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Moving to Gaoxiong

I seldom make important decisions quickly, but rather the process can be likened to a giant chunk of ice slowly sliding over a roof: even though the movements everyday are pretty small, it will eventually lead to a violent crash anyway. One good reason for having a website like this is that I can take my time to explain the sometimes inexorable movements of the ice to shed light on the sudden loud noise which might otherwise be the only thing other people notice. An action might appear to be sudden and without thorough consideration, but in fact the opposite is true. My decision to change university and move to the south of Taiwan is such an event.

Before I explain the reasons for moving, I will try to present the situation as it is now. My university, 中華大學,  is a fairly young institution which from the beginning was focused towards technical subjects, but has now diversified somewhat. The university is situated roughly 25 minutes by bus from downtown 新竹, a moderately large city in northwest Taiwan. The university’s language centre is small with only two classes. I do not know how many are enrolled, but there are seldom more than ten students altogether showing up for class at any given time. The size of the language centre is both a curse and a major benefit. Studying with only two or three other students (the intermediate class in the smallest one) is awesome and the teacher is good. Studying Chinese three hours every evening is very good for my language development and I have learnt an extraordinary amount in these three months. Other advantages include nice classmates, an apartment close to the campus, free gym, free swimming pool, beautiful campus and lack of downtown traffic and polluted air.

So, if the situation is so good, why did I even begin to consider moving in the first place? There are many reasons, presented here roughly in order of relevance: inadequate Chinese courses, frustrating social environment, diving possibilities, girlfriend and change of environment. Please allow a few sentences to describe these separately. To begin with, the Chinese courses here are inadequate to my needs. Studying three hours a day in class is not enough, even if the class itself is perfect. Of course, I spend many hours every day studying on my own, but that cannot be considered to be an efficient use of the resources of this country. Also, there are limits to what I can learn on my own, and something I might as well study in Sweden (such as reading and writing). Practicing speaking and listening has proved to be difficult now, mostly because of the fact that the class is held in the evening and few peoples spare time coincide with mine.

Having classes in the evening and free time during the day wreaks havoc on social life. When I am available, most other people are either busy studying or working; when I am busy in the evening, they have free time. Of course, it is theoretically possible to overcome these problems, but it is very annoying. For example, I cannot join any kind of team sport, because of course the practice in the evening. This is a problem with increasing weight and if I do not do anything about it, I think it has the potential to make me very unhappy.

Moreover, my current situation does not allow me to practice any individual sport I care much for, such as diving. I miss practicing something which requires great skill and a good coach. I miss having ambitious goals for an activity like that and aligning my personal physical exercise to that activity.

In addition to this, I can move closer to Vanessa. Some of you might find it a bit odd that I ascribe such a low priority to her, which somehow might indicate that she is not that important. This is totally wrong. The only reason the priority is so low is because a move would not allow me to meet her more (perhaps less, even if we live in the same city!). This is because she studies in still another city and moves around a lot. When she is home, she is busy teaching dance and will not have much time to meet me. However, moving closer to her would still mean that it is more convenient to meet, even if it would not mean a drastic increase in the time we spend together.

Finally, a change of environment is desirable. I have lived here in the north for a few months, and even though I have not spent a lot of time travelling around, I still feel that a different climate and a different city would be a valuable experience. Also, a change of environment might also be desirable for personal and social reasons, although the fact that I place this argument last should be interpreted as an indication of its relative importance to the other factors influencing my decision. I have a few good friends here, but not many.

Having considered all the arguments above, a random move is of course not on the menu, but instead I aim for  文藻外語學院 in particular, a language college in Taiwan’s second largest city, 高雄, situated in the south of the country. I am convinced that the studying environment there will be equal or better to that of the university here, but having classes in the morning is an important argument for transferring. Also, I will be able to practice diving every day if I want to (which of course is out of the question, but changing gym practice and swimming for high quality diving is something I look forward to a lot).

Admittedly, some things will be worse. For instance, I highly doubt that the schools staff can be more helpful than the people here. Also, changing from a quite suburb on a mountain to a sprawling city of more than three million people is probably not good. I will also have to restructure my everyday life from scratch again, including food, studying, sleeping, exercise and so forth.

However, I think there is only one way. The inconveniences mentioned are minor compared to the most important reasons for moving. The exact details are unclear at the moment, but finding an apartment at the end of this month and moving in early February seems to be the likeliest way forward. I am satisfied with my life here in Taiwan so far, but I am convinced that this move will make it even better.

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  1. Martin’s avatar

    …Men du vågar inte uppdatera WordPress…?

    Reply

  2. Olle Linge’s avatar

    Martin: Så snart jag har fått ur mig några artiklar jag har på lager så kan jag tänka mig att uppdatera. Typ över jul, kanske? :) Jag ska recensera Chabon först, dock.

    Reply

  3. Svante’s avatar

    Lycka till med flytten!

    Reply

  4. Marcus’s avatar

    Tänkte bara passa på att önska dig lycka till med flytten och önska dig en god jul :) Vi saknar dig i Linköping! :(

    Reply