A Narrative Essay on my move here

I originally wrote this for my Rhetoric and Composition class, but I think it belongs here as well:

I remember first hearing word that my family and I would be moving to an island off the coast of China called Taiwan. With my dad being in the navy, moving around or dad being deployed wasn’t new. During my 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade years, my family and I lived in Beijing, where my dad was a naval attaché. Then, during the later half of 7th grade and all of 8th, save for a couple of trips, my dad was deployed off the coast of Japan. But hearing this ‘might’, as in a slim possibility that we wouldn’t have to move (with it being heard near the beginning of my sophomore year of high school) gave my brothers and I hope that we wouldn’t have to move again and leave our friends. But anything can happen in the navy, and we heard that we would be living in Taipei for three years. But towards the beginning of the second semester of my sophomore year, three years in Taipei was changed to two years in Taiwan, and three years in Beijing. This will be the longest time out of the US for me and my family, and before moving, we had spent five years in northern Virginia, the longest period of time that we hadn’t moved. And that was solely because my dad opted to go to Japan by himself, without my mom, brothers, or myself.

It felt surreal having to leave for overseas again, after staying in one place for so long. We had to leave my pet guinea pig with some family friends, we had to leave our dog behinds while he waited to be cleared to being moved to the quarantine here in Taipei. I had to say goodbye to the friends and kids I met and knew, the teachers I had and ‘made friends’ with, but most importantly, my grandparents, who we visited in St. Louis, MO, where my mom’s parents live, and my dad’s parents came to visit us while staying at our friend’s house from Allentown, PA. I won’t forget the last words my dad’s mom said before they got in their car and left for Pennsylvania: I don’t like having to say goodbye. But what struck me the most was that she had tears coming from her eyes. When we lived in China, we always visited my mom’s parents, but both sets of grandparents would come and visit us. I have a feeling things will be the same this time around.

The last days of school and packing days for both the movers and storage came quickly, and we ‘moved’ into a friend’s house to stay for the last couple of days while they were at Nags Head beach in North Carolina. But we officially left Virginia on July 17th, about three-fourths of a month after school got out for the summer. Because of the distance, the flight was made in ‘two trips’, a flight from Virginia to California, and from there to Taiwan. When we got here, we had little of our stuff. As of now, we are still waiting for out car. My parents didn’t even know about school, because there were ‘no openings’ for both Taipei American School or Taipei European School. For a while, it looked like I was going to be attending Grace Christian Academy, and being jewish, I didn’t think those two things would add up. But, after an interview, I got ‘admitted’ to TAS, and now I’m here. But school aside, if it is one thing I look forward to being overseas for, it is the vacations.

When my family and I lived in mainland China, we used the vacation days normally used for going back home for going elsewhere. While in Beijing, we went on vacation to Harbin and saw the ice sculptures, we went to South Africa and went to Kruger National Park, we went to Vietnam, Australia, and Singapore. In this ‘overseas session’, my family hopes to go to Jerusalem, Istanbul, Florence, Scotland, England, and maybe even Japan, all on top of going back to that states for some visits.

I really enjoy my new school here in Taiwan, but I also still like my old high school, South Lakes High School, for different reasons. One thing I do not like about TAS is sharing a bus with the elementary school kids, mostly because the parents up where I live have kids that age, and I am at least the second oldest kid on the bus. In fact, I still think that high schoolers, middle schoolers, and elementary schoolers going to the same school is weird. The International School of Beijing did have this system, but the students were put in separate busses based on age or grade. I’m still getting used to and remembering the system used at ISB, and noticing some similarities between TAS and SLHS.

To sum up my experiences with moving overseas, I have mixed feelings, I’m looking forward to doing certain things, I enjoy it here, but I miss where I come from. I hope I can make the most of my possible five years in asia.

I hope you enjoyed, and have a pleasant All Hallow’s Eve!

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The Month of September in Review

Wow, how long has it been since my last post? My days have been so busy with school, I haven’t had time to get around to this post.

This month was eventful. Firstly, on the 11th, my father got promoted to captain in the US Navy. we went to a ‘wetting down’ ceremony to celebrate, and Admiral Chen, chief of the Taiwanese navy was there! we had a blast, and it made me proud to have my father as my father.

Two of my brothers went away to Camp Taiwan, a camp that they make Upper Elementary and Middle School go to. It was a sleep away camp, and personally doesn’t sound like something I would enjoy.

A third major event happened on the 29th and 30th of the month: Michele Posue came and talked to the high school about her documentary: Matt Shepard Was a Friend of Mine. It was very interesting to here her talk about it, and very surprising to see her in my Theater Arts class to talk about what makes a story a good one on the 30th. Afterwords, she talked about the film making process and other such things during the block I usually have Stagecraft (Technical Theater)

I hope your September was as eventful as mine!

Education and other stuff

     As of now, my family and I have been in Taiwan for about a month, and things have been busy: dad’s been in and out on trips to the USA, but most importantly school started on the 14th of August. I haven’t been able to write lately because I have been preparing for school and doing things like checking out a laptop, or finishing the summer reading (highly recommend Predictably Irrational, personally). Another thing I’ve been focusing on is the Gamer part of Globetrotting Gamer.

     Lately I’ve been playing Europa Universalis IV, a grand-strategy game where you can play as any country and rule it at any point you want (or a recommended start date) starting at 1444 and bring it all the way to the first day of 1821. Some countries are able to be formed from others in the game once certain requirements have been met; some of these ‘transitions’ are logical (i.e. Poland can form Commonwealth), others are less so (like an Indian nation forming Hindustan) There are multiple form-able nations that can be formed by multiple nations (both England and Scotland can form Great Britain; Russia can be formed by both Novgorod and Muscovy; Tuscany, Venice, Milan, or another nation forming Italy; etc.) I am currently playing a game as Brandenburg, one of multiple nations that can form Prussia or Germany, which in 1444 is a medium sized nation in the Holy Roman Empire.

     Well, from any point, I will continue to write about what I am doing overseas, but until then, see you!

Journey to the East-Part II

Well, my family and I have been here since the 17th of July, and Taiwan is… interesting. Our house is situated in Yangmingshan, a small town near the top of a small mountain near Taipei. On Saturday, we went into the city with a bus ride to the metro, and went to Taipei 101! We looked around the shops a bit, but the main reason we went there was to get some good old Din Tai Fung! After lunch we planned to go up in the observatory, but after waiting 40 minutes in the waiting line/area, and seeing the line for the observatory, we saved it for another day and went home to relax. In terms of the gamer part of my blog, not much has happened in the games I’m playing to share, so I’ll save that for another time.Taipei101.portrait.altonthompson

Journey to the East-Part I

Well, My time in the USA has come to a close, and the last few weeks were a little crazy. On the Monday after my finals week, we started staying in a family-friend’s house while they were at the beach, and on July 2nd we went to St Louis to visit my mom’s family, and returned on the 8th. A coupe days later, our dad’s parents came over to visit. Our plane flight to Taiwan leaves July 16th. I will write a follow up once my family is settled in. It feels really strange to think that the move is right around the corner.