there is no ‘the end’

Oh, hello Taipei, I’m home!

I woke up very early as I was planning on going to Jiufen, but I suddenly realised how tired I was, how much I had to prepare before I leave and how much I freaking love Taipei. I just wanted to spend one more day enjoying this whimsical city! I decided to to take a stroll along to Da’an Park, seeing as it was really close to the friend’s apartment I was staying with. The sun was scorching hot and the streets were fairly quiet. I watched the squirrels flirt and play up and down the tree trunks. A young guy took a nap on a nearby bench, soaking up the rays. I lay myself down on the grass and just let my mind run free. Had I really experienced these past 13 days? Every little moment seemed so special and I was genuinely sad it was coming to an end. I felt so at home in this city. I must have got lost in a dreamy daze because pretty soon I realised at least 10 mosquitos were feasting on my legs. I took this as my cue to run on home (wow, did I just say home?!!) and I called one of the other trekkers to see what she was up to. We met in the Shi Da area and went to the cutest little cafe opposite Grandma Nitti’s. Tea, cake, blueberry slush, and lots of love for Taiwan. We came to the conclusion that we’d just have to move here, it’d been that fantastical!! When the stars started appearing, we sped across the city to pick up my Lomography films. To my dismay, one of them hadn’t worked out…Obviously the battery must have died and I hadn’t noticed. This made me sad because I was sure this was going to be my best film yet. But I guess this is the risk you take when you don’t go digital. Luckily my first ever Lomokino film had worked, and as soon as I’ve added music to it, I’ll post the YouTube link here. It turned out pretty cool, even though it’s really short. But I like it! After this I went to the famous DinTaiFung to enjoy some delicious dumplings with some of the lovely people I’d met along the way. We then took a wander through the never-ending alleyways of the Yong Kang Jie area. We settled for a little cafe called ‘Flat White’ which apparently does great coffee. I opted for a refreshing apple cider, yum! The cafe has a very trendy, minimalist vibe, filled with students working on projects. It was pretty cool! After saying goodbye, or rather a ‘see you soon’ to my friends, I went home for one last dreamy sleep in my new favourite city, Taipei! 

The next day…

Bags at the door, I threw myself onto my friend’s beanbag and sunk in, not wanting to leave. Taiwan had really crawled under my skin and I just couldn’t shake it. What was it about this place that just got me?! I still hadn’t fully figured it out, and I knew I’d be back soon. After one definitely-not-final farewell to my friend, I hopped in a taxi to the Youth Commission building for one last meeting with the lovely Youth Trekker committee. I’m pretty sure my sadness at having to leave was evident, and after telling them about some of my favourite moments from the trip, I became quite overwhelmed by how truly amazing my experience had been, and it was all thanks to these lovely people for giving me the chance. I can’t describe how thankful I am! Wow! Before I knew it, it was time to head onwards to the airport…But of course this is Taiwan, so not before one final fateful encounter. There I was, sat in a corner cafe, sipping on some wildberry juice. Something made me glance up and I realised I knew the person walking by. I’d shared a dorm with him three days earlier in Hualien, and now there he was, strolling happily through the streets of Taipei. I tried to chase after him but he’d crossed the road and disappeared by the time I made it outside. Funnily enough he was one of the people I’d been talking about all my little coincidental encounters in Taiwan with. And now, there he was, a part of my peculiar story. That’s how insanely-cool Taiwan is. It’s like one big community. Everywhere I went I met people who knew other people I’d met, or I bumped into people I actually knew from other countries. It’s what makes this place so special and why I’ve loved it so much. It’s a country that makes you feel at home, a country that you really become a part of, and don’t get me started on the creativity flowing throughout this place…inspiring beyond words. And it’s not just the art work, or the theatre, or the live music, it’s the people. The people make a place. And in Taiwan the people are wonderful! They inspired me, motivated me, overwhelmed me with their kindness. They made me laugh, they made me remember that it truly is the little things in life, but most of all they made me want to move here and immerse myself in the exciting, creative catalyst that is, Taiwan! 

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