Ahhh. Allright, well before starting off on our Taiwandering Adventures, I feel like everyone back home should know that yes, I actually DO have friends here. I know. You are shocked. Many probably got the impression, from my first 6 months of blogging, that I spent much of my time meandering the streets aimlessly and playing on the internet in my one-room palace. And while this was true of my first month or so here (which is about how far I got in my previous blogs - don't even get me STARTED on how behind I was/am and will forever be) - I have since made some awesome friends, many of whom will probably even reach "lifelong" status. (Those of you who have already attained this rank, you are aware of the perks that come with such a title; you know, like letting me sleep on your couches and getting to throw multiple goodbye/welcome back parties).
And no, for those who are wondering, none of my good friends/traveling buddies are, in fact, Asians. This is not because I don't like the Taiwanese; in actuality, I have yet to meet a Chinese person who I do not instantly like (with the exception of this dude at the bar who knocked over my guitar and then REFUSED to pick it up...who DOES that?!). It's just that, I guess when you're far away from home, you tend to gravitate toward things that are as familiar as possible. That is why almost all my friends are exactly like me (with a few outliers here and there to prove I'm not completely close-minded): They are all laid-back, enthusiastic, and like to explore. They are tell good stories and like to drink, which in turn makes their stories even better (if not less coherent and lengthier/louder/less based in fact). Most are Midwestern or Canadian, and while being Canadian is never to be viewed as a positive affliction, the Canuckleheads are generally chilled out, which lumps them in with the rest of the Midwest mentality. They are all good people.
SO, without further adieu, meet the players:
Aliases: Mike, George Michael, Serg (or is it "Surge" like the drink? Whatever happened to that drink, anyway? Didn't they discover it actually contained pure crack-cocaine or something? Is that why those people did all that crazy shit in the commercials?)
Hometown: Lansing, Michigan (Midwest represent)
Biography: Mike is known for his ability to dance better than any person I have EVER seen (and by "better" I mean that everyone who sees him says "oh my God! WHAT is that guy DOING?!?! AWESOME!"), his propensity for wearing neon, and his enthusiasm that rivals most five-year olds when their Ritalin prescription runs out. Oh, and he sweats. A LOT.
Authors Note: Dude is my best bud in Taiwan...until he gets hammered. Then I want to kill him. But in a good way.
Hometown: Canada (that's right, all Canadians just live in 'Canada'. Are there even real cities in Canada? I thought everyone just lived on frozen lakes and occasionally spoke French in between confused-sounding blurts of "eh? EH?")
Biography: Denise is probably the girl most like MYSELF that I have ever met, and therefore she (and Carrie) is just like sisters to me. She tells great stories that all involve alcohol in some way or another. She is rarely pissed about anything. She says she is going to the bathroom at parties, but instead just goes home and leaves everyone wondering/searching for her.
Authors Note: Part of the Dynamic Duo of "Menace and Cheddar Bob", which constitutes my other best buds in Taiwan.
(Plug: Carrie and Denise's VIDEO blog...check it out for some embarrassing footage of the Taiwanderers, myself included):
Alias: Cheddar Bob
Hometown: Canada (Me to the girls: "quick, name the Prime Minister of Canada". Response: "....uh....?". I love Canadians.)
Biography: Carrie is the nice, maternal member of our motley crew, but still laughs when we injure ourselves doing something idiotic. She is a terrible scooter driver, but sometimes cooks for us. She smiles ALL the time and snores like the wood-chipper from the movie Fargo. From the way she bruises, she may actually be a fruit of some kind. My guess is a tangerine.
Author's Note: The other half of "Menace and Cheddar Bob", the most ineffective superhero team ever.
Hometown: Leeds, U.K.
Biography: Marc is the talent in our two man acoustic band affectionately dubbed by our "fans" (read: drink friends) as "Sex Church", after someone said "What is the most controversial name one could name a band? (I'm sure you can think of worse...don't bother telling me, the polls in the official "Vote For Marc and Tommy's Band Name Contest" ended last Tuesday). Hilarious individual, claims he is actually more British now that he no longer lives there. Also, one of the best guitarists I have ever met.
Biography: Chris is another who COULD be a standup comedian but who actually has a REAL job (assuming that we foreign teachers are not actually real people because...let's be honest...we're not). He is one of the most chill guys I have ever met, but would go to war if someone messes with his friends. You can't buy loyalty like that.
Authors Note: The first time I met Chris, he was drunk and, within 2 minutes of meeting me, pyscho-analyzed me as "a guy who tries to appear confident and cool because in reality he has no idea what the hell he is doing", which of course made me hate him because...you know...he was dead on. I'm over it now, though. "No worries".
Hometown: San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Biography: Besides Mike and the girls, Jamil is one of the first guys I met in Taiwan. An all-around good guy, is always down for pretty much anything. He is fluent in, um, like 17 languages, and knows more about being a foreigner here than any other person I've met. An invaluable resource. A better friend.
Hometown: New Orleans, LA
Authors Note: Smart guy, my favorite debate partner in matters of religion, philosophy, and determining the best way to terrify some random dude that owes him money into paying him his money.
Hometown: Canada (Is it a coincidence that "The Star Spangled Banner" and "Oh, Canada" both start with the word "oh"? I'm calling plagiarism)
Authors Note: A relatively new addition to my personal traveling entourage, but way fun to have around and always looking out. Holler.
Hometown: Somewhere in Indian, I think.
Authors Note: Yeah, Trey went to Mizzou. How crazy is it that I came ALL THE WAY AROUND THE WORLD and met a guy that went to the same University as me. M-I-Z baby.
(For those of you unmentioned, it's not because I don't love you, it's mostly because I'm tried of writing and my readers have a short attention span...doubtful any of them have made it this far anyway...you'll be in version 2.0)
So, now you know my friends and can reference them when i say something like "Mike set a Filipino bartender on fire" (actually happened) or "Marc broke up with a Taiwanese girl after three weeks only to have her threaten to fling her tiny Asian body off the roof of his apartment building" (actually happened). I guess it's true what they say..."No man is an island who has friends, unless his friends are made of water and then yes, I suppose he could be considered an island in a metaphoric sort of way, but who are these 'water people' you refer to....?" Don't ask me what it means...its a Taiwanese Proverb.