It’s weird, but I’m glad I’m finally getting nostalgic for Mexico. Not entirely, but some. I still tell everyone who is thinking of going there, “you will get robbed,” but, hey, it’s Mexico. If you want safe, you stay in Taiwan. It’s still a weird place, but the fear that permeates Mexico just doesn’t exist here. I have yet to find a place that really feels unsafe, even if the people don’t always seem as friendly.
That’s one of the things about this place, people always seem a bit unfriendly, but that may just be one of the differences between here and Mexico. There, a lot of people are friendly, but you can’t be sure if it’s a setup or not. Here, people are what they are.
I like that. They don’t coddle you, or try to make it easy for you, they just live their lives and expect you to live yours. I have been to a lot of places where people are targets, where you have to keep your eyes open, where you have to know that the price they give you is only real if they write it where everyone can see it. Here, the price changes, but it only goes down. The better they know you, the better the price. It’s an interesting dynamic, a kind of nepotism that we only really see in business in the US. How many people get jobs because of who they know, not what they know.
I like that this place is safe, that I can wander all day with my headphones on, that I can not worry so much about whether someone is going to break into my room while I’m gone. I was lucky in Mexico, compared to many people. I’m lucky here too, just not in the same way. I just have to work half as much to make a living, and it’s an easy job. Not as easy as teaching adults in Mexico, but still easy.
I came across a random parade after kung fu on Saturday. It looked traditional, but I wasn’t sure what it was about. There were no holidays I knew about, but people set off fireworks here for any reason at all, just like in Mexico. Here, they cover the streets and set off masses of small fire crackers. There, it’s fireworks in the sky to announce mass. Religion needs more minor explosives, just to make it festive.
I followed the parade a bit, it was moving slowly, stopping for traffic lights, waiting for it to be safe. It really lacked that feeling that someone might die at any second. There were no medics, and the guys at the end looked like they were drinking beer while they waited.
I doubt they were, drinking in public is not culturally accepted here. It’s one of the things I’m glad of. I never got used to having to drink in Mexico, but it is just part of life there. Tequila and beer, not every day, but never really a surprise. Or maybe I just haven’t made the right friends here yet. I’ve found nerds, martial artists, and a different breed of teacher, but no alcoholics yet.
I expected to drink with the teachers from time to time, but with where I am and how sick I was, I never really connected with my training group. Most of the teachers who work where I do seem to be settled into living here, like they’ve found a place in the world they want to stay. They may not stay forever, but in Mexico a lot of the teachers felt like they were on vacation, or just passing through.
I wonder if it’s the people they hire to teach children, or at least the people who survive the job. It’s easy to see how people could abandon ship, with how difficult the job can be. I was lucky compared to some, and I don’t know how long that luck will last. I just hope it’s long enough that I can learn to be what the kids need me to be.
I’m doing okay for now, and the job is getting easier, but I don’t have the morning class that was giving me so much trouble anymore. I need to go back, to see what I need to be for that level. I’m glad I lost it, but I was learning so much more there. I just couldn’t get the kids to learn at the same time. I can’t make them wait while I learn to teach them.
I don’t really know what will come of all of this, or where I will end up afterwards. I think all I really have in my life at this point is a direction, not a path. I don’t know if I would ever really know what to do with a path if I found it. I know there is a time or two when I felt like there was something guiding me, until everything fell apart and I continued on alone.
I don’t know if that’s good or bad, or what really matters in this world. Nothing, or everything.