I’ve been taking a walk down Face Book lane for the past couple of days. A habit I’ve developed over the last couple of years when I’m bored. To be more accurate, when I’m back from a night on the town and feeling a little melancholy. I scroll through pictures and check up on old friends. You know how it is.

August first was the anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Every August first at five p.m. Poland observes a minute of silence to remind us of when Poland fought back. Fought back, and lost, horrifically. It’s a time for remembering, respecting, and honoring our dead. I was trying to recall why I hadn’t remembered it last year. The moment of silence.

I scrolled back through my FB timeline to see what I had posted.

Nothing. I posted absolutely nothing. Instead, I posted something about losing my voice and being sick.

Shallow, right?

I clearly remember the articles and videos last year. Knowing me as well as I do, I’m pretty sure I decided that I wasn’t going to post anything just because everyone else was.

The upside, and the most bittersweet part of it all, was scrolling through a year’s worth of posts.

Why is it that we can always recognize how happy we were only in retrospect? I saw photos from my vacation last year in Helsinki and Tallinn with Linds, my announcement that I’m moving to Taiwan, my going away party, and my first post from Asia. It was all there.

I remembered.

I remembered like it was yesterday, my thoughts, my feelings, the sounds, scents, and scenes. The fear I felt in going. How I wasn’t sure I wanted to go but I didn’t get the job that I was applying for so I knew I had to. I gave myself pep talks. All the ‘But its good money,’ and ‘Did you ever think you’d have a chance to live in Asia? Visit sure, but live?’ and ‘ One more country off my list’. I remember all of it.

It turned things around for me. By the time I left I was excited to go. Packing was a bitch.  Trying to pack everything I could into a suitcase, carrying my whole life in a bag.

For the second time in a year I would be heading off into the unknown. What a rush.

The last couple of weeks flew by. I remember trying to squeeze in as much sister time as I could. I listened, again, to the video my sister left on my wall…the Faithless Don’t Leave video.

Yeah, sis. I’m listening to that now.

I remember the cultural festival Karolina and I stumbled upon in Old Town. Last minute drinks and lunch with Olga rehashing my going away party, getting filled in on the juicy details that I missed. Finally, my last night with Magda at Plan B, bullshitting about how Polish men suck, and why we need to be better friends and how can we connect better with other people and on and on.

I remember waking up, late. A little buzzed. I remember hearing my roommate get up. Slam into the bathroom and then his lumbering steps as he left for work. I clearly remember snapping off the WIFI button on the edge of my laptop with my heel. It was the beginning of the end of that crappy thing. I remember the ugly realization that I had no way to leave the keys inside the apartment for the roomies as I had promised. Oh shit! Then I remember thinking, ‘Screw those guys. I’m going to Asia.’

I remember my sister pulling up, seven stories below, and my nephew in the car. The drive to the airport where I told her I’d left the door unlocked and the look of horror she gave me. “That’s bad, Mish. You can’t do that here in PL. All of their shit is going to get stolen.” Feeling guilty. Calling my roommate to let him know the door’s unlocked. And oh yeah. Sorry ’bout that. Really.

At the airport. My heart racing, my stomach quivering. My luggage. overweighted. By a ton. Rushing back out to the car, trying to figure out what I could leave behind. The clothes I tossed back into the car, the movies, gifts, and then rushing back in. Talking to the unfriendly staff. Luggage still over the limit. Paying $250 dollars to lug 6 kilograms worth of weight. What a damned rip off! The airlines are making a mint off of people like me, no question.

Then the flight. Step one: Frankfurt. Six hours meandering around the airport then sitting around, drinking beer, and reading the latest Marion Keys book. I stepped outside, inhaled some German air, and headed back in. Sat down and watched the people around me and made up stories about their lives. Not better than mine I hoped.

Step two: Shanghai. I had every intention of using my 22-hour layover to explore the city. Where I ended up checking into the first airport hotel I could find and admitted to myself what I had not wanted to that I had neither the courage nor the strength to explore any damn thing.

I walked through the smothering heat back into the airport and had, quite possibly, the most disgusting thing I’d ever eaten in my life. I still don’t know what it was. It was some type of black potato-like thing with a starchy texture, and chicken feet.

Through it all, overwhelming fatigue and adrenaline, in my veins, my heart, my mind. My heart was going a mile a minute, my mind was racing, and it was all I could do to keep up.

It was exhilarating. I felt like I could do anything. Be anyone. I couldn’t get enough.

That feeling has been with me for a long time. It was with me in Poland too. Anything could happen. Anything DID happen. Anything and everything, and although shit happens on a regular basis it made life absolutely fabulous. No better experience, no better trip. No better life.

I’ve been living in Taiwan for nearly a year. I’ve had so many firsts. First time in Asia. First time meeting new people and going to expat events on my own. First time watching a plump rat squeezing its chub-assed way down a drain into the sewer. I’ve seen that too many times at this point. First time seeing horrifically massive black spiders. First time for Stinky Tofu and Taro ice cream, vinegar noodles and duck eggs. First time being the advisor to my friends. Learning to crawl, learning to walk, and learning to live. My life in Taiwan has been nothing but a series of firsts.

Taking a walk down FB lane. There are so many memories, so much laughter, funny comments, and enraging ones. The crappy times, nonsensical posts, and drunken Facebooking, too. It’s all there in my electronic brain, waiting for me to visit it.

I’m grateful for it. Are you?

How often do you scroll through your timeline?

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