My blessed experience of life

FRIDAY, 13 JUNE 2008

That then was Thursday, the day numbered “twelve” in the month labelled “June” in the year following “2007”.

I know there is a point behind everything I fill my days with. Time flies. Everyone gets older. The world perishes bit by bit.

Time for bed? Why? Because I’m tired of sitting on this chair, but especially since sleep traditionally precedes breakfast. And I like to do things right.


It is because we are born that we die.

It is because we survive 85 years of life that we die of old age.

It is because of life that we succumb to death.


Today is not January 6th, the Day of Epiphany, and I know I have an almost programmed tendency to go profound whenever I get near Lane 55 [my first neighbourhood in Taiwan], but as I was pedalling past early tonight, it struck me: Life came to me.

In Korea, I often spoke of pausing at the red light, waiting until I can continue with my life. These sentiments were repeatedly reconsidered in ‘99 and 2000. Taiwan was, initially, like Korea, a place of waiting: Waiting until I could go “home” – where I could live a fuller life, where I could finally commit and belong.

June 2008. I am still in Taiwan, nine and a half years later. Still here, as I remind myself every time I pass by Lane 55. But I am not waiting anymore. People came to me. First it was just friends, and then, finally, love.

* * *

To me Natasja represents LIFE. To me, she is LIFE incarnated. Surely we are all, technically speaking, but to me she is a truly wonderful manifestation of LIFE: her personality, her willpower, her survival instinct, her enjoyment of things, her experience of things, even her fears, although she doesn’t always talk about them.

Of course, Natasja would have been here regardless of my presence. She would have come here anyway, and she would still be here now even if I were not. But if I did go back to look for LIFE in South Africa as I had planned to do more than a few times, I would have missed her.

I was here in 2004. And she came here.

The rest is my blessed experience of LIFE.


“Marry me, Rita,” says the title character in the film, Sgt. Bilko. “I know I’m a longshot, but sometimes they pay.”