Repatriation (Notes MCCXIII)



I am currently happy in Taiwan – although I am in Bronkhorstspruit at the moment. I believe I could be happy in Bronkhorstspruit. What is important is that all my possessions and my income-generating work are in Taiwan.


It is the seventeenth day of my holiday in South Africa. I have nine days left. Some thoughts on the issue of “return” have been jotted down. The matter is, as usual, somewhat annoying because … do I take some books back to Taiwan, do I leave them here seeing that I might soon return?

So I ask myself solemnly for some illumination on the subject. [Why do my notes sometimes look like prayer? And why do I sometimes kneel down when I write … just joking.]

It is Tuesday afternoon. I have just smoked a Nat Sherman under a tree, in the late winter sun, on a smallholding just outside Bronkhorstspruit. I am currently here, in South Africa. My older sister and her six month-old baby boy are sitting on the bed in the room across from me. She’s browsing through a magazine, and the little guy is making soft groaning sounds. My younger sister is sitting on the other side of the house in the office of my parents’ business. I am lying on the bed in the other spare room, on a yellow bedspread, making notes in my notebook.

But, I currently live in Taiwan. And yet I am currently in South Africa. What’s the problem?

The fact that I am here, in Bronkhorstspruit, with my family, is one hundred percent part of my life in Taiwan!

My main point about the issue has already been noted: I am currently happy in Taiwan. I have a good apartment there. I have a few friends. I have a job that provides me with a reasonably good income. I spend time every week on my personal literature, and I study Chinese (some weeks more than others, but still). It is a good life, judged by my own standards.

An ideal life would include my parents already being in financially comfortable retirement; my younger sister and her husband living in town, as they do now; my older sister and her family in Pretoria; and myself either residing in a pleasant home in Pretoria or in Bronkhorstspruit, with a pleasant and attractive woman. This is the ideal – with everyone healthy, everyone enjoying their jobs, and everyone generating sufficient capital to be able to afford a good life.

I don’t tend to look at present reality and exclaim, with a hint of bitterness, “That’s life!” But it is not as simple as me just shipping my things here and moving into a three bedroom house in Bronkhorstspruit. Doing so will, ironically, be selfish, if my path does cross with a woman with whom I want to spend my days on this planet, and even more so if we were to conceive children.

The life I now call my own, and from which I am creating a future, is the best chance I have, at this stage, to be who I am and do what I do; and then, if it is on the proverbial cards, the best chance I have to persuade someone to share her life with me.

My present life contains the seed from which a good future can spring – for myself, and for any other person or persons for whose welfare I may be at least partially responsible in about five years’ time.

This is my current life, in Taiwan. (Thus are my words, on a smallholding just outside Bronkhorstspruit on Tuesday, 24 August 2004.)