the devil's in the _____

Absolute wackiness that I leave Taiwan in just a couple weeks. When I first arrived, I thought two months was forever.

But two months is nothing!

I’ve just settled in!

I’ve just gotten good at ordering coffee!

I’ve only recently stopped rehearsing the script in my head before I walk into restaurants and say, “two people”!

Two months is barely an afternoon!

It’s a moment!

Granted, I’ve done a ton since of been here. I’ve explored several other cities, gone scuba diving, learned to play the Guzheng, and I know the MRT lines front and back (blindfolded and standing on my head). Still, I can’t help kicking myself for the two Saturdays I spent loafing after a night out, or the mornings I slept in until 10:00 11:00 because I didn’t understand my mornings here were finite.

But by no means do I think I’ve squandered much of my time here, I just think we always look back and think we coulda squeezed more out of something. As Leo Doty would say, “Coulda, woulda, shoulda”. Anyway, it’s been a while since my last blog post, and I really have been getting up to quite a lot, especially since realizing last week how close I’m getting to the finish line!

Here’s a brief and incomplete summary:

Met up with the gem of a human-bean that is 王老師 (Wang lao shi) for dinner IN TAIPEI! Crazy crossover. We talked about things and how it’s been and it struck me how fantastic of a teacher he was and is for us. His perspective on teaching Chinese is so well-thought and useful and refreshing and he just rocks. Hudson was so lucky to have him and Taipei is so lucky to get him. So thank you, 王老師.

Celebrated Joe’s birthday at the Taipei 101 Din Tai Fung, continued to eat delicious noodles, led a singalong on the guitar to Teresa Teng’s, “月亮代表我的心” (The Moon Represents My Heart) with our landlady’s friend who was staying in our apartment’s empty room for the night, have been spending a bunch of my mornings at the most incredible breakfast joint chatting with Xiao Zhen and his family (separate post about that coming at some point), and have continued to eat more delicious food.

This past Saturday I went to Jiufen with Grace, who is living fervently, where we wandered around funky alleyways and old-streets and drank tea at a tea house accessible only by cave, and where I ate a cilantro-peanut-ice-cream burrito (scrumptious). We did not pay to enter the spooky museum. We did choose a stop on the way back to randomly get off the train, which ended up being 暖暖 (nuan nuan), the most notable attractions of which include an insane number of river-rock potholes (as advertised) and a stone slide shaped vaguely like an elephant, stationed along quite a nice river path.

As listed on the sign: “每個人的心中都有一座大象溜滑梯“ Lit.: “Everyone has an elephant slide in their hearts”. Please email if you know what the heck this means.

Then night out Saturday, and saved Sunday by going up Taipei 101 for sunset!

Monday night: tried to go see live music at a venue I’ve been trying to go to for weeks, failed, and then they closed permanently. However, got to hear Ahmad play the oud which was sweet.

Tuesday night: Finally made it to Raohe night market where Sofia and I ate literally every delicious snack, including: little jelly balls with mung-bean, some sort of barbeque mushroom, mochi, sweet dumplings on shaved ice, and not so delicious snacks, including: stinky tofu. Eating stinky tofu was my main goal of the night, and even though it was horrible I am very happy to have tried it. It was a testament to how much life a Tuesday night can have if only you turn thought into action and go eat stinky tofu.

Wednesday morning: Spent an hour or so chatting at breakfast, and then I took the MRT (blindfolded and standing on my head) over to Taipei National Museum, which kept flip-flopping between exhibits on Indigenous Peoples of Taiwan and “check out these fish!”. They also had some art and dinosaur bones. Good museum. Didn’t finish my homework, but made it back for class at 4:00.

Between all these events are a near infinite number of moments that I wish I could remember forever. But even now, a lot of the details are already hazy—the small interactions and the views the and breaths of fresh air… the moments. These are the things that really comprise my life in Taipei. The things up there are just their summation—the pictures made up from the dots of paint. And I know that in a few weeks I’ll be back to Montreal, back to the marathon, and so many of the details will be gone. Even the big things will be blurry, and if you ask me a month from now, living in Taipei might have been a Dream. It’ll just be a feeling.

But for now, I’ll keep taking in the details. If I get enough of them, I’m hoping they might stick around.

And remember, 每個人的心中都有一座大象溜滑梯, 經濟部水利署第十河川局. (I have figured out what the heck this means)

Lit. “Everyone has an elephant slide in their hearts, The Tenth River Bureau of the Water Conservancy Department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs of NuanNuan.”