When I hopped on a plane destined for Taipei several weeks ago, I expected being able to go up the second tallest building in the world and seeing lots of temples.
Of course, I wasn't disappointed and was very pleased with all that, along with a very nice host family. But the thing that I will always be the most grateful for wasn't how clean the fish in the fish foot spa left my feet, nor how the shop keepers got our lantern out of the power lines, but how all these experiences made me realize how lucky I really am.
I have always known how lucky I am to live in such privileged circumstances, but I have never really appreciated it. Not as much as I do now, after visiting the crowded Asian city.
There were lots of places that we went that I was sure wouldn’t meet regulations here in Australia, especially restaurants. The family I stayed with ate out 95% of the time, so we experienced quite a few! Heaps were amazing, with kind servers and a nice atmosphere. But then there were a few that were on the street with people breathing over the food, dogs hanging around the kitchen, paint peeling off the walls and mould growing on the ceiling.
Other notable bad experiences included the fish foot spa that had electrical cords hanging cm from the water and the unhygienic public pool which could possibly have been one of the most horrifying experiences of my life.
On the last day I was in Taiwan we went to see a popular temple. But it was in a poor area. I had seen poor in Taipei before this, but this was by far the worst. I hadn't expected it and it hit me really bad. There were homeless people sitting cross legged in the heat on the footpath with a small towel in front of them. There was everything from phones, to bags to rocks spread out on the towels and a small tin for coins nearby.
It broke my heart. I even started dreaming up ideas for homeless shelters in my head.
And compared to many places in the world, Taipei isn’t even a very poor city.
To think that as I am here snuggled up in my nice warm bed on my laptop after a fulfilling meal surrounded by friends and family, there are so many people out there in search of a bed for the night or wondering when their next meal will be.
The trip made me realise a lot of things, some of which include how lucky I am to...
• have a fresh, homemade meal every night
• be able to see the stars at night
• be surrounded by nature
• have friends over for sleepovers
• own more than just a small apartment
• have a meal with my family every night
• have a dad who doesn't work late
• be surrounded by an amazing community
We may not have much money to spend on doing up Wattle Cottage, or
always ever have a perfectly clean
house, or always hardly ever have a peaceful household, but we are so
lucky. So, so lucky.
I love where I live, the people I live and spend time with and the things we do together. And I am so grateful. So, so grateful.
My thoughts are with everyone tonight, whether you’re having a hard time at work or school or looking for a place to sleep or just not feeling your best. xx