Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Time to go home

I think it's time to leave home again, and time to go home.
It's been over eight months since I left Holland, and I'm starting to feel that I've overstayed my welcome at home here in Taiwan. I never knew and never imagined that it could come to this, but it has.

Admittedly, I've not been doing anything 'productive' in recent weeks. I've not been studying, nor have I been working. In short, "not productive", productive being contributing to the economy, in the strict sense. Instead, I've been volunteering, travelling, reading a lot, and doing a lot of writing, and getting to know myself a little better. But those are by no means 'productive'.

In yet another heated exchange with dad, he showed much disdain in what I'm doing (which in his opinion is noting). It all started because I said that I'm planning to go down to Puli, and he accused my "heart not being at home at all" (I will skip the insulting remarks he made about my friends). It hurt. Why else have I been at home all this time, if not to be at home and be with him? I could be out there, doing things I liked (volunteering or even working (ok, admittedly illegally), getting my driver's license, visiting friends and relatives), but no: I chose to be at home so that he could be better taken care of while he was/is ill.

But how naive of me to think that anyone needed my taking-care-of. Dad made this very clear: he can take care of himself. So the smoking, the eating anything and everything, the craving for and taking in of sweets and additives that are obviously harmful to someone with liver disease and diabetes is taking care of himself? How naive I was to think that I can change all that when I am around. If I am not there, I will not see, and I will not worry, and I will not even be tempted to make a small difference.

All those meals I prepared, and the troubles behind the scenes, and those visits to the hospital meant nothing. People who know me will all too well know that I am not someone who seeks recognition or praise for what I do. But at least some acknoledgement that my presence is appreciated, or even understood, is all it takes. Unfortunately, dad made it clear that my presence is not needed, and that I would be better off away.

I am not angry at him, and I will (try) not to dwell on this for longer than it takes. But it hurts, and I see the hurt, to feel rejected by your own dad. I made it clear again to him that I have not forgotten my priorities and plans to study and to work in the future, but that I simply would like to use this year exploring the possibilities and myself. I made it clear to him again that compared to others my age, I have already gone far (of course there's always the possibility of going further: sky is the limit) in terms of study and experience. But dad is not the least bit interested or understanding. "Young people like you should be studying!"

But study what? And do what in the future? I still am at a loss what my future holds, even though I know myself I should start to apply and decided already. All that is expected of me is that I study and work. And I intend to, but is it too much for this 21-turning-22 year old to spend a few months doing what he likes? Why all this stigma that young people should be either working or studying?

Who would have known that circumtances and the situation at home would come to this? I'll try booking a flight first thing tomorrow morning.

David, it's time you left.