Taiwan: The Call of Liberation

The thought of international travel seemed a wicked, impossible taunt just months ago. My passport lay abandoned and forlorn in my nightstand drawer, gathering dust as I struggled to crack the mold of weariness that enveloped me. I had spent over a month in LA working and visiting old friends, rearranging my life’s unrecognizably morphed puzzle pieces. Seemingly overnight, I went from belonging to someone- being owned by someone, as I had forsaken my very being- to realizing that I was a stranger to myself. My possessor was nothing but an angry, confused array of masks filled with delusion and a desire to drag me down to his subterranean depths.

After having finally broken free from the shackled promise of “love”, I felt my path was a blank page staring me down at me, demanding I put pen to paper. I had to begin drawing my new map, even if I didn’t know north from south. When you’re at zero, you have two choices: linger there in dull complacency, welcoming misery as an eternal companion, or use the last morsels of self-respect and forgotten tenacity to carve your way… anywhere, anyhow.

And then came the phone call that would change everything. It was one of my good friends from college. We had been roommates for two years while at UCLA and have kept in touch ever since. She said she needed my expertise. I wondered what the writing gig could be about.

“There is a summer camp going on in Taiwan this summer.” In many words, as is her custom, she told me that there was an English teaching opportunity for me in Taiwan. She wanted me to apply. I hesitated, explaining to her that I had been very busy with clients and couldn’t afford to fly out to Taiwan. I was saving to move to Portland, after all.

I didn’t even have an interest to go to Taiwan before that. I thought it would be just like China, and the month I spent there was enough chaos for me. But there I was, just three weeks after that call, shiny new passport in hand, ready to board an EVA Airlines flight from SFO to TPE. It seemed the world was conspiring to help me realize the happiness I had so desperately longing for. My life was about to change, my mind about to expand, my passion for Asia about to bloom. There would be no turning back. Taiwan would be my door to poetic justice.

At the Taipei airport in Taiwan, ready to reclaim liberation.

At the Taipei airport in Taiwan, ready to reclaim liberation.

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