Not losing my (figurative) cool

Monday. I would not run late today.

With my interview scheduled for 2 that afternoon, I wanted to be on my way by noon so there was plenty of time for something to go wrong.

And it did.

Google Maps had directed me to a neighborhood beyond the northern border of Taipei. I walked as slowly as was reasonable to avoid sweating through my interview clothes. The dot on the map had been only a few blocks from the MRT station, and a handful of tanned construction workers watched me dimly as I stared hard at the numbers on the buildings in front of me.

Why do none of these say The China Post?


One lucky cross-town bus ride, two bitchy high school girls, and four sets of directions from several helpful people later, I arrived 30 minutes late to my interview.

I was directed, soaked through with sweat and parched from hustling more blocks than I can remember, up to the fifth floor to meet Alice, a Taiwanese woman with glasses and both a petite voice and frame. Wasting no time, she handed me two articles to be rewritten on a computer a few years past its prime.

I stared at an article about a cash truck being towed and another about a couple of boys getting in trouble on the MRT for their dress. Gah! What kind of edit do they want? “You can do it in any style that you choose.” So, like, if I turned them into haikus, that would be cool?

I stuck to what I know—Nexus-deep (i.e. shallow as a puddle) edits. I moved one paragraph around, but chose to leave a semi-awkwardly written sentence as is because it ended the story with a strong word: nakedness.

All but one of the dozen or so people in the simple office were Taiwanese. I heard mostly English, however, which didn’t sound as weird as it perhaps should, because I’ve been able to talk and listen to Colin and other English speakers this whole time.

I was sent in to meet a man in a well-fitted button-down with as manly a flower print as you could find. He asked me questions over his wire-rimmed glasses about my intentions in Taiwan and as a professional editor. He asked for my birthday, and deduced I am a Pisces. Apparently that’s a big thing here.

He asked for a few days to go over my rewrites and said they would get back to me. We shook hands and I collected my portfolio and umbrella.

I left hardly caring whether I get the job or not, just proud of myself for finding the place in one piece.


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