For those who don't watch anime, isekai is a genre that refers to being transported to a completely new and unfamiliar world. To give more context, I was born in California and grew up there until I was 8. Life was great, I had lots of friends, I loved going to school, and I was surrounded by a bunch of people I loved. Until my parents delivered the news that my dad got laid off… and that we had to move to Taiwan. I was about to be shipped to a tiny island 6,700 miles away where I barely spoke the language from my comfy home in California. Little did I know, this was the reason I had a chance to become a magician.
The journey started with my whole world being turned upside down. I was petrified by the thought of leaving my friends, terrified of the fact that I barely spoke Mandarin, and confused about how to start my life over from scratch. I absolutely despised my parents when they told me that we were moving. As if I wasn’t mad enough at my parents, my dad sat me and my brother down at the table and said, “When you two grow older you will be thanking me for the move.” THANKING THEM? For plucking my nice and comfy life in California to isekai me to Taiwan?
Now Dad, why would I be thanking you for making me live this plotline that you only see in anime? I just knew my life was going to be different, and all I saw was all of the destruction that was going to befall me. 8 year old me couldn’t comprehend what he meant. I was bewildered by how my dad impudently said how I could just start my life all over again, but I finally understood what he meant after all. My dad has always preached to my brother and me how we are fortunate enough to grow up in two different cultures and to find the best in both worlds. I was able to understand what he meant as the years passed. Funnily enough, 9 years later I told my dad that he was indeed right. He prophesied the future and I thanked him for the move to Taiwan.
Now going back to the move, I remember the moment the plane landed as my family was getting shuttled off of the plane. The moment I took a step outside of the plane I rammed into a wall of humidity. How is it even physically possible to have a humidity wall? My skin felt sticky and disgusting. I wanted to sweat but I couldn’t. It was discomforting. California felt so much better, take me back home. Walking into the airport, I see all these Chinese words I cannot comprehend how it’s possible to read them. I couldn’t understand how there were so many lines and squiggles fitted into one word. I didn’t think it was possible to be able to read these words. I also couldn’t understand how a sign can have both English and Chinese fitted into one tiny board. After leaving the airport, we get settled into our sad, tiny apartment, miles different from the house I grew up in California. Yay. This is my new life.
As time passed, I slowly got accustomed to my life in Taiwan. I started making new friends in my new school, thankfully my classmates were also all American like me, so I didn’t feel as alone as I thought it would be. But with an interesting turn of events, there was a time during the late 2000s when magic suddenly became popular. Magic was ACTUALLY cool. There was a variety TV show that had a segment for a magic competition where magicians would compete based on weekly themes to see who is the best magician. There was a magician named Lu Chen, and every night before the segment ended, Lu Chen would perform a new mind-blowing magic that I could never explain. He would stare into the camera and say “It’s time to witness a miracle” (Trust me it sounds better in Chinese.) I was enamored, and fascinated by magic. I wanted to be like Lu Chen. As a few years passed, the magic craze was brought to my school.
A magic club was opened at my school as I was going into middle school. It felt like fate because the magic club was new and middle school was the first time students could choose to be in clubs. I begged my parents to allow me to be in the magic club, and they eventually agreed. That was where I got to imbibe the inner Harry Potter in me. Youtube was also on the rise during that time so there were magic tutorials that were actually helpful to beginner magicians who were serious about learning magic. My magic teachers complimented me on how I learn extremely fast and that I have great showmanship. For the first time, I was actually good at something. That was when I started to really accelerate my growth in magic.
After a year passed, I was introduced to a popular magic forum where I met the Taiwanese magic community. That was when I got in touch with my magical side. Magic was where I found my identity. I was able to find like-minded nerds, like me, who enjoy the same niche hobby as I do. I never felt the same as my classmates since people disliked me. Magic was where I was able to be able to truly express myself since people in the magic community actually enjoyed the things I was putting out. Every time I posted something new, I would get all sorts of comments from people, making me feel included unlike in school. When there were magic events that happened near me, my magic friends would invite me to go with them to the events while my dad chaperoned me. I found somewhere to belong when the whole world didn’t want to give me any attention.
Magic has always remained a huge part of my life because it saved me at a time when I felt so alone. It was a sense of purpose I wanted to fulfill, pursue, and dream. 15 years later, I did exactly that. I have become a professional magician, fulfilling my childhood dreams. Never would I have thought this move to Taiwan would lead me to my current career that I have. If I didn’t get isekaied to Taiwan, I probably would’ve continued onto my regular path of fulfilling my Asian prophecy. I am forever indebted to my parents for bringing me to Taiwan to give me the chance to pursue magic and dream big. Now, when was the last time you dreamed big?
If you enjoyed this, comment below on how something unexpected led to something pleasant in your life. Bonus: let me know what your favorite magic trick is too! Email me if you would like to connect with her and be sure to follow for more magical stories about me.