Tuesday, November 23, 2010

day 68_a taste of taiwan

Really, the magic of being half way around the world is getting to experience a new and totally different culture - first hand. Obviously, not everyone fits a stereotype, and many things about the culture here are similar to my own, but what I really enjoy day in and day out is observing. So what about Asia inspired me today?

- Elderly people who I pass in the city. Always slow when I am in such a hurry, but usually patient, and often staring at me as if they know I don't exactly belong here. I find myself impressed by the mobility of men and women who must be older than my own grandparents age (I am terrible at guessing ages). Maybe they are imagining my story, just as I like to imagine theirs...

- Children. Adults may not know how to react to me (or if they should ignore me), but kids just come right out and speak to me, or giggle. It is always fun surprising a little girl by saying hello - in English or Chinese - they are always excited to talk to me... or startling a little boy by greeting him in Chinese "good morning"... My more animated conversations here are with children on the buses or subways. And I don't see that many children. As a matter of fact, I've started noticing how few children cross my path in a days time. Then again, how many children did I see previously during my car commute in Dallas to and from work... Zip. Zero. None. Maybe that's why I notice them so much now...

- Kindness. I appreciate the people here. I don't mean that in a specific way... I wouldn't say that I have any best friends here to speak of, but in general, the people as a whole are nice, considerate. It is encouraging knowing that if I were lost and turned to a stranger, they would likely try to help me (even if they didn't understand the words coming out of my mouth!). The people here have very strong values, and are genuinely kind. That is not something I could say for most of the big cities I have visited in my travels.

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