In December of 2008 Brian Hartenstein and family left America for an adventurous life overseas to live and work throughout Asia, raising three daughters with a sense of wonder and awe at the possibility of the world. It is now 2016 and the adventure continues back home in Oregon. This blog remains as a time capsule to that period. Thank you so much to all our friends around the world. Please stay in touch. We miss you all!
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Moon River on Repeat, Trapped in the Elevator
Many of you have written to me and yes, I am back in Taiwan and have been for the last couple of weeks. My reasons for continuing to write about Burma is that I am not ready to forget. I need to keep those memories of traveling close, or I might just go insane.
Wandering through golden domed temples, floating on long wooden canoes to fishing villages deep in the mountains, riding trains with the bread sellers, and overnight buses stopping at outposts along the highway in the middle of the dark...all of these travel moments creating this mosaic of memory... making me feel, alive.
Then I return home, back to reality, back to life. It's easy getting back into the classroom, back in with my friends and seeing my daughters again.
But returning to Taiwan to finish yet another semester is completely and totally mind numbingly impossible. It's like being partially lobotomized. Back to the land of "No Common Sense" and "Uncompromising Frustration."
To make matters worse, I've moved. Oh yes, gone is the wonderful apartment on the 19th floor, traded in for a bigger kitchen and a view of...well... the windows of an office building and a garbage dump.
Moving into new apartments in Asia never makes sense... I can even feel my Dad just shaking his head... but the electrical outlets are never in the right place and there are no handles on screen doors and drawers and nothing is planned right...or ...worse...it perfectly normal to have hanging electrical wires and no storage space and beautiful decorated furniture right next to exposed plumbing...and... well, you just have take it because... that's what it's like to live in Asia.
Case in point... today was just one of those days that sucked! There was nothing but work. Thankless. Backbreaking. Work. And to make matters worse... hauling all my crap trip after trip after trip up the pedestrian elevator over and over again while an instrumental rendition of Mancini's Moon River played and just feeling trapped and broken and squished and defeated.
And the guard in the uniform is hacking up a hairball by the reflecting pool and the woman in the fur coat smells like moldy dishwater, and the kid at the counter with acne and spikey hair is telling me I have to park my bike in the basement not on the balcony and the gym doesn't open on Sundays and why the cleanning lady doesn't want me to recycle my own trash and then the garbage truck passes blarring Beethoven and a motorscooter crashes into a taxi and some little girl in pink curls stops dead in her tracks in front of me and screams and I just step backward into the elevator and close the doors, let the muzak wash over me for the hundredth time today...and that's why... I need to remember Burma...because traveling is the only time I feel alive.