Here I am, on the first week of the new year, wondering how on earth 2013 crept upon us so fast? Why, it was only just yesterday that I was watching my lantern lingering mid-wind, ready to be carried into 2012 high above the dusky tree-tops of my little town. And yet, all of a sudden I find myself sat upon a sofa in Taipei.
Last year could most certainly be summarised as chasing the kaleidoscope dream (to quote The Jezabels). Let me share a special snippet from each month. It was truly a magical year…
Standing with my family in the dark, packing my case by candlelight, three of the four roads out of my village blocked by trees from the storm. The Jezabels, The Naked and the Famous and Metronomy live in Hong Kong. Performing as Mulan (in Chinese) in front of thousands, adventures to far-away lands filled with numbing spices and the cutest pandas and a wedding of wonder in a village frozen in time.
Getting lost on a boat to Macau, the scent of incense and freshly-baked bread, cafes of cushions in Hong Kong, spending everyday with my amazing friend, bluebell and burnt paws, KTV and sushi, lazy days in Shenzhen.
From the world of Animation to Chinese class to days curled up in cafes with my nose buried in Taiwan travel books, I prepared for my big trip. The last day of this peaceful month was a new beginning…
Taiwan. Creativity at it’s core. From art districts in Taipei to music festivals at the most southernly point to sleeping in a forest and showering in nature. Taiwan was magical, and little did I know at this point (OK, I totally knew) that later in the year it would become my new home. April went fast. A delve into the past. And then I danced along the Great Wall with my family, and dragged them from temple to palace to dumpling house and back again. It was bliss.
Scary decisions were made. Farewells were bade. Tickets were booked. An incredible chapter neared the end, ready to give way to beautiful new challenges. Transitions can be very unsettling. This was a friend month. And it made it more calming. Bluebell was passed on.
You wake up one day and realise you’re leaving and the feelings are so mixed. But, you made the decision, so push through it, embrace it. Everything happens for a reason. I packed up my glass pod, said goodbye to my cartoon characters and unbelievably special friends, colleagues and random people who made my everyday in Shenzhen. To this day, I still miss my vitamin water man, the lady who sold me potatoes, the smiling man I bought my newspaper from everyday, my yoga instructor…and the list goes on. A dusty sunrise in Shenzhen gave way to Thailand. Best friends, isolated islands, cocktails, sun, too much sun, chats and laughing and tears, adventure. The Jezabels again in Hong Kong. An incredibly fateful second last day, and a birthday that won’t be forgotten. Jumping in the pool during a storm, with 4 hours to go before a flight to South Africa…
South Africa. Sigh. Friends and Love and Rhodes and reunions and Paradise and road tripping and…
As a perfect journey in South Africa came to a finale, I landed in the arms of my best friends in London. Onward to Cornwall, and upward to Devon for the wedding of the year. The epitome of beauty. A 10 hour train ride to the homeland, welcomed home by a serendipitous sunset over the Forth. Hugs and family and fields of emerald dotted with red. Strawberries and ice-cream everyday. A vintage Raleigh, my most devoted side-kick. Lazing and reading and pondering.
Scottish road trips and lochs and castles. TAIWAN. Hello new life, new land, new world, old friends and new. Enter Lulubelle.
Thrown into a Chinese world. Goodbye English. Cafes and cats and hot springs and fortune-telling old men, splattered with a sprinkling of love-heart shaped leaves.
Bumping into old faces in new places. Going into Space for one night, a rainbow land for one day.
Beaches and Braai’s and Buddhas. In forests. Up high. And down. And onward to eat banana rice in the Jungle, on a small small train. Whizzing down through the island to stay with Monks and to faint in their temple. To ride a scooter for the first time around a quirky island. Art districts and temple towns and adventuring.
Christmas without snow, but with friends and sunshine and blue skies. A new semester, a shitload of new Chinese. English gradually getting worse…uh oh. Engagements and celebrations and a new year on the horizon. A friend from afar, but not too far, and a sunset above the clouds. No sunrise, just rain. But Norah Jones ‘sunrise’ will suffice. Tea and buses and trains and chocolate and fireworks and a new year…
Happy New Year! 新年快樂!