Friday, January 16, 2009

Characters: Friends

I have met many people other the years, scarcely more than i can remember; however, the guys i was closest to, and who became good friends, were Eric, Pierre and John.
John was a fellow Englishman, degreeless and with a hell raising past. He was unusual because he was at once best able to deal with the Taiwanese and always claiming he wanted to leave. While we all got paranoid at the stories of having to go and get our money from some school that decided not to pay us, he took it in his stride saying he had never relied on recourse to the law to get his pay check. He was also extremely adept at appealing to the locals need for titles, happy to call everyone 'boss' or 'older brother' to get his way. Unfortunately, he was always planning to leave because what made him enjoy Taiwan – his old-fashioned value set – also pulled him back to his home country.
Josh was an extremely pro-active and motivated Canadian. He quickly blazed a trail getting jobs most of us dreamt of but was fighting a desire to do his own thing - to set up a business rather than work for a company. He was also terrible with the women unable to adapt to the cultural nuances of dealing with them.
Eric was a Harvard educated New England private school boy suffering from incredibly high levels of needing to be authentic. He was fascinated by Chinese culture – language, medicine, art etc – but loathed dealing with the paternalism and nepotism that was the talk and protocol of everyday life. He was similar with the women: loving the idea of being able to get a lot of girls; desperately hoping to meet one who would tell him what to do.
I never knew if Pierre needed to be authentic or was just driven by a desire to stand out. Our freedom and special status got to all of us, but in Pierre’s case, a little too much. He set out from the start not to be pigeon-holed as a teacher – and it sent him on a number of ever increasingly more ridiculous adventures.

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