My U.S. Journal: Going ‘Home’ – Last Time I visited The USA…

…Bush Jr. was president. I had a Nokia Cell phone (smart phones weren’t invented yet), Facebook wasn’t a ‘thing’ and my eleven year old son was eleven months old.

It was August 2006 when I went back to the States to go to my brother’s wedding and show off our brand new son to the family. It was great to be back.  Though I didn’t get to see as many people as I had hoped, it was still awesome to see family including all my new cousins born from my old cousins, new nephews & nieces and a slew of family members I had not met yet. It was very cool seeing old friends again and re-connecting.

When we were preparing to go back to Taiwan, we promised friends and family that we’d be back as soon as possible though I had a gut feeling that I would not see them for a while. I did not realize it would be over a decade, however.

As things go, going back to the States for another visit, though alluring, proved a lot more difficult than I imagined.  When I had the money, I didn’t have the time… when I finally got some time, finances was a factor.. there was also the political climate, the new regulations at airports where they all but cavity search you – which doesn’t necessarily prevent terrorism, but does give some perverted agent a Power Over You hard on.

So we lived our exciting lives here on our Island Paradise.  Our son was growing up and doing his thing (art, music and inventing stuff), I immersed myself in the Taiwan music and art culture scene, we took care of our animals, ran a bar and live music venue. I played in bands, went to music festivals, helped build and strengthen a community of artists and musicians. It was a whirlwind of hard work and good times.

Two years went by, then five and the next thing I know 2017 slapped me in the face and woke me up.

I saw pictures of the family children now attending university. The new cousins born from old cousins were now getting old –  grown up, getting married and having kids of their own. Family members and family friends began to die, including a couple of loved uncles, my aunt, a beloved cousin and alas the Family Matriarch my Mother’s mother Grandma Ellie.  When would it end?  I realized it wouldn’t.

My son would see a picture of someone in my family, my mother, father, an aunt or cousin, and ask, who is that?  I knew that I had to get back for a visit.

Though my home is here in Taiwan, and I’ll most likely live out the rest of my days here, I still owed it to my son to meet and know the other half of his family.  I also owe it to my family – and myself – to go back and be with them.  I could not bear to be away from my son for a few days never mind a decade. It took me being a father to understand how my absence must have made my parents feel… especially my mother. My family – through all the ups and downs (and for some – all the religious and political differences) – are still part of who I am.

I remember the cookouts, the holiday dinners, the late night games, the laughs. As we got older and began our own life, I remember visiting at holidays for the reminiscing, the confessing of the naughty things we did as teenagers – to my mother, aunts and uncles’ amused chagrin.

I remember the jams in my friend’s basement as a teenager, the drinking sessions near a lake in Hanover, getting stoned in a quiet area of Norwell High School, the drives on roller coaster road in Hingham.

I relive the times after I got out of the army, got a job in law enforcement and enrolled in University. The Cheese & Wine Gatherings in Dorchester for example with my Uni friends meeting my Colleagues in Law Enforcement, my biker friends meeting some of my friends from church (that I had long not been a part of) at my place on Friday nights… boy those were some interesting conversations.

Now, as I sit here writing in my studio in Taiwan, pondering this Journey across the World I’m giddy as a child at a birthday party. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and acquaintances from high school, meet my nephews and cousins, meet my friends’ families and see my Mum who still has no idea we’re coming back.

I’m looking forward to capturing at least a little part of my Life Before Taiwan when we go back again this time… bring this History to the forefront.

 One final note:

We are leaving in February and I’m trying to explain to my son how #$%^&* cold it is in Massachusetts.

I know my Bostonian Buddies, My Masshole Mates, My Brothers from other Mothers and Sisters from other Misters are going to hate me for this one BUT while we’re there….

….I hope it snows!


This is Part One of Boston Paul’s Going Home Blogumentary.


Paul at 17 years old Hanover Mass

Seventeen Years Old Going on 40

Thank you for reading!


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You might also enjoy this essay about FRIENDS:


Published in: on January 27, 2017 at 1:43 PM  Comments (2)  
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Hippy New Year – Thoughts PinBalling Inside My Skull

Hippy New Year – Thoughts Pin-Balling Inside My Skull


As 2016 comes to a grinding halt and we set our eyes on 2017, there are many thoughts pin-balling inside my skull.

Thought I’d try to make sense of those thoughts here.
I’m getting older.  I still feel like I’m in my 30s, act like I’m in my 20s but am starting to think like I’m in my 80s.  It’s that latter thought that reminds me I’m getting older.

What will I regret or be proud of when I’m in my 80s sitting in a rocking chair (or a tatami mat or bean bag chair) and pondering (lamenting) on all the things that filled my life?

Things I didn’t do but wanted to; things I’ve done and didn’t want to do; and of course the things I’ve pursued and accomplished.

How will I feel about the life I’ve lived from day to day?  From the Exciting to the Mundane, the Happiness to the Insane, the love filled days – to days of bitter sadness that seemed impossible to shake (fortunately those have been few and far between)?

That Day to Day life that has not only shaped who I am today but will – I presume –  have made me the person I will be in my 80s (and 90s! And if all goes well when I’m a Centurion… er… Centenarian!) sitting on a tatami mat (or beanbag chair!) sipping green tea, or a fine red wine or the juice of some fruit I’ve just blended.

When I’m in my 80s or 90s, I’m sure that I will appreciate how the Past me took care of the Future me.

And if you think about it, both the Past me and the Future me are living in the Now.

But we don’t walk our Journey Paths alone. So…


On this last day of the year, I think about the friends and family who have passed into the great Unknown.

I think about all the musicians who died this past year. Musicians whose music helped raise me in areas of my life where my mother and father couldn’t.

I watch my son, getting older, trying new things, loving animals (as he takes care of two roosters, two hens, two turtles, a fish, a cat, a dog, and cockroach from Madagascar), pursuing art, practicing judo and taking on life armed with curiosity and gusto.

I think fondly of my wife who has been there through it all. My ups and downs. Our ups and downs. The topsy-turvy curve balls life has thrown at us. I can’t believe we have been together almost two decades.


I regularly meet with special friends a few times a week to make music, drink wine, laugh, talk about love and life, stare at a fire.  I don’t know where I would be – or who I would be – without them.

All these special people I’ve mentioned above are my Family.

I miss my friends and family back in the ‘old’ country – a place I left in my 20s to see the world.

I think about them often and always wonder – in an alternate universe – What If?

What if I never left my country of birth? What would I be doing now? What would they be doing now?

Pebbles. Lakes. Ripples.

With about half my life under my belt and – The Universe willing – another half to go, I seek to continue to try to make myself a better person, to help make the world a better place – anyway I can – by being nice to people, giving what I can, sharing my art and ideas, helping others with their art and helping them make their ideas a reality.

Pebbles. Lakes. Ripples.

As I think about the past year and look forward to this next one and as the pinball stops ricocheting in my brain, this clichéd mantra comes to mind – and for some reason it is really hitting home right now as I sit and write:

We’re all in this together.

In other words, we only have us, so let’s treat each other well.

May 2017 bring you Happiness, Peace, Love & Adventure!




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You might also enjoy this essay about FRIENDS:


Published in: on December 31, 2016 at 2:55 PM  Comments (5)  
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