Today is the last day of my Chinese course. Perhaps it has been such a long time since I last felt that melancholic. Although I have been prepared myself for the end of the course even when I had not set my foot in Taiwan, I was still very sad on knowing that our class finished and my classmates and I would set apart from each other. That feeling when the ones spent times with you everyday except for weekend during the last three months said goodbye to you and you even don’t know for sure when you can see them again is really unbearable. I feel myself lucky to be a member of my class, knowing lots of friends who share with me same interest in languages, especially Chinese. Such experience is specially wonderful to me given that in Vietnam hardly have I had any friends who learn Chinese, let alone love learning Chinese. It was also my first time to get along with people coming from such diversified backgrounds. Admittedly, there were lots of moments where I felt it quite complicated and felt myself weird and “ignorant” almost all the time. There were some moments I felt quite confused and even the idea of “quitting” once came across my mind (actually I don’t know how to quit, perhaps it was merely the desire of keep time frozen and everybody will forget all such weird actions of mine :P).
Recently, when thinking about my time in Taiwan, the word “serendipity” often comes across my mind. “Serendipity”, in its simplest definition, refers to “finding something good without looking it.” When I first decided to apply for Huayu Enrichment Scholarship, I did not expect to learn about lots of things other than Chinese language. I would have not been that interested in politics or international relations or history should I not have classmates who possessed great interests and in-depth understanding in these fields. Perhaps I would have not known about how almost all nations in Asia are so closely interrelated to each other in terms of politics, economics, history, culture and language. Perhaps I would have not known anything that are above-mentioned if I had not been studying in Taiwan (a nice country with its special history, politic regime that still remain unknown to many people) and if I had not been 24 (I often think that if I came there two years ago, perhaps I would not have learned that much).
Considering this experience of mine “serendipity”, I also mean I did not expect that I could learn a lot about myself like that. Before coming here, I also thought about giving myself a three-month gap, separating myself from my job and my comfort zone (Personally I think it is not quite comfortable), asking myself question about who I am (other than a tax consultant, a white-collar worker, a typical Vietnamese 24-year-old girl, a commuter that struggles with heavy traffic one hour on a daily basis to reach her office, etc.), questioning on lots of my plans (pursuing a Master, continuing my journey with CFA, etc.) Admittedly, my answers to these questions are still kinda vague, however, I feel happy for having dedicated my time here with my love for this language, totally cutting myself off from what identified me before and at the same time learning about other identities of mine that I have ignored for such a long time. I was also given with chances of understanding about my own country, my own language, my own people, and my own mother tongue, feeling proud and uneasy at the same time.
This three-month period of studying here was a chain of serendipity itself, in the sense that it ceaselessly made me surprised for accidentally bumping into something which helps me make sense the others. My teacher introduced to us a nice comic book on the old education system of Taiwan when I tried to make sense the movement of removing Chiang Kai-shek’s statue at my university, I came across a magazine dated 9 years ago that focused on Hong Kong in its 10-year anniversary while looked forward to the movie named “Ten years”. My three-month period of studying here is likely to be filled with lots of random hints and while it provided me with lots of connections, it challenged me to connect the hints myself, filling the gaps by activating my curiosity. There were times that I admitted to a close friend of mine on how I felt depressed on realizing how ignorant I had been all the time. Fortunately, the happiness of getting enlightened overrode the sadness caused by self-awareness of personal stupidity in almost every case.
I have to finish this entry to come back to luggage packing-up. I will enjoy this beautiful island another two weeks before flying back to Hanoi. Today, when we joined our final class, saying goodbye to my teacher and each other, we both say that “後會有期” or “See you next time”. Who knows how serendipity may help us come across each other again in the future?