I feel settled in here, but I know I’m not staying. I rearranged the furniture, tried to make it more comfortable, and somehow if feels like I’m good here. I love the city, and the calm of the suburbs, but probably only because I get a mix of both. I am becoming used to being here a lot faster than I ever expected. But I’m already looking ahead.
I was hired at a company in Taiwan, but it’s a big company, and I don’t know exactly where I will be going yet. They had space all over the country, but for now, I think I want Taipei. Anyplace I have looked into there looks awesome, but I like the idea of the big city to start. We’ll see what they give me, but I’m not worried about where I’m going. I would like to know what to research, but I really just hope I can surf on the weekends.
I found the interview interesting, more like applying to a real job than most of my interviews in Mexico. There, if you show up with the right accent, that’s good enough. The interview is more of a job offer than it is a test of your skills. Here, it was a lot more involved, questions about how to handle things, problems with students, and a teaching demo. It felt like you could actually fail. I didn’t, but I’m awesome.
I think that’s part of the white privilege, that I applied to one job in the place where I wanted to work, and I never really questioned whether or not I would get it. I was nervous at times, but it was a given that I would be able to get what I want. In the States, that privilege can be subtle or overt, it can give you the world, or just a step ahead. Out in the world, it is never subtle, and all the benefits and penalties of racism are laid bare. Everything from the expected appearance of an American to the value of your passport over your ability.
A few years ago, I found that it doesn’t matter what I say or do because there are no real repercussions for anything that I would actually want to do. As my time in Mexico came to an end, I realized that it was just me. A combination of being a straight white male, an American, and my physical size make my life easy in a way that no one else experiences. I realized that even when I am targeted, it is because I am seen as a high value target, not because my race is on the bottom of the ladder.
Knowing this makes my life easier, because I know the threats most people face do not exist for me. I know that if I apply for a job, as long as I meet the basic requirements, it’s mine. I know that I am relatively safe, and I can call the cops if I need to. I know that my pain will either be the pain that life always brings, or it will be the pain I am searching for out in the world. The first is unavoidable, the second is the path I still choose.
If nothing else, I know that my privilege in this world can be used to help those who don’t have it. It can open doors, make connections, and call attention to people and places who do not yet exist in the world that we see. I don’t know what it will cost me, but it is a far better life than any I would have had simply existing back home. Everything for me is ahead, and I’m glad of that.