It's Tuesday night, and I'm sitting cross legged, meditating at a Zen center in a little corner of the bustling Taipei City. I'm supposed to be counting my out breath: one, two, three ... but my mind wanders off.
At times in life I feel as if I am the prey of buzzards. The boss, the bills, the politicians, the structures of society, each perched as an eagle on a cliff staring into the valley below. Myself, and those like me, huddled in shrubs rushing hither for an evening's scrap and hoping never to see a winged and quickly expanding shadow cross over the near ground.
My buddy Sylvester Chen offered me dip (tobacco). I told him again I was a teetotaler. He smiled and left, then returned. Sylvester's a fun and odd sort. He has a penchant for pyrotechnics, the sort of joy that makes Taiwan's many new years a time of searing delight for the man. I imagine him on the street running from explosion to explosion, a toothy grin and a look of hunger in his eyes.
It had been months since I'd seen the sun. My apartment in the city consisted of four walls and no windows, which turned my time inside into a strain on my electric bill.
When growing up in a Western society, we knew who was wealthy by the size of their car, quality of their clothes, and etiquette individuals carried when they appeared in public. Wealth in the Western society is well-known and very obvious.
2013/7/26, 20 Comments
This coming November marks my second year in Taiwan. Initially, it was supposed to be a short visit to an old friend of mine also from Germany who had settled here a year earlier to study Chinese. But as it turned out my friend insisted I tag along a bit longer to get a deeper feel of the Chinese culture here in Taiwan. So I wound up staying much longer than intended. It's been one year, eight months and counting. So far there have been no regrets. Well, except the occasional homesick “tickle” urging me to go back.
Taiwan is one of my favorite places in the world. My seven years of student life in Taipei has deeply influenced my way of life, especially when it comes to relationships. The Taiwanese are kind and treat foreigners with love.