The Pursuit of Great Perhaps

Barbi Ann Genon 2020.04.03

Slowly but surely. One step at a time. You’ll get there, trust the process. - I still remember the exact words I used to tell myself every time I get overly confused but excited. The year 2019 is full of surprises it's coming to end soon but the best is yet to come, it's amazing how I can still recall the days I prayed for the things I have now. The journey is never easy, and it is fair to say that we all experience phases of resilience, rejection, receiving and redemption. I guess all we need to understand is every season has a reason and that is why I am exactly where I need to be at this moment - in Taiwan. Leaving the comfort of my country to pursue an unpredictable and exciting possibilities makes me achieve a more grateful and stronger version of myself.


I always consider myself to be a big dreamer. I don't want to settle for what is fine. I go and seek for my great perhaps. I am an absolute Walter Mitty. I crave for the city lights, the beauty of towering heights, the idea of colorful festivals and even the most bizarre but delicious food sold on every sidewalk. Sure, everything sounds so grand and festive but to finally actually live and work on my own away from my comfort gives me a better perspective of life other than just the gleam and glamour set from my burning passion. I am talking about how I declare my gratitude for the many blessings in my life. Seven months ago today, I was on a plane headed to a new place that I had never been to, having absolutely no idea how much my life would change from that moment on. No family member, no friend and no one to go to if something happens. It was my first international trip but the idea of working and not travelling makes it heavier. Adjusting to the local culture sounds difficult, the language barrier is perhaps the most obvious thing that I am going to have difficulty with when working abroad especially in dealing with my students. However, as a small town girl who has big dreams, I always think that having the chance and opportunity to work abroad is all rose-colored glasses when the truth isn't actually as pretty and inviting sometimes.  I don't know where all the courage came from but all I am certain is I need to step up my game and bring some food on the table for my family and it will only start to  happen if  I work abroad. I am excited but at the same time scared to be living by my own away from my family in a very unfamiliar place. As a family-oriented person, I can't deny the feeling of missing home. My ordinary but peaceful existence with my family gives me safe and comfort. The fact that we are known to have a strong family ties, it is true to say that dependence is somewhat cultivated and that a person, unless determined, is almost definitely won't be able to stand on his own two feet. It could lead to unproductively and idleness. Frankly speaking, I don't see myself in any of those mentioned above and I must work hard to get what I want and to go where I want to be. This requires getting out of the comfort zone and accepting the change in my life.  Hence, I must get out of the comfort zone to face the unknown, the great perhaps.  This is the reason why I always want to work abroad, to feel what I need to feel and to never regret feeling any of them. Everything has a purpose and a reason; I must take the leap of faith to become a stronger person.


There are many reasons why I always want to work abroad. First, I want to experience an intercultural communication in Taiwan, I believe that it will allow me to adapt, integrate and most importantly, understand cultural diversity. I am always fascinated with the culture of Asian countries and its language and I would like to experience it firsthand. This opportunity will help me understand and appreciate ethnic diversity by actively sharing interests, ideas, principles or generally communication that will give me a better and broader horizon of life. Second, I would like to develop career advancement through teaching foreign students and learning their own curriculum. This experience will not just hone my teaching skills but will surely become my gateway to my future and to the world. Third, I would like to develop financial literacy skills, learn how to manage financial resources and make effective decisions in life. I think these are very practical goals that I set for myself before coming to Taiwan. Who doesn't want to achieve greatness while pursuing the dreams of our life? I think working hard for my dreams is such a tremendous job of setting myself for a bright future in the city of my dreams.


To be given a chance to work in a reputed school in Taiwan is both a privilege and a responsibility, it is a privilege because it gives me opportunity to experience unique culture and tradition. It is also a responsibility because teaching English abroad, requires passion, determination and persistence in the field. My seeking towards international career would certainly go hard and difficult if not because of Taiwanese people's respect of humility. First, the people are very much polite and well-mannered regardless if they are a friend, a colleague or a stranger. Second, since English is a foreign language in Taiwan, there are still a lot of people who can't speak fluent English but I am truly proud of  their willingness to try their hardest to help foreigners; may it be about how to use an easy card and get in a train or how to get to the right direction. A society that isn't too egocentric and hard with trying to connect with each other really roots from a positive environment of mutual respect. This behavior awakens me, and I slowly begin to understand how humility plays an important role in our everyday life. Thus, I can ultimately say that Taiwan is a safe and peaceful place where one can start wondering, adventuring, working, living and realizing wildest dreams. While I may be better known for the understanding of humility, I want to truly live a life that is full of gratitude. Living away from my comfort gives me more time to think and feel many things that I don't even notice at all before. I think many people are so obsessed with speed and I, myself is not an exception. In everything I do, I want to be quicker, more efficient and more productive. This is just to say that I want everything to be faster. I realize that the key to appreciation is not about productivity but it's all about mindfulness. Taking a pause is important to reflect upon my present blessings. And when I take time to slow down, I see the smiling faces of an old couple in the breakfast shop who makes the best bacon burger in town and who wishes me a good day all the time, the funny security guard that I have to walk past when I head to the bus stop, the sweet and lovely students who always welcome me when I arrive to school, the school's very humble security guard who always tries to speak English to me every time I get off from work and the best part about this journey is having a crazy roommate who makes everything so fun and who grooves with my soul. I am lucky enough to cross paths with these people. They are all part of me, and they are my family here in Taiwan.


Now, I look back and know how amazing and wonderful life that I get to do what I love and at the same time I get to spread the virtue of gratitude. This November, I turned 24 and it's never sad because I am far from my family and home or anything like that, I think it is satisfying to feel that I have grown stronger and found my second home here in Taiwan. As I grow older, my soul becomes more grateful and present for the many transitions that happened in my life. I become more cognizant about the world. I am looking at it with fresh eyes, a new and better perspective of life.  It is not all about finding happiness, but it is more of pursuing the little things that makes me a stronger and more grateful person. If I can give any advice for anyone who dreams of working overseas, I want to say that leaving your comfort for a better experience and a new perception of life is never easy but it's all going to be worth it. Your life is waiting at the other side of your comfort zone. Slowly but surely. One step at a time. You'll get there, trust the process.

My Loving Students


My Awesome Colleagues



My Angels

(Amazing people who helped me in countless ways)















        Soaking myself in this beautiful country…


















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