Not too long ago, I swore up and down, left and right, that I had renounced kinfolk and anything else which attempted to mimic its monochromatic, minimalistic vibe. As the magazines piled up issue by issue, I found myself questioning the values of wabi-sabi and virtues of slow living it extolled. Would decluttering one's wardrobe really declutter the mind? Was the mind as chaotic as a teenager's room, to begin with? What was once creditable became idealistic, and what were once textbooks for the ideal lifestyle became a glorified, expensive stack of books.
Still, this whole all-white, all-clean manifesto continued to flourish - establishments so colorless that one wondered if the owner simply bought up all the white furniture at the store, marble-this, marble-that, magazines with more white space than content. To this all, I turned up my nose to. After all, as a by-product of the 21st century, I was firmly anti-hipster, wasn't I? Look! No square-framed black glasses, or belly-baring ensembles, or whatever the kids are doing these days.
Last November, when we lit that huge paper lantern in Taiwan, I wrote that I wished to have a momofuku milk bar birthday cake for by birthday. Well, I never did have that cake, but I did get some birthday cake truffles, which was pretty darn close.
In all honesty, it was completely unanticipated that I would be going back to New York (and on nearly the same dates!) a year later. Even with all the pestering and persuasion. No. Nada.
But New York, oh boy, she never fails to amaze. The charming mish-mash of old and new architecture - brick walls and fire escapes amidst glass panes and towering monuments, how many things a single supermarket can stock, that everyone has fabulous footwear. Even the deafening rattle of the subway grows on you.
It's been a week, and most of my photos have been uploaded, the suitcases unpacked, the prosaic of the everyday returned to. I can't help by feel an odd combination of yearning and disbelief that this long-awaited trip, is over.
There's something about having to sit in a train for five hours and pass time by alternating between dozing off and watching the scenery outside rise with mountain tops and slowly flatten out into the pacific ocean. It's quite surreal, really, considering how the view on my everyday commute comprises of the same types of buildings, roads and more buildings.
Then again, I never really pictured myself walking under crevices in mountain valleys with icy water dripping down my face or enjoying the view of mountain tops swathed in fog through the bathroom window at Taroko. Oh no. I'm just more of a city-person.
Back to Taiwan, I mean; not back on this platform. (If you've been watching this space for a while, you'd know that my passport was graced with the Taiwanese immigration stamp exactly a year ago) I've been pretty industrious this time too, having brought my laptop along and religiously uploading all photos and video clips nightly. After all, we're in the land of omnipresent wifi.
Right now, this trip is almost over, and besides editing this short post on a relatively lumpy mattress, we're seeking to cram all our souvenirs in the 3.5 suitcases we dragged along here as well as load in all of the camera's contents of today. I've visited some old places as well as ventured to new ones in this tour of Taiwan (seriously - Taipei to Hualien to Kaohsiung to Taipei = many hours spent having your teeth rattled around on trains). I'll be talking more about this trip in a later post when I'm back, but for now, do enjoy.