During the historic (and bizarre) U.S.-North Korean summit was an interesting time to be the only American on a media delegation to Taiwan–especially considering I had no idea why I was there.
I’m still trying to figure out how a freelance journalist from Colorado who primarily writes about skiing and travel in my home state, ended up in Asia with my “serious journalist” hat on during the continent’s most anticipated political summit in decades.
I sure as hell didn’t fly in with Trump on his plane. The fact that I can’t bring myself to say Air Force One in connection with Donald Trump tells you that I still can’t believe the crooked businessman turned TV-ratings-hungry huckster is somehow our … p-p-p can’t do it.
I’m so far removed from the political science minor I paired with my journalism major at the University of Colorado, that it wasn’t even on my radar that Trump and Kim Jong-un would being having their historic luncheon-length summit while I was spending a week in Taiwan complements of the “Ministry of Foreign Affairs’s Digital Media Group on Taiwan’s Political and Economic Development.” Long title right? I thought so when I read the program for my trip for the first time on my flight from Denver to LA.
My June 10 flight was the first chance I’d had to really think about the trip after the end-of-school-year busyness that comes from being the mother of 11 and 13-year-old daughters. Shirley from Taiwan’s Denver office (they have 20 around the States) had sent me the itinerary a month before my departure, but I had only glanced at it (and considering 95 percent of it was in Chinese, it was a pretty useless glance at that).
Shirley and I met for lunch a week before my departure at P.F. Changs in a northern Colorado shopping center near my house. It was her choice, and the fact that her last name is also Chang wasn’t lost on me. As we settled into a booth she confided in me that she, “Loves American Chinese food,” signaling to me that there is actually another kind.
Apparently the “pointed questions” in my journalistic quiver have dulled from misuse, because we were considering desert and I still didn’t know why this lovely, soft-spoken woman and the government she represents were sending me around the world.
Finally I told her that I couldn’t guarantee my usual outlets, The Denver Post, Colorado Life magazine etc. would publish an article on Taiwan–and in fact I doubted they would. Then I finally asked the big question, “Shirley, why is Taiwan interested in me?”
Without a blink she responded, “Taiwan needs friends.”
To Be Continued