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Thursday, February 2, 2023

The younger brother that I never had

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Flying Dutchman
Flying Dutchman
For detailed biographical information, please check the very first article of this blog. Thanks!

Christianity´s most relevant holiday isn’t celebrated here in Taiwan, and even less so after the first pro-independence government lead by Chen Shui-bian (born in 1950) abolished the Constitution Day of the Republic of China, still Taiwan’s official name, at the beginning of this century.

Before leaving Berlin for good in 1999 to come back to Taipei, Christmas used to make me feel uncomfortable. The atmosphere at our small family gatherings seemed inhibited and artificially joyous to me.

It reminded me of Home for the Holidays, a 1995 American movie directed by actress and filmmaker Jodie Foster (born in 1962), which describes an increasingly dysfunctional Thanksgiving gathering.

That’s probably the reason why I enjoyed the day that Christ was born so much after my return to Asia: the first year, just my Taiwanese girlfriend at the time and me had simple food and a bottle of wine, without any pressure or expectations.

So, the reason why I felt kind of depressed yesterday had nothing to do with the fact that I have chosen to live in “pagan lands” with only a small percentage of Christians.

It was more a general feeling that for the rest of my earthly existence I will have to live with the consequences of a few bad decisions that I made due to excessive drinking, which further nurtured an irrational idealism.

To start the next day in better mood, I had decided to go to bed even earlier than usual. I was about to switch off the lights when my namesake called me from the city that I had left almost 24 years ago.

Our fathers, both long deceased, were from the same town in the outskirts of the German capital. After World War II they met again by sheer coincidence, only to discover that both had acquired property in Spain.

That’s why, to distinguish two boys of roughly the same age bearing the same forename, he was called “Markus pequeño” and I was “Markus grande”. We sometimes still use these rather funny denominations for each other…

As we have known each other for decades, there’s a kind of confidence that I don’t even share with my real brothers, actually older than me, with which I have had a rather rocky relationship in the past.

Anyway, he really cheered me up and at the end we chatted for about 90 minutes. As he used to have his own restaurant, he again gave me some valuable advice regarding my own food stall. I’m really blessed to have friends like him! Merry Christmas everybody!

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