looking back

One month later, another post.

Hi ho. Hi ho.

I am crouched, elbows at knees, fingers at keyboard, huddled beneath a blanket on my bed. My heater is keeping company next to me.

It’s cold.

Today it’s 9 degrees Celsius. It feels like -9 in here. It’s also raining, and there’s no indoor heating. If I remember anything about Asia when I leave, it will be the insufferable heat and humidity during the summer, and the penetrating cold and clamminess of winter.

It’s off to work we go.

I’ve been looking back at my blog from Taiwan, tai tao. It’s been a little more than two years, now, since I landed for the first time in Taipei. Since I spent that first miserable weekend in an igloo apartment with an ice-cold shower and without any heating of any kind. Since I realized that no one spoke English and a rickety-rackety bus was the only way to get around. Since I realized that the food stared at you (some of it) with real eye balls, and that the buildings were (some of them) decrepit and falling down, and that the people were (most of them) all the same—and that they thought I was weird. Stop and stare. Look at that white girl—she’s got blonde hair. And I remember I was mortified. I had no idea how I was going to last seven days, let alone seven months, in that kind of an environment.

Hi ho. Hi ho.

And I remember I had little hope that things were going to get any better. How could they? Taiwan had obviously been ass-backwards since before the beginning of time, and hadn’t changed much since, so how could I expect that anything would improve during my short stay there?

I couldn’t.

I couldn’t, but that meant that now I was in a dilemma. Now I’d really done it. I’d kissed all my family and friends goodbye, not planning to see them for months. I couldn’t head home now after only a couple of days. I also knew a few people who lived there who said, “Eh, it’s not always bad. It gets better.” I didn’t believe them, of course, but . . . God knew what he was doing when he designed people, I’m telling you. I may not have had hope, but what I did have was pride. Lots of it. If Taiwan was going to be stubborn as hell, well, so was I. I was going to stick it out in Sanjhih if it killed me, and I was going to like it, even, if I could.

And so I did. And I did. Shock of all shocks, I grew to like it!

I don’t suspect many people reading this post will look at my blog from Taiwan, but if any of you ever did, you might be amazed by my transformation. The transformation was so great that a year and a half after my arrival I was still in Taiwan and was heading to Hong Kong where I expected new and even greater (if different) sets of challenges.


And here you find me six months later . . .

And the number of posts I’ve written in the last six months should tell you:

I was right.

I hope to write more soon. I’m on break for Chinese New Year and, unfortunately, too broke to travel right now; hence, I finally have the opportunity to write.

Hi ho. Hi ho.


in my classroom with my kids. more photos coming soon…

3 thoughts

  1. I love reading your blog, Amarigo; even if I don’t always leave a comment. I feel like it is a way of staying in touch. You have always been a beautiful writer, but I feel like you also write things that are true, not just honest. Honesty is to say things that are factually correct. Speaking/writing truth says something that matters– that is a deeper realization beyond just being honest about how you feel and what you are experiencing. Writing truth puts the meaning behind your experiences so that we all can relate and connect. You have this essence in your writing… and it is beautiful.
    I love you and your shining intelligence and tenacity for something more in life.

  2. I’m so proud of you. Your blog was a beautiful look into your world view from behind your eyes. Thank you for sharing. i love you.

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