a wee 謝謝 (thanka you)

Seeing as it’s Thanksgiving Day today, I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and say a little thanka you…

1. Thank you Grand Hyatt Taipei for putting on an epic buffet tonight. I can’t wait to stuff my face with your turkey and all the trimmings.

2. Thank you friends for inviting me to said buffet.

3. Thank you 2012 for being one of the best years of my life so far…From being able to see real pandas in Sichuan, to going to one of my best Chinese friend’s wedding, to spending an entire month with Harriet exploring in China. Being able to see The Jezabels live TWICE, winning Taiwan Youth Trekker’s competition, thus allowing me to realise how freaking beautiful Taiwan is, hence why I’ve moved here. Having the chance to do one of the funnest jobs in the world- Thank you Fantwaild. Thank you Taiwan National Normal University for having such an awesome Chinese programme. Thank you family for climbing the Great Wall with me and just being the most fun family on earth. Thank you South Africa for containing so many wonderful friends and being so beautiful. THANK YOU WORLD, THANK YOU FRIENDS- I LOVE YOU!

4. Finally, thank you Sigur Ros. You took me to another world last night with your unbelievably stunning performance. Also, let me just add- yesterday I made a little joke about making friends with you…Well, I thought it’d be pretty funny if you rocked up in our local bar. I didn’t find it so funny today when I found out you actually HAD! But, it’s probably for the best. Knowing me, I’d have met you all and by now I’d probably be following you back to Iceland to dance on the cliffs.

5. So, thank you HEAD. (NOT)! I listened to you for the first time EVER, and you were wrong! Always follow your heart, no matter what!! Because you could miss out on chilling with Sigur Ros in your local bar, and believe me, that thought sucks when it comes true!

Thank you, thank you, thank you WORLD for being so fun!


lost at sea

Tonight I am going to see Sigur Ros LIVE, here in Taipei, Taiwan! YAY! Apart from Bon Iver and The Smiths, this is the only other band that I really love that I haven’t had the chance to see live yet. If you haven’t heard any of their stuff, start with this song…the title Saeglopur translates as lost at sea. I want to go to Iceland and hang out with them. Their music is beyond beautiful. Totally going to try and befriend them tonight…



Maybe being powerful means to be fragile.

I may have developed a bit of an obsession with 艾未未 Ai Wei Wei, but that’s because he is one of the most inspiring people to have graced our earth. You’ll be missing out if you don’t watch the recent documentary about him. If you don’t live in China, then you have no excuse. PLEASE WATCH IT!!!! My writing cannot give his bravery, determination and passion justice, so rather just watch this trailer, head to the nearest cinema and see it for yourself. If you live in China I will try and sneak a copy in the next time I visit. What a hero!

“Choices after waking up: To be true or to lie? To take action or be brainwashed? To be free or be jailed?”

the lost art of letter writing.

When was the last time you sent an actual letter? Handwritten and sealed with a stamp and a kiss? None of this email malarky, a proper letter. Of course, emails are convenient, but they don’t contain real glitter or the scent of the writer.

I love letters. Writing them- the way the ink flows from the pen, it’s ridiculously therapeutic; and receiving letters. Finding an envelope with your name written by someone else’s pen. Seeing their thoughts leaked all over the paper. This type nonsense cannot compete.

So, why not pick up a pen instead of your keypad? OK, so it might take a week to reach the recipient, but it’ll be sure to make their day, maybe even their entire week, which more than makes up for the week they had to wait on hearing from you.

Or if you don’t have much to say, how about a postcard? Or if you’ve forgotten how to write by hand (shame on you), use a typewriter- just because. Or type it up and print it out and sign it by hand.

You could even write a letter to a stranger. I stumbled across this TED Talks:


A simple, but beautiful idea. Next time you’re sitting waiting on a bus, or have a spare two minutes; why not pick up a pen and scribble a lovely note that could make someones whole day turn the right way around…

“And none will hear the Postman’s knock without a quickening of the heart. For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?”      W.H.Auden


lovers are like buses…

If you haven’t already seen Tom Ford’s ‘A Single Man’, watch it! Now! The cinematography is beautiful, Colin Firth’s acting is outstanding, and it’s a really touching story. Every prop has been perfectly chosen, and the way they play with lights and colour is amazing!

‘Lovers are like buses; if you wait a few minutes another will come along…’

The Palm-Reading Taxi-Driver of Wulai.

A field of Taiwanese flags lay before their eyes, dancing in the breeze. Below, a group of Swedes rippled the bluer-than-blue river with rocks and pebbles and baby boulders. It was a gentle day, and as they walked alongside the miniature train track, they marveled at the intense amount of waterfalls in the area. Being in the adventurous category, they were determined to get to the other side of these waterfalls. What lay behind them? Possibly nothing. But, possibly magical pools of healing waters. Thus, they skipped across the bridge suspended in air by ropes, bobbing along in the gorge. On the other side they were met by another hundred waterfalls. As they rounded the corner, out from behind a purple bush of sweetness, came a hungry pack of dogs. One of the girls screamed, as usual. And the dogs ran for her, of course. Luckily, the Dad of the dogs wasn’t far behind, and in a matter of seconds he’d scooped them all up and locked the gate to their land.

