidently say I am a hat person for at least the next three years, as my hair very slowly grows out. I am sure I will find many occasions to don a hat now and then, but it was great proving to myself that I can go au naturel. F i n a l l y .

In other news, I started auditing some classes at NTU and found one that I absolutely love. Even better, it’s all in Chinese, so I am absorbing so much, even if I often have to look up words I hear during lectures. I felt ecstatic after the first lecture with the awesomely frank professor.

As for settling into a daily routine, I haven’t yet figured that out. A particularly busy language partner of mine seems to have every hour of her every day scheduled and planned, with concrete goals to accomplish over the next year—which makes me think: What are my goals? How do I block out my days?

In my natural habitat.

For someone who likes recording certain parts of her life so publicly, I sure need guidance on figuring out how to live my life to the fullest. But what does that mean for me, as someone who is already on a fellowship abroad and in the same country as her long-distance partner? I guess there is always that sense of insufficient use of time—perhaps some dissatisfaction with how one is spending the limited time we do have on earth and wherever we are now.

Sure, we can feel grateful about where we are now, and I certainly do given this past year alone, but planning for the future as best we can remains a nagging necessity. I am realizing the importance of contributing to a never-ending list of goals and checking in on them every once in a while, likely revising them as our attitudes, feelings, and situations also change.

I like taking little steps, such as simply going hatless. I also aspire to be more ambitious with my time here in Taiwan. Luckily, some peers of mine have been quite inspirationally impressive, so I plan to give more time to devising concrete goals and steps toward achieving those goals.

Until next time.