#15: Days that Try a Man’s Soul

Since I last wrote in my blog I had a lot of deep thought about what brought me to Taiwan. Yes, I’m here for the experience in and of itself and to work as an English teacher, but why am I really here? Simple, I’m here to travel and gain firsthand experience of a culture much different from my own. Such a simple missive can and was initially forgotten.

When I first arrived I spent a lot of time touring the city and then travelling throughout Japan. Then I got burnt out from constantly pushing myself to explore for 12-16 hours a day and lost sight of things. I settled into a seemingly cozy and secure job and got used to everyday life.

Days became weeks and weeks became months, and soon I found myself questioning why I came here and wondering whether I had made a terrible mistake. Thoughts of returning to Canada to continue my education or to work (under the jurisdiction of Canadian labour laws) flooded my mind and I spent several nights unable to sleep.

Without getting into too much detail (out of respect for some of the people it involves): I was in a bad situation, through little fault of my own, and needed to get out.

Every nerve in my body pushed me toward the exit sign.

In the daze of everything I reached out to some close friends and family and was given guidance. The biggest question of all became “Is it sustainable?”. A few questionable encounters followed by one final “boulder that broke the camel’s back” later, I had my answer.

Now days are much less stressful. Though I currently lack a certain measure of security, the feeling of liberation from a horrible situation is immense. I find renewed purpose in my presence here and have my eye keenly focused on why I’m really here.

Tomorrow I’m off to Hong Kong for five days for a visa run and to get some much needed R&R. The trip is mostly free thanks to AsiaMiles and credit, so I’ll be able to enjoy myself despite the city’s high costs.

Bon Voyage!

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Travel Blog #8: Hiroshima in Photos

“I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
View from Hiroshima station, modern day.
A tricycle hit by the nuclear blast.
A plaque urges “No more Hiroshimas”.
A map shows the aftereffects of nuclear testing in the USA.
Cenotaph for the atomic bomb victims.
Monument to the Korean victims of the bomb.
Atomic Bomb Memorial Mound – herein lay the ashes of tens of thousands of the bomb’s victims.
Bell of Peace – ringing to call an end to nuclear war.
Atomic Bomb Dome – formerly the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. Hundreds of people within were instantly killed by the nuclear blast.
Now listed as a World Heritage Site, the dome was once called for removal due to the sad reminder it brings.
The world’s first atomic bomb was detonated 600m above this spot.
The view straight up from the former hypocenter of the nuclear blast.
Shukkeien garden – originally constructed in 1620, rebuilt in 1951 after the war.
A view of the garden’s rainbow bridge.
The beautiful garden attracts many tourists.
Much of the garden can be seen from this spot.
A tea garden – restored in 1963.
Several small islands can be found in the main pond.
Thin stone bridges help with crossing from one area to the next.
Today, skyscrapers dot the backdrop of the Shukkeien garden.