Saturday, August 8, 2015

Debriefing

In the past month, there has been this religious group of college age boys and girls volunteering around the Guadalupe House. They stay in one of the houses with a Jesuit Priest - Fred. They ended their activities last week and they told me they began "debriefing". Debriefing? What in the world is that? I was told they gather with other groups, talk and prepare to re-introduce themselves back to the world. Detach - And they do for a week!
A week? Really?
 I was perplexed. When I saw them, I would ask how the "debriefing" was going. Curious and basically perplexed.  Sheesh...you need a week for that?

This morning, this group arranged going away a breakfast at the Guadalupe House and invited me to join. They left today and it was their way saying goodbye and thank you. They sang a song, gave speeches on how wonderful who this and that is and gave out hugs.

They left
And then I understood. I then knew.... what this debriefing was.



These were no ordinary college kids. They paid their own way. They came from all over the country. Broke off into groups of half dozen or so and went off to do "good deeds" around the Tacoma area. This group ended up at the Guadalupe House.
I first encountered this young group of kids at the Tuesday evening meal the Guadalupe house cooks for the homeless. I saw them and didn't say a word. Most likely, just another group of young people I see. They, do a little this and that and basically sight seeing and taking tour. But nope.

I saw them again the next Tuesday at the homeless meal.
And the next.
Encountered them on a non-Tuesday when somehow I manage to get into the Guadalupe House for a evening meal.
Ok, these kids don't seem to be running off. Very odd. Very weird.

In the sweltering sun, on one of the hottest weeks of the year, these young kids shoveled dirt and built 30x25 feet brick patio. For 4 days, they sweated without complaint. Disappointed when they were not able to accomplish the project due to lack of time.

They were so friendly. Eager say hello and speak to us (the homeless). And I got to sneak a few more extra times into the Guadalupe House for their evening meals.
  Their Chinese/Vietnamese leader - trying to be a good person of the world
  A freckled Alaskan girl - Beautiful being - in and out
  The 2 boys/Men - The warm greetings and relentless attitude to finish a grueling physical task.
  A one legged Asian girl - The singing and hello's. (The thing about people that enthusistically say hello and ask you to come over...it makes people feel like their presence is needed. Its a good feeling. The basic weak hello's don't do the trick)
  A blonde nursing student - The quiet one of the bunch. But just as powerful with her subtle approach to "Good Deeding"
 

So when they left this morning.........it hit me hard. It is back to the Van. It is back to the samo grind each day. Avoiding people. Sometimes acting angry to keep the crazies off. - A realization you don't know when the next time you can have a genuine connection with someone. Someone who accepts you are homeless and its ok.

       So I wonder if their "debriefing" is the reverse of mine.

       For a couple weeks, I had friends. Last week I went to a meetup with a bunch of web coders. http://www.meetup.com/seaphp/events/223918305/   And again the same insulting treatment. A life time on the street has heightened my sense of perception. The way they talk, the way they look at you. I look homeless and they gave the best effort not to show  they knew I was homeless but I saw it in their eyes. 2 people there were involved with companies in the Tacoma area specializing in web development. Their whole business is helping build website with PHP. Both showed no interest in; knowing about my project, looking at it and of course helping. I politely sat there quiet for 45 minutes and excused myself and left.
    Anger, sadness, a sense you are sub-human - all rolled into one.
 But this time it was different, for this time, I had a friend(s). I walked straight to the College kids house behind the Guadalupe House. Caught their leader and a couple of them outside. Got it all off my chest and felt good.

                  Its amazing how a friendly face makes the world better.

But that is not reality. That is Not my reality.

My reality is a cellphone that never rings.
My reality is spending all day stealing electricity for my phone
                   - Lining up at the mission or Church for food
                    -There is no one to trust but myself.
                   - Surrounded by criminals and drug addicts, I swim their world with an angry appearance.
My reality is no real friends and loneliness.

With these college kids...I now understand "debriefing". It was nice having a friend. But now, it is to detach. I suppose the feeling is similar to watching a family member fly away after they visit you.

One of the homeless, A black man, had gotten to know the tall blonde college girl. I saw him walking by Mcdonalds yesterday. It is back to straying the streets. He at this moment is wandering. Walking. Around. Alleys, sidewalks.


    NOw, there are tons of people that talk to the homeless. There are groups of high school kids that come through. I meet church groups that feed me almost on a daily basis......So what makes this group different?
       The difference is they have decided to engage us with Love......not Pity.

