My 16 year old son, Zack, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, wrote this essay for his Rhetoric and Composition class and posted it to his blog at http://www.GlobetrottingGamer.wordpress.com. I am so proud of him and how far he has come, and I can see he is proud of himself, which is much more significant.
Journey to the Far East: My move to Taiwan
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 buses 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.