About Me

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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Black Friday

This past week has been an unprecedented and ridiculous drain in finances and energy all related to my car. Its thankfully more comical than lamentable. Last Friday I had my first car accident and then it pretty much snowballed from there. The good news is no one is seriously hurt, I learned a lot, technical bits about driving legally, about paying attention to what Chinese year it is and  personal things like I didn't lose my peace because this surprise, inner, minute kernel of joy sustained me like an umbilical cord.  An illusion of self growth, I'm more likely just still shell shocked. That and thinking about my upcoming trip home for a month is the hope at the end of this tunnel.

We were on our way to Loudong for my Friday afternoon work; I teach art and PE to two K2 all day English classes. We had time and I know my kid would be happy if I treated her to McDonalds because we literally ate there 9 months ago. As I was turning into the drive-thru this scooter came out of nowhere. I wasn't going fast as I had to make a sharp right turn, but she was cruising and when I hit her she flew.

It was terrifying. Z and I got out of the car, time slowed down. My daughter was crying, screaming. I told the shocked onlookers in Chinese, "Call 119!" When they didn't my kid yelled at them to call the ambulance. My 9 year old was panicking, I was dead calm in my helplessness. My daughter screamed distraught, "What do I do?" I told her "Pray." I bent down to the young woman, who at first was mistaken for a boy, an onlooker asked if "he" was breathing. She was pale, I think she might of been dead for a moment, all time was suspended, death spun all around us looking for someone to latch on. She went into a seizure, I prayed and gently touched all around the top of her body. Her arm looked broken, wickedly hanging limp on the ground I softly stroked it confirming its wrong distortion. A Black Friday. Waiting for help.

She moaned and wanted to sit up, I told her in Mandarin, "Rest, you shouldn't move." Two Taiwanese ladies came over, with umbrellas and shaded us and told her the same thing. She wanted up and after waiting for the ambulance, we finally helped her sit up. It was a right out miracle she could stand on her feet, her arm had been utterly restored before our eyes. The one side of her body scraped in patches. The ambulance arrived after that, they took her to the hospital. My distraught and crying daughter and I waited for 40 minutes for the police officer who was young and spoke English. People were understanding. The McDonald's had us sit inside for the AC, drinking ice water. I had to endure my own guilt and my daughter repeating how angry she was with me. I took it.

The young lady returned to the scene with her girlfriend. I was awed she was functioning as well as she did. I believe heaven opened up, a ripple, tear in the seams between this world and an other that's all around us. Higher beings had mercy, a perceivable presence gently leading us. Then after telling the first cop my and some witness' testimonies, we had to wait for the other officer to hear it all again, take pictures and follow him to the station. On the drive up, I finally told my daughter to lay off me, I need her on my side. She eased off me after that. All parties waited at the Loudong police station for another 40 minutes, for a special English speaking Foreigner assistance type officer.  There was a third woman whose scooter windshield glass fell out when the ladies scooter slid into this closest scooter.  In the end she didn't ask me to pay her damages (500NT).

I was surprised when I found out inside the police station, my car insurance had expired. It was year 104, really? I still thought it was 103. I don't really think in Chinese years, stupid me. I already knew my US license wasn't valid and there's a fine to drive without a Taiwanese license. I failed the written test and never got around to retaking it. I studied and past the online test six times before taking it, and still I got some lame question about blue trucks. But the Loudong police man, he favored me and let my 14,000 NT fee for lacking basic insurance and the 8,500NT for driving a car sans license, he didn't fine me at all. I was moved. It was hard no to be. No strings attached. The Lion's roar of kindness all around me but I didn't feel much like celebrating.

That night before sleep, Z and I rehashed our experience, a catharsis to release it all out before bed. We both were dumbfounded over her arm, over how good it all really turned out.

The next day driving on our scooter to Loudong for my kid's violin class was a torture for our frayed nerves. It was almost unbearable. It was slightly easier on the drive home. We prayed and thought about this lady all last weekend. I was amazed we didn't get the call she had dropped dead from internal bleeding and yet there's part of me who believes her health after this will be supernaturally better just from this accident. When I say higher powers touched her, I am not meaning figuratively.

Last weekend I sat with guilt from my poor choices, questioned everything. It came to a point on my hammock I stood back detached and watched all these thoughts like on a screen, the stress literally was mind altering in a transcendent way. I'm sure my body didn't agree, as my neck and shoulder froze painfully. My kid snapped, "I will have a license and insurance first before I drive!" I believe her. I would never do that in the States, I let it all sort of slide here and went with the flow out of laziness, lack of kin, men. I obviously needed outside help. I had to admit I wasn't this fully functioning independent woman.


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