I have a bad relationship with directions. Just like Michael from The Office, if my GPS said to go straight and a lake was in front of me…I might start swimming. I try to follow the directions as closely as I can, but that is actually what leaves me lost.
I boarded the bus to meet my boss after work at the office for the first time in person. The office was an hour away from work; that seemed a bit far, but I didn’t think much of it. I mean, this is what the link said, so it should be right. Right? I was buzzing with nerves and/or excitement to go to my first day of work. This semester I am interning at LexNovia, a legal consulting firm that provides entrepreneurs the protection they need. I would be a part of the venture studio branch, researching the startup ecosystem in Taiwan and the various resources that are available to entrepreneurs.
Honey dripped over the sky, casting me in a gentle warmth. Leaving me lazy, I shut my eyes, and I was there in what felt like a few seconds. I had an hour to spare, so I sat in a quaint café nearby as I traced questions in my notebook. As the minutes ticked away, I packed my things and headed over.
A blissful hour long bus ride…that I will never do again.
I stood and stared in front of a parking garage as my phone buzzed, claiming I had reached my destination. Where was I? Looking closer at the email, I quickly realized that Google had accidentally sent me to the wrong address. I was an hour in the wrong direction. The panic set in. I ran to the bus station, and I blurted a message into voice dictation stating the situation. A minute later, I got a reply: “We will wait for you here.” As I collapsed onto a grandma on the bus, my mind became stuffed with anxiety. I thought I had ruined my first impression and would get fired from my (unpaid) internship. I’ll never work in this town again! The grandma looked over in concern.
I arrived and tried to compose myself as I stammered an apology, feeling flustered but relieved. They showed me around the office, which included the ever-tempting snack table, and we laughed at my slight detour.
It all ended up being okay.
Over the next few weeks, I wanted to get to know my co-workers. Luckily, during my internship, we had a team bonding trip. It was a tad awkward initially until the tension was broken by asking if they ate (the Taiwanese way of saying hello). We all traveled to Pinglin district, picked some tea, went paddle boarding, and ended the day with a nice dinner. It was nice getting to know everyone beyond work. Honestly, I am extremely grateful for the chance to now know that my co-worker owns not one but three turtles, that my boss wants to become a farmer after he retires, and that we all have aspirations beyond our current life.
Team bonding trip: talking and tea picking!
It is often easier to go through life focused on ourselves, buying into a mentality that if it’s meant to be, it is meant to be. In a way, effort has been labeled as cringy, so we no longer try, and this dissatisfaction stays internalized. Having that passive lifestyle comes with an ease that leaves you floating. I won’t lie; it is nice, it is simple. All forms of living are valid, and it is important to do what you need for your peace. Personally, I hunger for connection, to learn the truth of someone’s life that I may never fully understand, but I can, at the minimum, sit and listen to.
For me, the importance of friendship stems from the feeling of being unheard. I believe that every story deserves an audience, even if it is an audience of one. Friendship is not always easy, but I consider those I am close to like my second family. No matter the ups and downs, you still love your family— even if they are annoying sometimes. And I think even a friendly wave allows us to remember that we are not alone; with each other, we can make the world feel much smaller.
Life gets messy, and just like the flour on my face and spur-of-the-moment marriage to Ellery, you never know what will happen. But I am happy I get to experience the other fools I call friends around me.