today's prompt is to write about your fears. to be honest, I almost skipped this one. and somehow it's turned into a very long and wordy post. a lot of times I am afraid to share too much here. every time I hit "publish" my words are emailed directly to my mother - not to mention all the other family, friends, enemies, potential stalkers, random strangers, and Husband's students [past and current] who are out there reading.
but one fear I will share with you - something I touched on yesterday - is the fear that I am not making the most out of this opportunity. that I am wasting my time here in Taiwan. that I am not growing enough, learning enough, exploring enough. it's not something I feel every day. but sometimes, I do fear it.
the only way to fight that fear is to [as one of my friends would say] lean into it. you have to intentionally seek out the things that challenge you and make you uncomfortable. most times, things don't just happen to people. you have to make them happen. kindof the same idea as "God helps those who help themselves." you can't just wait for life, you have to do something.
so in that spirit, I hopped on the scooter this afternoon and went in search of an adventure. I decided I would try to find the other side of the 18 peaks mountain park which I had previously visited. I had a general idea of where another entrance might be, so I turned down a road that looked like it went in that direction. I found another way into an entrance I had discovered before, but still on the same side of the park. backtrack, try a new turn. this time the road led me through a maze of narrow, twisting alleys full of blind turns before spitting me out on a main road. I spotted a brown sign with characters and an arrow and took a chance on heading in that direction. the first turn I tried was a dead end. I had to backtrack again and try the next turn, which finally led me to a parking area and the park entrance.
there was a map, but I didn't look at it. I picked one of four trails and every time I came to a branch I took turns at random. I was rewarded with discovering the "plum blossom pavilion" which sits at the highest peak in the park and gives you a view all the way to downtown. I could also spot the giant Guan Gong statue at the Pu Tian temple.
instead of heading back the way I came, I went the other direction and kept picking new trails at random. and I discovered a stretch of tail flat enough to run on! [I so dearly miss my canal tail back in Princeton...] I followed the trail for a while to see how far it went, stopping to rest and write for a bit at a gorgeous green marble table. I got plenty of "white girl" stares from people passing by, and five ginormous itchy bug bites on my shins... but it was totally worth it.
by some stroke of luck or twist of fate, when I decided to keep following the trail it led me right back to where my scooter was parked.
as I was unlocking my scooter, I was approached by a very interesting lady. she was promiscuously dressed and heavily made-up, which is rare for the Taiwanese. and she looked like she may not have always been, or might only be dressing as, a she. [not that there is anything wrong with that if it's what you're into.] she pointed at me and said "pretty" so I said "thank you" and then she started babbling at me in Chinese so I told her "sorry I don't understand" and put on my helmet and made my escape. and even though it was an awkward and embarrassing encounter and I nearly got lost again on the way home... the adventure was still totally worth it.
I guess the point is... none of it would have happened if I had stayed home today.