There is a difference. A big one.
           A really big one. For I can get plenty of pity. It is plentiful. And I don't want it.

So......I don't know what the kids debriefing is. I suppose it is the opposite. It is the realization the world is not filled with crazy homeless, drug addicts and the mentally ill. The real world is actually a good place. A world where caring for family, and working is the norm of importance. And that should be the real world. I would like that world.

I don't know what they did for "Debriefing" but now I understand why.




BTW - I purposely did not want to proof read. What grammatical mistakes is there, so be it.
BTW #2. They left this morning. I just now walke into the library. There is a function for whatever crazy reason...they held it next to the bathroom. hahahaha

On the other side of the bathroom is some snacks.

But it is now reality. If I were to go up there and grab a snack, there would be 2 possible reactions.
Oh its some homeless guy. Lets just grumpily silently let him take a little.
or its...Hey, sorry these are only for guests. Please go away. (at a public event in a library)

With the college kids, I could take food from them without feeling of shame or a feeling of burden. Like you do to friends.
But it reality. And reality is -  I am different and should be treated as such.



Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Money can buy a Soul

If a store sold "Friends" we would all gladly pay for one. 

The worst and biggest lie is - Money can't buy happiness

Oh yes it can.

If I had money, I would not be lonely. People will allow them into your circle. I would not freeze at night. I would have prestige in some circles. It buys happiness.


A long close friend of mine is rich.  He flies from country to country. His wealth is not important. The bottom line - he is not poor. In desperation, I told him I am living in a van. I told him, my bank account was in the negative. But what I would like, is money for my for my website. He then began the 1 hour conversation. mostly on my website idea. He did not offer to give me money. I did not ask directly. But living in a Van...no money left in bank account? He left me with the word "Call me and ask me for money if you need it and I will see what I can do"
Days passed, he never called me to ask how I am.
Days passed, I never called him.


Weeks later, I met the Taiwanese Church representative. After meeting him, I went to beg money from another friend. She is a student in her early 20's. We have only known each other when we used to volunteer together at a Medical Center. I bluntly told her, I need to borrow money. She immediately said "Yea, no problem". There was no questions of why or how come. She makes minimum wage. After she pays her bills, at the end of the month she will give me what she has left.


Friends are hard to come buy in life. If the Walmart sold "Best Friends" for life....how much are you willing to pay? How much is a "Friend" worth? hundreds? Thousands? Millions?

The bottom line is....if you can buy a friend...you would pay for one. They are precious.

A church could have bought my soul. (Les Miserables)


By loaning me money, my minimum wage friend has now bought my friendship for life. 

Money can buy happiness, friendships and souls.

What I learned in 2014 - Broken man

I continue to see evidence the Church is not for me. And yet, again and again, God makes his presence known to me.

Ok, a delusional statement is about to come - My life has been following the path of 2 movies.


Have I not suffered enough? Have I not suffered the most painful sentence handed to a man - loneliness? When does it end?

.....No, in 2014 I realized God's wisdom. No, I have not suffered enough. For I all my life, I had never begged. No matter what dire environment I have been in, I never begged. I had pride. It was not until this year.
I had to beg. Begging, it breaks a man down. For with begging, is fear. I have faced the most evil men on earth, the most physical environments.  I have no fear. It was not until now, I knew fear. Pride gone. I had to beg.

Once you beg, you are faced to face with death. You are nothing. Your very existence is now in the hands of others. Do they wish to save you? You are humbled.


I am on the path of the movies Good Will Hunting and Les Miserables. Good Will Hunting is already played out in my life.
Now I'm on the path of Les Miserables. In order for his soul to be saved, Valjean had to be broken to his knees. I know see the ways of my failures. I failed myself. And God keeps on trying to save me.

What I learned in 2014 - Being Taiwanese is nothing special

Homeless or not, I have been a proud Taiwanese man. There was no one prouder. Now, I wish I can take down the word "Taiwanese" in the title of my blog.


- The people who kicked a 12 year old Asian boy out into the street in America....Taiwanese

- I am now 46, were there any incidents in my life where Taiwanese was beneficial? No

- I sent hundreds and hundreds of messages to people that were Taiwanese on facebook. Allot of them had my same last name. Made them aware there is a homeless Taiwanese out there. How many messaged back with any kind of message?.... Zero

- I hand delivered a letter to a Taiwanese Doctor. Dr. Laurence Tsai at St. Josephs Hospital. I park literally a block from his office. Told him to even talk to the Catholic workers and interview me or them. Did he respond? In this freezing weather did he even come take a look? NO

- I wrote to the Formosan church in Seattle. Finally my veil is unmasked. They sent a very nice and supportive man to interview. But allow the congregation know there is a homeless Taiwanese man? They are not going to do it. I guess if you are not financially well off, you don't get to belong to the Taiwanese social circle.
 

