After 4 months of living in Taipei I have finally started to make some progress. My ability to speak Chinese, while still not perfect, is noticeably improving. I can now accomplish daily tasks without speaking any English, and some of my American friends have even started to ask me for help when they need a little translation.
Academically, the people I have met over the past few months have begun to feel more comfortable around me I think. A couple of them have introduced me to gamer friends of theirs and one even "came out" to me as a gamer. While gamer shame is still an obstacle for me in meeting new people, my recent progress has made me much more hopeful.
I have also had the pleasure of being invited out to play Left4Dead at an Internet Cafe a couple of times now. I had a lot of fun and I met some interesting people, but the experience also reminded of where I have been lacking recently. I am a games researcher, and yet over the past 4 months I have hardly played any games at all. It is not that I have stop enjoying video games; it is, I believe, due to the nature of adjusting to a new culture and language, and now that I have become much more comfortable in Taipei I anticipate many more trips to go kill zombies.