I Met a Chen

   Taiwan- Touch Your Butt Heart.

   I met a Chen!

   Yet again I am in another country lost and confused. It feels really good to be in that situation all over again. It is far too easy to fall into routines when you are comfortable with a place. Stagnancy is painful for me. I have only lived in Korea for a bit less than 6 months but already I was developing routines. Now, don't get me wrong, routines and being comfortable with a place is a good thing. But there is no adventure in it, no mystery. In my short time in Korea I have gotten to a point where I am confident doing all the every day things I need to do. Yeah, from time to time I still get lost and confused, but not as much as what it was when I began my journey in Korea.

   So now I am in Kaohsiung Taiwan. I am recording a lot of video too and I plan to put the video up as one long video when I return to Korea. I don't know how long it will be but I am here for a week so we will see.

   Today I met a person I have been wanting to see for over 4 years now. Chen has been a great friend to me, and one that I have never had the opportunity to formally meet. We met on a language exchange site called lang-8.com. This is a site where you keep a kind of journal in a language you are learning and native speakers can correct your mistakes for you. In turn you do the same for them. It is completely free and a really good way to practice a language and meet friends from all over the world.

   If you were to ask me 4 years ago, "Where is Taiwan on this map?" I would have looked at you funny and asked, "What is a Taiwan?" I didn't even really know Taiwan existed except that a lot of computer parts are made there. But through Lang-8 I met Chen and everything changed from there. She was so kind and fun to talk to. Eventually I was introduced to other friends of hers and I developed relationships with every one of them the likes of which I don't even have with people back home. Because of this I became fascinated with Taiwan and I wanted to learn all about it. It wasn't long before I wanted to visit Taiwan and meet the friends I had made.

   Life has a funny way of getting in the way of things though. At one point I actually had a round trip ticket to and from Taiwan but a month before I was to take off, stuff just got in the way and I had to end up cancelling. Time and time again I would tell Chen, "I am going to Taiwan on blah blah date." Yet time and time again something would come up.

   Finally today I got to meet a friend I have been trying to meet for so long. I don't think I can explain how that feels. Also, I got to meet another friend I met through her who I call "big sister." Of course me being Alex, with my fantastically amazing memory, forgot to get pictures with both of them. Soon though! We will meet again tomorrow so...

   Chen is just as much of a wonderful person in real life as she is online. She is tiny, timid, quiet, and every bit as nice as she seemed online. I feel very lucky to have met Chen. After my first failed attempt to come to Taiwan, I started to forget why I was so interested in Taiwan at all. I guess it was that failure that really made me lose that spark. Now I am remembering why I was so interested in this place. Chen has helped me with that.

   Thank you, Chen, for being a friend, for being the spark that relights a fire of wonder and amazement in me. I hope that in 50 years you are as much my friend as you are today.