It was my third week in Taiwan and I was just adapting to my new environment in a new land . A land of a vast difference to what I have known all of my life.

I was sitting in the cafeteria having my lunch and just observing my surroundings and the people as they went about with their lives, eating, laughing, chatting, or trying to study amidst all the hustle and bustle that took place during the lunch hour in the cafeteria.

However, this was not an ordinary day I thought to myself, for before that day I myself had not noticed the television, to which everyone was glued, although I had been there a few times before.

I guess I missed it because it had never been turned on. To make matters worst, I could not speak Chinese so I could not even ask what was going on. So I decided to focus my attention to the screen on the wall that seemingly had everyone under a spell because it had their full attention.

There to my amazement was a storm developing on the television. I chuckled to myself because I realized that the diagram representing a storm is universal .The presenter was speaking Chinese and though I did not get any of the details as to how strong it was or what direction it was heading, or how fast it was travelling, by the expression on the faces that were too focused on the television to even notice this black lady amongst them trying to figure out what was going on, I knew it was coming our way and that I must prepare myself.

I finished my lunch and headed for the convenience store that was ideally located in my department’s building to stock up on some dry goods that would last me a few days if things got really serious, as I would have done if I were at home.

Where I am from in the Caribbean we are used to storms but they are called hurricanes. The major difference is that they are formed in the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific Ocean while typhoons are formed in the Western Pacific Ocean and generally have stronger winds, yet, typhoons endanger far less land area because of location. So needless to say I was not scared but somewhat excited.

This may sound strange but in the Caribbean, although we know of the dangers that a storm poses, it brings a level of excitement that cannot be explained. Maybe it’s the holiday from work or school when there is a storm. So I had shopped, had my goods in hand and was now looking forward to my “day-off”, my first typhoon

The day started out as any normal day, but soon got very windy and the rain was continuously falling. I could hear the howling of the wind on the eleventh floor where I live and the rain was beating against the windows. At times the howling was so loud that it sounded like a Steven Spielberg production. I stayed indoors as I was somewhat skeptical about venturing outside as I had no idea how strong the winds were.

My roommate, who is from St. Lucia and I were itching with curiosity as to what was transpiring outside, for if we were back home we would have already gone out to view the damage.

By mid-afternoon, when we could sleep no more, we set out for the streets as we had been cooped up in the room all day and relaxing all day felt so strange because we had not done that since arriving in Taiwan, as there is always something to do. We were surprised to find so many people on the streets. Some were walking around being curious like us, while others were on bicycles riding around, umbrella in hand ,fighting with the wind. One very slender lady, hurrying along was blown down by the wind that was ever so strong. In that instant we felt like we were back in the Caribbean. For in our minds ,only Caribbean people enjoyed going out in a storm.

We were soaked from the rain but were happy nonetheless and burst out in thunderous laughter after seeing all the curious people on the streets storm watching just like us.

We soon realized that even though we were from opposite ends of the globe, and were so different in culture, race, and even our everyday life ,when it was all said and done we were still so similar in our human nature.

Just as the hurricane was different from the typhoon in it’s formation and where it struck, yet they were both storms and alike in so many ways.

This is what stood out most to me ,that we were so different, yet we were the same.