After a year without a cell phone (a beautiful, unleashing experience, might I add), the first thing I did when I arrived home was head to my local Sprint store and activate the phone that's been in a closet this year.
It's been strange carrying it around, but one benefit (besides being able to tweet anywhere) is having a camera-on-demand again.
Here's a couple shots I've snagged over the last couple weeks (With Commentary!)
Photo #1: Chili Cheese FriesI'm fairly certain Ben, one of my life-long best friends, tried to kill me the first day we hung out. After an incredible welcome home meal at In'n'Out (which nearly did the deed in itself), Ben took me to a place called "The Hat" where we ordered something that could have been called "Death by Chili Cheese" and in fact, probably was.
This is only a taste of the American Food my American Friends are feeding me. What they don't realize... I don't think my stomach is American anymore...
Photo #2: Proof I exercise...some.
Living in the city was fun in its own right. But nothing beats a taste of nature. This is the less-than-natural trail behind our suburban track homes. I'm trying to keep up my walking, eventually graduating to running. My friend Yazz has been dragging me around the city lake every now and then. That helps.
Photo #4: Surf City, USA
What good is a trip home to California if you don't make it to the Beach? In theme with staying healthy, my dad, brother and I did a good 6 mile walk/run before enjoying the waves some. (Note to self: Going once does not equate to a healthy habit)
Photo #5: Front Seat Driver
Another activity I didn't do much of (at all) in Taiwan: Driving. But, I'm home now, and I've been doing the big-brotherly carpooling lately, picking up from school and dance and other activities. This time, I had company. (But she tends to bark out orders, so I made her sit in the back) (That's a lie)
Photo #6: California Sunset
And finally:I took this on a drive with Colin Biggers.Everything halted when we saw this sunset; conversation, car, time itself.ThenI think we may have been honked at. Note the green light.Green means go, but that sunset meant stop and take in the moment.
I'm sure you know, but I've launched The Drift (1.5) over at www.chaseandre.com come visit!
This week, I'll be featuring fellow bloggers in what I consider to be the Drifter Community. We're made up of a unique bunch, many of whom are doing some pretty cool stuff. If you're interested in displaying some art of yours (whatever the form may be) email me: thedrift(at)chaseandre(dot)com
Also, and of course, you can follow me on Twitter!
PS Drifter Community Member Kelvin over at Daretothinkdreamdo asked me to guest post! Check it out.
I know it's Earthquake Day in Taiwan, today. So, in reverence for the event, I'm trying to avoid cheesy and inappropriate cliches like "earth shattering news" or "groundbreaking new blog" or the like.
But, I don't want to undermine my excitement for this next evolution in my blogging.
Will I continue to post here at the Taiwan Drift? Occasionally, and for a short period of time during this transition. Since the beginning, I knew that "The Taiwan Drift" will stay about my journey to Taiwan. It will follow me home only to the extent of transitioning from foreign to familiar.
But, I continue drifting. So I continue writing. And I hope you'll drift with me.
Tonight, I'm leaving on my next drifting adventure, and the only place you'll hear about it is on the new site. Because the real chaseandre.com is not finished, I've released a wordpress blog as a holding place until The (true) Drift is complete, thus the "1.5" bit. So bear with me during the construction and transition phase.
Life is a Journey, and it's not always neat and organized and running as smoothly as can be. :)
But, without further ado, I nonetheless invite you to join me on The Drift (1.5): www.ChaseAndre.com
Though the effects remain, Typhoon Morakot passed through Taiwan over a month ago. The storm brought the worst flooding in over 50 years, and more than 500 lives were lost.
But ten years ago, today, Taiwan was rocked by an Earthquake registering 7.6 on the Richter Scale. Thousands were killed, and an estimated 100,000 left homeless. Throughout my year in Taiwan, this was brought up dozens of times. The tragedy, and the National heartache carried from the 9/21 earthquake is on scale with our 9/11 or Katrina.
One of the valuable lessons I learned while being submerged in another culture is to uncover the experiences that create common ground. As members of the human race, one experience that unites us all is heartbreak and tragedy. Though my students were young when this national disaster took place, we were able to share our experiences in the classroom and doing so brought us closer together as a class.
Learning that we're all human, and we're all in this thing-called-life together was a big lesson for me this past year. People are People. Burn away the cultural quirks and the difference in language, appearance or religion, and what you will have in front of you is a person. Really. A person just like you. In fact, so much like you they could be a member of your family.
And to me, many of them did become part of my family. Aligning myself with the troubles and hardships of the people around me - really understanding what the hurt they've been through, and sharing in that burden with them - has taught me what it is to be a member of this race called human-kind.
As my journey moves me from foreign to familiarity, I hope, and even pray, I never grow deaf to those with needs that I can meet. I hope I never grow so comfortable that I forget what it is to be displaced.
Though I'm far from my friends, and my family, in Taiwan, I know the lessons they've taught me have not left my side.
I believe life is about a Journey, not a Destination.
I believe balance is essential.
I believe to Live with Excellence is the best way to live.
And I'm learning how to do that.
Want to join me along the road? I welcome your company, companionship and conversation.