Tag Archive : society

DSCF23631) Their facebook-loving, no-child-left-behind, everyone-is-included, attitude towards their peers. Even towards strangers. I’ve never been around a community in which nearly every person in that community is eager to welcome you into his/her social circle; few people are looking for  power or looking to stand out among the crowd- especially at the expense of others feeling uncomfortable or alone.

2) How they cook their street food: immediately, outside, on the spot, right in front of you so you can watch how they make  it from scratch. All fruits and vegetables are fresh and bought day-of to sell. All  meat is bought that same morning- and animals are even killed that same morning, right in front of everyone.

3) Their night-life… I mean, bars/  clubs don’t close till 5, 6 a.m. You could say I fully exercised my new rights.

DSCF23684) How easy-going and laid back their culture is. No one appears to give a fuck really. Noted, this  is in Tainan, which is populated by 99.9% locals. But everyone seems to be accepting of a lifestyle that consists of chilling, managing  the store, doing some Tai Chi.

I believe this largely contributes to the fact that I see 80, 90 year old people on their mopeds, walking the streets, still going strong. I saw so many elderly people that I felt sad comparing this reality to the reality in the U.S.

5) How cheap their food is. On average I paid $1-3$ for every meal bought on  the street. And I’m talking good-sized, I’m too full to eat anymore, meals. Living in Taiwan felt like my mom was  cooking on every street corner, and I could just go up, pay $1 cause she loves me, and she’ll provide me with a home-cooked, yummy dish- except in this case, I had no idea what I was eating half the time.

Still tasted amazing.

6) Dumplings. I think I would go back just for the Dumplings…sad but true.

 

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On the bus to Los Angeles, sunset

Few things I know for sure. Few things I think I know for sure. I know that, to me, there is nothing more important than showing love to other people. This takes priority. And the result is that I’m not depriving myself of anything. By putting others first, I’m actually receiving the ultimate joy of providing love and support to someone who deserves it. Every single person on the planet deserves it. We didn’t choose this life.

This is what is what deserves attention…what is easy to discern as a path worth pursuing… and what is most meaningful to me. Treating people lovingly is not only the right thing to do tomorrow, or in 6 months, but is also the right decision in this moment, this very second.  The right decision is timeless.

 

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On the train, through the Rocky Mountains; Colorado

There are so many people we deem “crazy”–but what is  “normal”? Just a word that segregates us…and put us at opposite ends of an imaginary, inaccurate spectrum. Terms like “normal” and “weird” create distance between us and the unknown, between the familiar and the unfamiliar. This distance is scary until I realize the person I’m talking to has felt all the same emotions I have–until I realize that we all endure hell every day and struggle to find means to cope. What am I afraid of? The ways we are similar outnumber the ways we are different.

Talking to strangers has allowed me to appreciate human nature in all its forms. There is no one single form that is most beautiful. The fact that every person I meet has an entirely different tone, different laugh, different talent, different perspective–this is where beauty is found. Human nature unifies us–and the ways we differ don’t necessarily have to divide us.

Change is a beautiful thing. Interacting with others is a large facilitator of change. I hear their stories, so different from my own, and realize how their life’s course has proceeded for so long without my knowledge of their existence. I didn’t know them yesterday and now I do. And I’m a better person because of it, because of my awareness of someone’s life.

Why would I ever be afraid of people? All they consist of is a voice and a life of suffering, faced with the same challenges I am. All they are is blood, organs, flesh, language, with some combination of experiences with limited conditions. I have to assume that everyone is more or less like me.

When I reached Sacramento, I didn’t know what to do. I had a vague plan but I didn’t intend on sticking to it. I was hot. Stuffy. Three days without a shower. Glasses. Sweater. Soccer sweats. Running shoes. Unfocused. Apathetic. Longing. Confused. Self-conscious. Self-loathing. What does one do with this outlook? When bombarded by these stray, uninvited, destructive, inaccurate assessments of life?

I can’t remember her name…but does it even matter? She is identified though her actions, her words. She was so interested in my life, in my trip.. asking me where I’ve been, where I’m going, who I’ve met.  This soul sitting next to me fully entered  my thoughts, absorbing each word as I spoke it.  When someone is really listening to you,  you can see it in their eyes. She told me where to go once I get off the train–take the metro to Market East station, which is where old town  and historical monuments are.  Once we arrived, she led me to the metro area and wished me good luck–the most genuine good luck I’ve ever heard.

IN Philly I spent the day mostly walking. No host. But feeling free. Entirely aimless. I truly loved the lay-out of the city–simple to navigate  and the streets looked similar to Charlottesville. I took a train back to D.C to stay with Braden, my old host for a few days. I need to write about the conversation we had one night: him talking about his passions…what classifies a passion.. and also of how he judges someone–not based on their job/contacts/likes/dislikes but based on how they treat other people. He referenced the purposelessness and misunderstandings involved in war. People are so much more than their religious beliefs or the labels society creates for them. He said the only part he’s concerned with is the treatment of others, pointing  out that couchsurfers invite me to stay with them without knowing what I believe in or without having similar interests. I’m still treated with kindness– and this treatment takes priority.