You know that alone-in-a-crowd feeling?
Well, I've decided that I kind of like it, which is good because it's pretty easy to find here. Or so I thought.
I went to the Taoyuan Night Market last night after work. There are a million booths set up nightly all down a couple of streets. The booths are filled with clothes, watches, cheap jewelry, bootleg DVDs, food and games.
I went with the intent of exploring, taking pictures, checking out some of the Chinglish shirts and grabbing a late dinner.
I didn't really get to do much of that.
It turns out half of the people in the dorm had a similar plan. I can't say I blame them. There is a ton of great food to be found. It's kind of hard not to see the other teachers in the dorm. Although there are a ton of teachers from America, Canada and England in this city, we're still incredibly outnumbered and therefore stick out in a crowd. I saw at least six other people last night.
So much for my night exploring alone.
I have absolute nothing against any of them. On the contrary, I actually like them very much. They're good people and a lot of fun to hang out with. I just wasn't in the mood to hang out with anyone.
I am honestly better at being a tourist when I'm alone. I know that sounds unsafe or at the very least antisocial, but I like to just go and take pictures and ask questions.
I guess it's the journalist in me. If I'm with someone else, I feel like we're kind of trying to make sure the other gets to do what they wanted to do. Inevitably I don't because I wanted to be alone.
I know I should have just said so, but I know they mean well. The past few days have been a little nervewracking and I made the mistake of letting a few people know that. In other people's worlds, this means you have to be surrounded at all times. In mine, it means I need time to think and just let things happen.
It's funny because I went to bed last night thinking about two things: the idea that I needed to get lost in a crowd and the realization that that's nearly impossible here.
It's a perplexing situation.
I know very few people here and there are crowds galore. But given the cirumstances, I kind of stick out in a crowd. I even have kids whose classes I've subbed coming up to me because they recognize me after seeing me once.
The other is that I would give anything not to be noticed right now. I think it's funny how most people go through their lives wanting to be noticed.
They want to feel special for something. Of course, I'm sure that starts with your parents telling you when you're little that you're special. Everyone is special. We all want to be the best at something or even the worst at something if it will get us noticed.
And, now that I can't help but be noticed, I don't really care.