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Showing posts from November, 2008
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First Place for Stillness
The starter's gun went off, and there we were, battling to see who could stand still in the deepest way.  My competitors could not resist moving, so there I was.  I took the gold for being motionless.  I would not have won this race for standing still, for being in the moment there on the track in Beijing's Olympic Bird's Nest, had it not been for the Fulbright.  Unlike some other awards, it's the one that keeps giving.

It was 2002.  I had been named a Fulbright scholar at National Taiwan University.  A bit confused about the layout of the city, I did what a man raised in cities will do.  I sat on the curb there in Taipei just outside my apartment building and studied the neighborhhood, listened to the sounds of the cows across the street in the university's agricultural school, watched the taxi drivers drinking and hanging out, smelled the new smells, all in a place on the other side of the world from home.

My Chinese was minimal at the time…