An hour later, or rather hours, after scrambling up muddy banks and not-so-carefully carved stone steps, they decided the adventure was almost complete. It was time to retreat back to where they’d started and dip their tired toes, and maybe even their lethargic legs, into burning hot springs. After all, that’s what this country is well-known for. They were both more than aware of the fact that there was no-way on earth they were walking back. It was a trek fit for kings. They decided they’d try and score a taxi. It didn’t take long. Infact, that familiar beacon-bright yellow wonder was already waiting on their arrival. So, the girl who’s tongue was capable of muttering an assortment of the local lingo, blurted out their final destination, and before she could argue the price, her body had already accepted and nestled itself cosily into the back seat. And just as soon as the other girl had firmly closed the door, their journey had begun.

The driver was a normal-looking gent. He had a slightly weathered face and wore a hat that could be confused with a driver from the early 20th century in London. In other words, he looked the part. His tongue was rural. The girl had to sit sideways and block out all other senses. Here, the ear, was of most importance. She gathered all her strength and memory of the last month’s worth of knowledge and tuned in. It worked. The sounds and rhythms were flowing. It was strange. She almost wished she’d recorded it, but for the most part, she remembers it well. There was the usual back and forth, and then the not so usual-

Driver: Ah, so, lady, you studied Chinese on the mainland (China), didn’t you?

Girl: Uh yes, I did. Can you tell?

Driver: Oh yes, I can tell alright. Yup, Shenzhen. You two ladies met in Shenzhen, am I right?

Girl 2 with the unfamiliar tongue: SHENZHEN?! He just said Shenzhen???!

Girl: Um, excuse me sir, did you say Shenzhen?

Driver: So you friend’s a teacher, and she’s American right? I can tell.

Girl: Um..sir…how do you know that? What about me?

Driver: You’re obviously not a teacher, you’re a student. Are you from England?

Girl. NO! Scotland. Have you heard of that country? It’s north of England…

Driver: Oh, of course. You’re so tall, and that skin of yours, white white! But pretty! Ah yes, the land of the Scots…

( And so on and so forth…until…)

Driver: Can I ask you a question? Do you have a husband?

Girl: NO! (laughs) I’m only 25!!

Driver: Well there must be a boyfriend at least?

Girl: I wish!

Driver: Oh well that’s strange, because I can see two young men. Yes, two. But it’s not too clear. But they are both the same. They are the same.

(He continued to tell the girl she would be married by 28, have lots of money and be very lucky).

5minutes later…

Driver: OK, I’m just going to take you to the shop to buy water…

Girl: Oh, thank you, but it’s OK, there’s no need.

They arrive at the shop and Girl 2 with the unfamiliar tongue jumps out. Girl is left alone with Driver. Girl goes to hand over the decided amount…

Driver: Oh no, 200NT is ok, please keep the extra 100NT and buy lots of water. Can I see your palm please? You see, this is how I can tell…Ah yes, last weekend. You drank too much whisky didn’t you? Your health was poorly afterwards. Please don’t do this again. Please go and buy lots of water and drink it immediately. Ah yes, 28. A special year- a lot of money and a husband. OK, bye lady. What a pleasure to meet you!

Girl: Uh, what? Sorry, um…ah…OK…ah thank you sir. Yes, so nice to meet you too! Really, thank you, thank you so much. Wow, goodbye!

And off the taxi flew, quite literally into thin air. Not even a puff of engine smoke, as if it had never been there. And the girl…the girl burst into the shop, shaking and smiling and wondering what had just gone down in the land of Wulai.

(They DID meet in Shenzhen. There may be a boy…maybe not…She did learn Chinese in China. She did drink FAR too much whisky the weekend before. She had to go to hospital for medicine.)

This world. The people you can meet when you’re least expecting it. The things you can discover or re-discover. The magic you can find just behind that waterfall…


 老人: 小姐,你來了。我可以幫你。你要去哪兒?
雪芳: 啊,你好!我們很累,所以要回去烏來。差不多多少錢?
老人: 三百塊,好不好?今天你們走了很長的路吧,難怪你們好像要累死了!
雪芳: 三百塊,好了!謝謝你。我們走了四個小時的路,差不多14公里,真的很累。
雪芳:你說什麼?不好意思,請你慢說一點兒. 你說深圳嗎?
老人:噢,真的?我沒去過。啊,蘇格蘭, 蘇格蘭。我問你,有老公嗎?
雪芳: 沒有,沒有!我才25歲。太年輕!
老人:奇怪。。。有兩個男生。。。我看到他們。兩個。。。長得一樣。 嗎。很有意思。。。28歲的時候,你會結婚!
雪芳:噢,好好好。謝謝,很高興認識你。你真的很有趣! 再見。

in the towers of your honeycomb

I was just having my weekly glance at www.chinasmack.com and I actually came across something beautiful, which for those of you who are familiar with the above sight, will be more than aware of the fact that this is somewhat of a rarity.

This is one story from the documentary ‘China-EU Love Links’ directed by Jason Lee Wong. It explores the relationships of 10 inter-cultural couples from China and Europe and looks at why the couples fell so much in love and the difficulties they’ve had to overcome due to their cultural differences and language barriers. It’s screening now at The 5th Annual European Union Film Festival in Beijing, Tianjin, Chengdu and my old home- Shenzhen. Check it out!

I think this couple’s story in particular is beautiful. Isn’t love just wonderful?!