sexta-feira, 19 de outubro de 2012

Happy Taiwan Day

Last week it was Taiwan National Day. I admire Taiwan as a beautiful country that I want to visit someday, and it's very special to me because I have some good friends from there.
It's even more special to my good friend Juliana, from São Paulo, who spent one year in there back in 2009/2010. She kindly wrote this guest post to celebrate Taiwan Day.

Read it, it's worth it!

I remember Taiwan in a grey day

Last time I remembered Taiwan it was a grey day. Grey days are somehow a bit poetic to me; they release a certain feeling of belonging… belonging to life I mean, in the very spot you are standing right now. Belonging to being on your own. In grey days, you don’t necessarily feel you belong to the place you are, or the family you were born in, or the life you are leading; you rather feel like you belong right here, right now; like it doesn’t matter how happy or unhappy you are, it’s fine just to stay where you are and contemplate. Grey days invite you to contemplate. You see beauty you haven’t seen before; you see the trees and flowers without the exuberance of the sunny days, and without the strength and yet fragil-ness of a rainy day, and end up noticing a different kind of beauty, more reflective, more melancholic. In those days, you contemplate yourself. You see beauty you hadn’t seen, in a reflective and melancholic way.
In those days, I remember Taiwan as a place of reflection and growing. I see days spent in Danshui, the city by the sea I’d go to when needing to stop, to think, to understand. I see Taiwan, and specially Danshui, as a place to heal. I see the street I’d walk in Danshui, that one with the sea on the left side, and a night market on the right. The colors of the night market, the toys you’d win if shot the target or threw the ball on the right spot; the electronic games places; the huge amount of food available for whoever wanted to try it, going from sweet corn on a stick, to roast crab with sweet sauce, 30cm machine ice creams, stinky tofu, and even an Irish Potato store.
I remember my first host Dad, his funny laughter and funny accent. He liked me very much, and tried to be a real father to me. He took me to the Yang Ming Shan, a very well-known mountain with great views; took me to the hot springs, and to go dancing with the old ladies, every morning before school. I remember walking to the school where we’d dance, feeling the plants scent and hearing a rooster sing somewhere near, and how that surprised me, being the São Paulo native I am.
Remembering Taiwan in a grey day, I’d take the MRT (Mass Rapid Transportation – the subway) and go back, back to XinBeiTou station, to my Chinese drum class or the Sunday mass (in Chinese), where I’d have a friend, a maybe British nun who smiled to me and talked to me in English. I’d be back to – what’s the name of the station? – my second host home, the one I shared with Corinna. The one I spent Christmas in, a Nativity Scene straight from Brasil on the top of my desk, along with Sonhos de Valsa and a plush Santa, and a Christmas video on the internet. The one I had a German sister, a really nice and caring old brother, a smiley old sister, a grumpy little sister (but poor thing – her mom made her study so much!), a Taiwanese-speaking grandpa, and a caring, but crazy, mother, who’d tell my brasilian parents how lazy and messy I was. But that is some sort of love, too.
I’d remember the light rainy days I spent with my third host family, they all so nice and calm, some of the most patient human beings I’ve ever met. The short time I spent there was very happy, sharing fruits and stories with my host parents, eating a different MosBurguer Sandwich for breakfast every day, getting the latest curfew I had in Taiwan (11pm), and trying to decide whether or not I should give myself to being in love, with the short time I had left on the country.
I’d remember struggling with the language; struggling with shyness, mine and other’s; laughing with 10 different nationalities, telling my classmates random stuff about my country, learning how to drink. I remember having some of the closest and deepest friendships I’ve ever had, and how nice it was to walk from Taipei Main Station to Taipei 101 to get ice cream I won on a bet; to light our fire lamps and watch them rising, taking our deepest wishes to one another and to ourselves to the skies; going to Xindian to spend a day watching movies. I remember the temples, the incense smell, the high-pitched voices, the stares on public places.
In a grey day, I’d remember all Taiwan and remember how it healed me, and how it made me grow. I realize how awesome an opportunity I was given, and how blessed I was to be there, with those people, seeing those views. I regret bending to Time wishes and losing contact with people, losing a lot of contact with that part of the world that is a huge part of my world. I feel anxious and missing days that haven’t come yet, days where I’ll go back, and meet again those people and those places.
But most of all, I feel some sort of warmth; I have that feeling of very calm satisfaction, of realizing that, all in all, the journey so far has been good, and that is all due moments, fleeting but unique moments, where you’ve been truly happy. The kind of feeling you only have when your eyes are looking deeper. When you are lost in contemplation. When you are having a grey day.

Um comentário:

  1. Awesome text, dear. I recognize the references to so many stories that you told me by the time you spent there, and I smile when I remember how much closer our friendship became during that time (and still remains!).

    Thank you very much for this beautiful post!