I really can’t explain how fond I am of Taiwan. I could be walking down the street and hear the word ‘Taiwan’ and my ears instantly perk up and I’ll be left smiling. One day my colleague said “Oh, I loveeee Taiwan” and I looked at him and almost cried because I love Taiwan too and I miss it, I miss it like I miss my home.
That’s why when Christmas came around, I didn’t even give it a second thought. Of course I wanted to go back to my beloved Scotland but I only get a few days off in Hong Kong and so Taiwan was a pretty good alternative.
As the airport bus dashed along the bridge towards the airport, I gazed out at the tranquil beauty around me that occupies the surrounding cityscape of Hong Kong. For the first time I felt an overpowering sense of love for this new city. Sometimes it takes leaving a place for you to realise how much it has grown on you. My friends in Taipei had warned me about the neverending rain, and here I was leaving glowing sunshine. Sigh.
I didn’t really care though. In Taipei you get used to the rain, so much so that my favourite part of Hong Kong came to be on a rainy night because it reminded me of Taipei, haha. I decided to embrace the rain in Taipei. It gave me a chance to really kick back and relax and even though rain isn’t quite snow, it was close enough to conjuring up a real Christmasy atmosphere and so I was just fine with that. My friends were quite surprised at the lack of adventures I was embarking on. To be fair, I did go out everyday and visit new and old places alike, but I also felt pretty content cuddled up on the sofa watching a movie with some of my best friends, chocolate brownie scent filling the air, a pot of mulled wine bubbling on the stove. Afterall, isn’t that what Christmas is about? Relaxing, overeating, spending time with your loved ones and drinking copious amounts of hot, cinnamony wine?!
In-between eating my body weight in brownie, I went to plenty of delicious restaurants to even-out my body weight a bit by indulging in Beijing style roast duck, soup dumplings from Din Tai Fung (YUM!), mango ice, turkey with all the trimmings for days, amongst many other feasts. I also saw the new Woody Allen movie ‘Blue Jasmine’ and a Taiwanese documentary 看見台灣 at the new Eslite Spectrum which I loved!
As soon as the sun came out to play I was on top of Ellie mountain doing a spot of gymnastics, marching along with the marching band at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall and basking in the incense and crowds of temple-goers all chanting as one. It was a short trip, but a beautiful one. And there’s something lovely about flying on the 1st of January, as if you’re starting afresh, flying back to a new beginning, high above the clouds with a real sense of hope of what’s to come.
Thank you Taiwan, for once again being so magical! I’ll see you soon I’m sure!