MANIFESTING SINCE FEBRUARY 27 AT 1:38 P.M.
James Walcott wrote that “No man is an island.” And no better place to see that is in Asia/Taiwan, where ‘guanxi’ (connections) are made use of on a regular basis. In fact, it’s hard to get things done here without them. Recently, I had a incident that proved to me that maybe I should really work harder on getting off of my little island.
Last Friday, doing what dogs do best, my lovely dog, Chocky decided to dig up a potted plant I have on my balcony. Too tired to really be mad, I just went about cleaning it up. This meant, I pushed whatever plants and stuff he dug up down the drain. Around ten o’clock that night, my neighbors from the 3rd floor come up to my floor to find the reason their balcony is overflowing. I was washing clothes and the water was coming up thru their drain. It was clogged. So, we talk about it, and figure out that it needed to be cleaned. Today, I get the bill, of 3500nt along with being harassed by the guard to pay up. I had told the building manager to come and talk to me. But I know he didn’t want to do this because I had told him that this is more than what it should cost. The building manager is saying that is the going rate for a person to come out to snake a drain. I suspect that in the TW way of getting money for your inconveniences, they are overcharging me for just that, the accidental inconvenience.
I talked to a foreign friend to ask advice about how to handle this. He suggested talking to the ward office should anything happen and also to my landlord. Kept telling me that I should call my TW friends to help out these matters but the problem is I have no Taiwanese friends.
During my combined 2 years here, I haven’t made one single TW friend, or what I would call a friend in my book. I know of several TW people, but don’t feel comfortable enough to call them with my problems but that goes with anyone. I have never felt comfortable asking anyone to intervene on my behalf unless; I knew it was safe to do so. I several reasons for my behavior/thinking. Some of it I would like to blame on my parents, but that’s not helpful or necessary. And the other part I would like to blame on my past hurts and failures with making friends. Yet, it doesn’t really make a difference because in the real world, I have learned that one just gets up and keeps trying at it, never allowing one’s past experiences define what the present and future can be. At least if you intend on going somewhere in your life, unburdened from the baggage.
I hoped that my karma would kick in, all those times that I tossed a bone out to someone in need. Alas, it hasn’t. This whole thing just reconfirms how interconnected the world is, how necessary it is to be connected with others around you,(not just for gain) if it doesn’t seem that way in the West.