It's 1999. I'm 25 years old. I have no idea where I am or what I'm supposed to be doing. Aside from myself there are nine other people in the room, all sitting in uncomfortably small chairs. Seven of these people are from countries other than Taiwan. Two of these people are Taiwanese. One of the Taiwanese people is the director of our school.
G: I really can't believe this. In South Africa teachers would never be asked to--
M: We all have to work that Saturday. And we're not in South Africa.
E: Anybody have one of those coffee packets?
An: I heard _____'s not here because she's having a baby.
P: If we could just start the meeting--
E: She took the month off.
Ad: Yeah I've got one. Let me go back to my class and get it.
G: But I've told the school again and again that I cannot work Saturdays. I have other things to do...
E: Thanks man.
P: OK everyone, let's start when he comes back.
M: It's already 2:20. I need to be back in class.
Ad: There you go.
It's 2004. I'm 29 years old. I know where I am and what I'm supposed to be doing... it's just a question of whether or not they'll let me do it. Aside from myself there are five other people in the room, all sitting in comfortable office chairs in front of a TV. All of these people come from countries other than Taiwan.
Z: So should I request leave before the 4-day holiday? Or can I just tell you guys that I won't be here?
B: Don't worry about it, man. No one's working that day.
Ad: Can we talk about the Christmas show? It's coming soon and we should really practice together.
Ad: Lunch? Just after lunch? Before their nap?
D: When I was at the Experimental School they had a BIG Christmas show.
N: Are we having the show in the school?
Z: By the way, my grandpa died. I'm gonna have to take time off to go back for the funeral.
It's 2006. I'm 31 years old. I know where I am and what I'm supposed to be doing. The trouble is that they don't know who I am, and they don't know what I'm supposed to be doing. Aside from myself there are about 30 people in the room. All of these other people are Taiwanese.
K: Should we collect the money for her red envelope?
J: Principal, I was wondering if we'll be joining the curriculum competition.
W: Yes, we will. What can teacher _____ do?
J: He's already started translating the slides in the PowerPoint. He says he'll be finished this Friday.
Ad: Yes, I will.
W: Will he be presenting with us?
Ad: Yes, I will.
J: Yes, he will.
W: This is very good. I have to go to Taipei next Monday, but I'll practice my part and be ready before we go to Kaohsiung. Any other questions?
R: I have a question--
L: How much should each of us put in the envelope?
K: I don't know.
W: Good. Well, I have to go to Xinsheng for a meeting. See you tomorrow.
It's 2009. I'm 34 years old. I know where I am but sometimes I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be doing. Aside from myself there are four other people in the room. Three of these people are from countries other than Taiwan. One of these people is Taiwanese.
R: I'm going to get married.
A: Really? That's great!
S: When is the wedding?
R: During the Chinese New Year holiday.
Ad: Does this mean you're going to settle down in Taiwan?
R: Naw, we're going back to Texas.
A: You're from Texas? I always thought you were from Seattle.
R: No, it's _____ that's from Seattle. Weren't you guys talking about this last meeting?
A: Oh yeah...
It's 2020. I'm 45 years old. I know where I am but I'm not sure if this is what I should be doing. Aside from myself there are many other people filling the large meeting room, some foreign and some Taiwanese. No one has a clear idea who the other people in the room are, or why we've all been summoned there.
S: Hey I remember you.
Ad: You do?
S: Yeah, you were in Taipei giving the speech.
Ad: I hope I made sense. I was seriously jetlagged.
S: Yeah, you were fine man.
Ad: So... why are we here?
L: Yeah, why?
O: They're talking about the science lesson.
R: The last director had a baby last month.
L: What's the science lesson?
S: It's this thing where we go to another school on Thursday and teach science.
R: I think it was a boy.
Ad: Oh. Do we all have to do this science lesson?
L: Yeah we do. Who's this guy talking?
It's some distant, future time. I might be someone else and I might be doing something completely different. I might be sitting somewhere. Aside from myself there might be other people. Some of these people might be from countries other than Taiwan. Some of these people might be Taiwanese.