most of the crew has left on vacation. taipei. kenting. hong kong. bangkok. with little time & less money i/ve decided to stay in taiwan. my original plan was to take my two weeks off consecutively. to bike down the east coast. i didn/t care if i did it alone. it needed to be done.
my plans have since changed. with val in thailand and simon physically impaired, it/s more me alone on this island. i have the urge to explore, but hardly the motivation. i feel like i move so slowly here. maybe it/s the heat or humidity, or maybe it/s that everything around me moves so fast (we are in an incredibly large city, it must be noted) - the cars, the scooters, the bicycles, the horns & bells, the sudden downpours, the sunset - all of it comes much too quickly. i find myself endlessly tired.
it comes down to a question of the truth of a man (or woman) on an island. can you tell the truth when you are talking only to yourself?
there are moments in taiwan i feel incredibly awkward & out of place, as if i unexpectedly barged in on this way of life. their reaction is to stare blankly back, startled. i see clothes hanging from wire on crumbling balconies & old men in their rain ponchos & peasant hats bicycle by with worn stone faces & i realize i/m invading their space. i ignorantly sauntered in with no permission & expect to be understood & fed & sheltered & more than tolerated. i expect to be accepted, nay, revered. beause of the colour of my skin? my language? the land in which i was born (no choice of my own, i might add)?
what a bizarre, twisted time we live in.
the worst part is, i am revered. people stare, in awe. they gawk. they gossip. they chatter. they offer quiet prayers of thanks for our presence. they offer gifts: cigarettes, lotus juice, beetlenut. & it would be too rude to not accept. so we quietly accept, we contemplate the half-chewed beetlenut against our gums, let them pour a second cup of juice & suck down yet another cigarette because the smog here is bad enough anyway. but that/s how things work in the world i guess. it never truly is give & take. i come from the land of unjust wars & displaced blame. life will forever remain take & take i suppose.
i may follow along, i may save face with an empty smile. but this guilt that hangs in the air, this guilt that coats me like the incessant layer of sweat that separates me from my clothes, this guilt will stay with me always. i need to find a way to give back.
a few words about miss chelsea elizabeth...
oregon-born, seattle-raised, bellingham-bred and franco-refined, she had moved back to the states from her affairs across the atlantic & now resides in columbia city with french husband & love of her life rémy. they spend most of their time taming the garden, taking care of their three chickens & two cats, and preparing the urban homestead for a new little chick of their own.
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