(“If you don’t know where you are going any road can take you there”
…with Michael B from Taipei)

Every time I plan an Elska issue and start contacting boys to take part, I often get a reponse like “I’m not Icelandic – is it okay?” or “I’m not born in Taiwan, so I guess you won’t want me”. Haven’t people heard of multiculturalism?  Of course it’s ok. The issues aren’t meant to be ethnically exclusive but just a portrait of a city’s residents. It doesn’t matter where you were born or what’s in your blood, but just that you live in the city.

Michael B is obviously not ethnically Taiwanese (which is a complicated thing to define in itself). He’s originally from Canada, and ethnically I have no idea, but he’s not First Nations… or at least he doesn’t look it. But he lives in Taiwan, one of the cohort of English teachers, and that makes him ‘eligible’ for the Taipei issue. 

I also taught English for a year, not in anywhere as exotic as Taiwan, but rather in Poland. Still, it was a cultural adventure, with a new language to learn and various hurdles to cope with. I went because I needed a change. I didn’t know where I was going in life, and I don’t know why I chose Poland, but it didn’t matter. Michael also had no particular reason to choose Taipei, but I suppose he needed a change, or an adventure, or something. 

Is it brave? Sure, but (no offense – Michael) it’s not that big of a deal. Things have a way of working themselves out anywhere you go, and the challenge of it helps you grow. And if it’s a disaster then at least you’ll leave with interesting stories to tell. Who wants to be boring and stagnant?

Michael’s story in the issue related to Alice in Wonderland. After I read his text, I got myself a copy of the Lewis Carroll book and read it myself. Could you say that Alice was ‘brave’ to jump down the rabbit hole? I wouldn’t say that, but she did it anyway. As gallingly useless as she is, I admire for that. The problem is that I keep jumping down them, still looking for my home.

See more of Michael B and read his story in Elska Magazine issue (05) Taipei


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