All, these years. Thinking being Taiwanese was special. Of all the Asian countries, I am grateful I was born Taiwanese. But the life long thinking it was something special? - A delusion.


I will miss Tacoma

I have a Temp job in Seattle to goto. I will miss Tacoma.


I will miss walking in the dark alleys.



Last night, I stood behind my van having a cigarette. A police car slowed, turned pulled behind and a policewoman steps out.

            "Where do you live"
me - Around

             "Are you homeless?"
me- Sort of
               " Got report of suspicious person around the Nativity House"
me -   The Nativity House is way down there on 25th
              "No the Nativity House is right here on the 14th"
me -   I eat at there all the time, its down on 25th
              "No its not. Its on the 14th. You have any ID on you?
me - No I do not (My wallet was in the van)
    She calls for backup. Now 3 police cars surround my van.
              "What is your name?
I gave her my name. She goes into her car to check my name and Van tags.

Meanwhile the other 2 police continue to question me. I told them "I'm not the suspicious man she is looking for."
My name and van tabs check out ok. They all leave.




I will miss shaking my head at the guy with slick back hair. Carrys a suitcase. Has a earpiece, wears a nice suit and tries to act like he is a stockbroker.


I will miss handing an extra pair of gloves to a total stranger yesterday. Its freezing and a woman walking around with no gloves. A newbie


3 night ago, again having a cig outside my van at 2 am. Out of no where a wall brown haired woman came out of no where. I mean just showed up like out of the shadows. She mumbling. Do you live in the van. Mumbling more stuff. She walks off. 1 minutes later comes back. asks for a Cig. I give her a one. She keeps mumbling but I never said a word. When approached by schizophrenics, give the stare and don't talk back. I did hear the words "Just whoring". She leaves.
I guess I will miss Mentally ill whores.


I will miss verbally bitch slapping 2 guys who tried to take my bag of potato chips.


Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Interview

They sent a man. A nice man. A man with good intentions.
I need shelter. Shelter while I take on a temporary job. I need someone to take me in temporarily.

I told him every detail of my life. Good and bad. And definitive evidence I'm no ordinary homeless man and evidence I am honest.

I apologized to him. For at that very moment, it was unfair to him. I was seeking shelter.
 Just because I am homeless, does not make it justified to expect help from a Church. It is also unwise to take a total stranger into a home. I would not recommend.
    He is in a peculiar situation. The church by its creed does not want to turn its back upon a needy. Yet it must protect its congregation from harm.
     I am Taiwanese and I presented it myself. Basically, he is pushed into a corner. It is a dilemma. He can't ignore me. Yet, a homeless man's plight is not what the modern church does. They want to just consult people with depression, marital issues and give a sermon or 2. An issue not welcomed. So I apologized for they are pushed into a corner.

      He said, my matter and situation would not be brought to the attention of the members of the church. It would only be talked about in a small circle of the heirachy. 



Funny, a homeless man and a church representative. And yet, sitting there, it was I who was pitying him. Maybe he pitied me. Why? I'm not sure.

I pitied him for it was unfair of a church to send him, knowing full well nothing will be done.
I pitied him .For....think about it....A few days before Christmas, and you knew someone needs help and yet you can't help. As a religious person, how does your mind wrestle with it.

Even now, after days of trying to understand it, I can't find the answer....Why would a church be afraid to tell their congregation there is a homeless Taiwanese person out there? Are we all not God's creatures? Treat all men like brothers? Usually, I"m very good at looking at things in all angles and understand all points of views. This one....has lost me.

He tried to offer me some money. I refused. I need shelter.

I walked out with a clear conscious. I'm not sure about him. It was so unfair to him.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas card from my Son

I told my 11 year old son weeks ago there would be no Christmas gifts this year for him. He told me he understands and he is ok with it. He knew I have been living in my van. He knew I went 2 weeks with $10 in my pocket and cannot afford gifts.

Yesterday, I got a Christmas card from him. Inside the card, was a $100 bill. I broke out in tears.


A 11 year old sending his father money.

I have to pack up and leave the library now. I am breaking out in tears writing about it.