To give context for the excerpts below, I am towards my last day or so in Taipei, Taiwan. Previously mentioned in my post about my time in Thailand, I had the pleasure of meeting young, Black U.S. ex-patriates and entrepreneurs who are currently living and working abroad as English teachers. After vibing so effortlessly in mind, spirit, and Blackness (an experience I’ve been longing for but never thought I would be able to find during my travels) below is the result of me in my feelings something terrible hahaha! This post is divided into two separate entries.
December 6th, 2016
“My time in Taipei, Taiwan is almost up. While I know the show must go on in terms of my journey around the world, I am not happy about departing. My time in this city is near and dear to my heart because of the people I’ve met here. People like me – young Black gifted dreamers - people who understand me seemingly effortlessly. I can’t even begin to put into words how therapeutic and serene this spontaneous union has been on my soul and well-being. And to know that these feelings of deep friendship, understanding, and comfort is coming to its conclusion – I could shed a hundred tears to be honest..
I know I took a chance, a detour from my original plans and from that chance I’ve gained so much more than what I was expecting. My gratefulness is unending – but I don’t want these connections to end. I’ve been searching high and low for bonds like these – and now I must stamp a to be continued on it and let this pleasant experience carry me through…
I thought leaving Bhumi was hard – but this goodbye is different; harder. I feel human. Validated. Included. More connected. More emotional. Stronger. When I left Bhumi for the second time, I was more ready to go than not. Now, I really feel like I found family thousands of miles away from home. Not a family in which I observe from a distance while missing my own - an experience I’d grown used to while traveling. But a camaraderie I am actually visible in and a part of – and I truly feel that I’ve made some of the best friends and I hope these bonds persist through time and space. I can only hope I bump into more connections like this during the duration of my trip.
Taipei is beautiful by the way and the most unique place I have been yet. [ I will write more on this when I am a little less of an emotional mess].”
December 16th, 2016
“As I said in the previous entry, Taiwan is (was!) the most unique place I had visited at the time. I had no plans of being of being anywhere predominantly Chinese speaking, but turns out EVERY sign, every billboard, menu, street signs, etc. were in Chinese! It is by far the most modernized society I’ve visited. Wow! The island is small but it looked to me like the biggest urban/natural landscape I’ve seen. I said Bangkok looked New York-esc – downtown chic. Well Taipei is certainly one of those places. But very much in their own way. What I saw was a thriving, seemingly self-sufficient town that had more than preserved their cultural authenticity.
I wasn’t in a tourist dominated area, not that I only saw locals, but the vibe of the place felt as its own, as I feel most places foreigners visit should be. Taiwan didn’t feel like a country experiencing cultural shifts (that often visibly/emotionally conflict) in the attempt to model western urbanization and/or being exploited by Western industries. Taiwan felt like Taiwan, modern, yes, but feeling more of its own identity as if it has pushed itself forward economically – like global leaders all their own as a Taiwanese People.
The city is super safe as told to me by my wonderful hosts/friends and the community is thriving with efficient public transportation, local businesses, big open, green spaces where kids run and play freely with their friends, families, pimped-out pets. People jog. Fathers bike with their children. People carry their sweater wearing puppies in their hand bags. You would think there would be an aesthetic clash between urban and greenery, but the urbanism doesn’t exactly feel like it is impeding on natural brush. Nor does the greenery blot out the urbanism.
Taipei also reminded me of Detroit – some of those old industrial buildings now abandoned throughout the city. Seriously these neighborhoods felt like the hood…in good way though. Very interesting place and I would be interested in seeing what else the island has to offer, especially its natural sights. As I said before, this was a pit stop, but I got to experience a new place and meet people that made Taipei feel like home. This is what the Bonderman is about. “