I have always tried to treat everybody I met with respect. Turns out, my outward actions were not the problem. Sometimes I treated people nicely in public, but perpetuated racist ideas in private. Or in my own head.
When I came to Taiwan in my twenties, I wasn’t coming for the joy of travel or the love of humanity or the desire to see the world and better myself. I came for piano lessons. I had moved from my home state of Texas to Michigan for grad school, and after a year my piano teacher got an exchange professorship to a Taiwanese university. A Taiwanese classmate and I decided to go to along to continue our piano lessons, and she invited me to live with her family. It was great! I studied piano, traveled the country, and taught ESL. I also fell in love with Taiwan.
Sam and I have been together for 25 years, and for the first few election cycles we voted together. We were the dreaded swing voters, the ones that everybody makes fun of for not knowing their own minds, but are actually the ones to decide who wins. Then, somewhere between Iraq and Obama, we parted ways. Just like the rest of the country.