Sunday, December 27, 2009

Welcome to Taiwan

Ni Hao Taiwan.

What wonderful people your country holds, friendly to the tee.
Everything full of busy here, and still I'm all at ease.
I'm thankful for the rain you provide. It's cleansing. I feel free.

Characters of Chinese, I wish I understood.
The jungle of colour and strokes, you'd think would be self-defined by intent.
But no, it's all so strange to me. My English seems so crude.

The bus ride, plane and walk took nothing short of forever,
But to cut any part short would leave me ill-experienced.
Each leg a journey I endure, to fast forward, I'd say never.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring, people asking me if I'm lost?
I'm lost, yes, I'm okay with that. I'm finding my true self within the cracks.
New friends, new adventures, new experiences and for what, so little cost.


Exhausted and worn I lay here on this new bed under a new sky listening to some Bob Dylan as I collect my thoughts. It's good for me to listen to something familiar while I lay in this foreign place, trying to bring it all together. The harmonica sounds the same wherever I go. Today, I traveled a long while over seas, only braver men than me venture, in order to get to the land formerly known as Fermosa (named by the Portuguese meaning "beautiful island"). Hello Taiwan I said as I exited the plane.

The airport seemed to sparkle as I collapsed my bags onto the ground. The air seems different here. It's hard to place. I find it a little like sand, gritty and natural. I could bottle it up and put a lid on top, if I wasn't afraid of being thought of as weird by these wonderful Taiwan citizens.

Evidence of the people's generosity exists everywhere. As fellow participants of the teaching program and I exited the bus in our new hometown, we were immediately asked if we knew where we were going. We answered no, and someone was quick to point us in the right direction. And mind you, this is done not with our asking, but with people insisting that they help us. I've never seen such kindness! Once we were pointed in the right direction, we became stranded at our supposed meeting point at the Fengyuan Train Station. Unable to reach our contact we stood dumbfounded and wondering what to do next. A young gentleman, maybe in his early 20s, came over after minutes of us standing around looking like forgotten rabbits and helped us to a cab. That cab was off-duty, so the man called his mother who called the cab company to come pick us up. (Have I mentioned this was at 1:00 in the morning here???) The cab picked us up and the man who helped us talked to him insisting we get there and get a fair cab fare. We headed onward towards our living quarters about 7-minutes away. When we arrived we saw the man and a girl, perhaps his sister, riding a scooter behind our cab to ensure we made it safely to the right location. I thought, who does this with random strangers? I was thankful for this man. He helped us find our safe haven. The people here are truly amazing.

I'm excited to see this place in daylight. I'm sure the streets will shine and the sandy air will lift me awake from my slumber. For now, I'm sleeping. I'm tired. Night. Wan Shang Hoa, Taiwan.

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