This is is a question I get asked a lot. I really can’t provide a simple answer for this question; I’m going to focus more on the personal growth, because I’ve fallen so in love with the island so much that I’ve developed a strong attachment to the place.
While my answers are simple, I feel like they make up a big chunk of what makes a meaningful life to me.
I really want to get to know the people, the culture, and to be able to comfortably read, write, speak, Chinese so that I can make friends who offer me different perspectives of the world. I want to be able to read and write, as well as translate comfortably, the music/art/design/literature/television/culture of Taiwan so I can share this to the rest of the world. I absolutely missed using Mandarin everyday, and want to continue using it on a day to day basis. To me, language growth is a big criteria of what makes a meaningful life because you learn to challenge your own assumptions about how you see the world through interacting with a different culture.
Taiwan’s snacking culture (and vegetarian culture!) is so amazing. I want to bring some of that back into the US, because I think this really helps contribute to the slow-paced lifestyle: there’s so much to eat and so many places to just sit down, relax, and food is a big part of that.
I’ve heard a lot about how Taiwanese vegetarian food is so amazing (compared to the US). I’ve considered wanting to become vegetarian, but the options here are not so great. Living in Taiwan, if I can eat lots of vegetarian food, I think I will easily be convinced to become vegetarian.
A big part of living a healthy lifestyle for oneself and for the planet is understanding one’s connection to nature. Taiwan is known for it’s beautiful, and easy proximity to nature! Once people have a very strong connection to nature, they will begin to have a greater appreciation of how to manage their natural resources and how to simplify their lives. It’s very refreshing: more cities in the United States need this stronger appreciation of nature.