December 5th, 2014
I promised myself that when I started this blog I would write about the good and the bad. Not everything is easy when you live abroad so there are bad days and good days. Unfortunately, this particular Friday was a bad one.
After finishing up a long week at work I had decided to not go to my boxing class that night and instead just finish grading homework, grab some dinner, and go home. My driving wasn’t anything unusual. It is actually pretty mellow compared to many Taiwanese drivers here in Taiwan. Anyways, I was coming upon a T-junction and was driving through the intersection with a green light when all of a sudden a scooter/cart comes into my line of vision in the left corner of my eye and smacks into the left side of my scooter. I had no time at all to press on my brakes or swerve. Before I knew it this whole cart thing was leaning on me and I was holding up the weight of my scooter, myself, this cart and the man inside of it. A Taiwanese man on the street rushed over to help get the cart off of me and I was able to scooter to the side of the road. It took all my might to whisper, and not shout, all the cuss words that were coming out of my mouth by this point. I immediately parked my scooter and started inspecting it. I wanted to make sure that if there was any damage I could claim it to the insurance. Then I panicked and started looking around at the man and his scooter cart. I realized that if the police showed up and they tried talking to me I would be in trouble due to the fact that I am not a legally licensed driver in Taiwan. I also cannot speak Chinese so they might favor the Taiwanese man that hit me and not the other way around. The Taiwanese man that hit me had also pulled to the side of the road by this time and to my complete disgust was still smoking the cigarette that I am sure was in his mouth when he hit me. Really dude! Throw your cigarette away when you have to deal with shit like this! My outrage aside, the man proceeds to ask me questions in Chinese. I am sure they are along the lines of are you okay, blah, blah, blah. I hold up my hands and say I’m good, I’m good over and over again. He doesn’t seem to be doing anything else so I just figure whats done is done and get back on my scooter and very anxiously drive home.
Back in my apartment I realized that my left leg and arm were in a lot of pain, but they weren’t broken. It hadn’t really sunk in that I should worry about my body or start crying until I got home. I immediately started crying and messaging a few people just to talk it out and kind of ease myself into the fact that I had just gotten into a sort of accident, my first in Taiwan.
I was so ashamed of myself for getting hit that I didn’t tell my mom for four days and I didn’t mention anything to my co-workers for a whole week. Even when I did mention it to my co-workers I kept the story, and how I felt about everything, very short.
I didn’t know what it was about getting hit, but I went into a whirlwind of sadness. Its like this man knocked all of this cold, hard fear into me. I realized that if I ever have to go to the hospital that my parents wouldn’t be able to visit me unless they flew here. I realized that if I ever had an encounter with the police I would have to call for help, I couldn’t just deal with it myself. I realized that I am completely helpless in this country because I can’t speak Chinese. I was thinking about who would visit me in the hospital and how alone and on my own I really am in this country.
Some of what I was thinking now seems ridiculous because I am in a much better mood, but at the time these thoughts put me into a complete sadness and all I wanted to do was fly back home. Luckily, I didn’t, and I am back in a better mood.
I am very lucky that I walked away from everything with just scratches on my scooter and bruises on my body. Thanks to my helmet nothing happened to my head. Now it is back to being more aware of my surroundings when I drive and time to start studying for my driver’s license.
I am very luck indeed.