Solace

14717092_10154079665898123_5848165847140840219_nMy ‘weekends’ are usually on Thursdays.

I stepped into the bar – unusually quiet – late in the evening.

It might sound a bit cliche as I tell the bartender that I ‘drink to forget’. Sometimes it’s stress, most of the time it’s more of a tongue-in-cheek thing.

Halfway through the night, the entrance creaked open. It was exceptionally loud and clear as there were only six of us in such a small space. We all turned and stared as the door swung open. As if it wasn’t dramatic enough, the music stopped playing in my ears and I waited in anticipation.

A middle-aged lady with short bob and glasses peeked in. She squealed, froze and ran back out.

By the time the bartender ran to the door, she was nowhere to be seen.

Maybe she was surprised to find a room full of liquor, dimly lit behind an unassuming door.

And it is here, when I need a break from the chaos, bright lights in this city, that I can forget.

小巷

14141997_10153936011148123_580893457241553076_n陌生的城市裡 喧嘩的街道
我騎著單車 穿越小巷
尋找一個能夠休息的地方

看見灰暗的小巷裡 離大路不遠的地方 有點亮
騎著騎著想想 是這裡嗎?

開門的那剎那 一股濃濃的咖啡味 還有宋冬野那吹眠的聲音
慢慢的 我感受到了

還記得那晚我隨手拿起吧台上的一本書
讓我久久待在咖啡店裡
看著隔壁桌的年輕人 好想告訴大學時的自己
「il faut aller voir」

我花了多少時間 才發現這一趟旅程 並不是我要的尋找夢想
也不是逃離現實
而是看別人生活 再來看看自己 看看未來
穿越自己停格在裡的思想


『地方』 已經找到了
現在只剩下
「il faut aller voir」

Pale in comparison

img_20140926_001352Amaretto Sour – TCRC, Tainan


There are things that I can’t forget and when compared to other similar things, they all pale in comparison.

My experiences in the last few weeks of 2014 and the first few weeks of 2015 has probably taught me more, and probably are things that I don’t want to remember. But the lessons that I have learned, stood out more (probably also the reason why I crave for a drink at 2pm).

Speaking of things that I cannot forget, the two cups of Amaretto Sour that I had in Tainan – the best that I have had so far. I probably spent half of my time in Tainan either thinking about drinks, or drinking.

I don’t even remember the conversations that I had in that bar, but I do remember the Amaretto Sour. Even after two months, I crave for it and long to return. At this point, I’m not sure if I miss the drink more or Tainan more. :p

The right amount of tanginess, sweetness and slight amount of sourness, the aromatic smell of almonds, the right amount of fuzz/foam on top, yum yums. The moment I drank it, I fell in love with Amaretto Sour again and again. All the other drinks that I have up until that point, pales in comparison. The Apple pie shots, Jameson, El Dorado, Long island Iced Teas, Patron, Hendrick’s, all went to the back of my mind. All that mattered was that Amaretto Sour.

That Amaretto Sour is still on my mind. I really need to find its equivalent in KL. I know in the back of my mind even if I do find an equivalent of it, it’ll probably still be pale in comparison because what I’m truly looking for will only exist that one time, that first time I tasted it in TCRC.

Twenty five

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On my last day being a 24-year-old, I felt relieved.

I wish I could tell my past-self not to fret on the little details.

I thought about all the relationships in my life – family, friends, partners, colleagues, acquaintances, strangers.

I thought about all those time I spent doubting myself; all those time I didn’t try because I didn’t even think trying was worth it; ask those time I cried myself to sleep because I was tired; and the time I finally accepted things the way they are.

One step at a time. There’s still plenty to learn about life.

Growing old.

A lot of my thoughts these days are circled around age and growing old.

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It is rather surprising how much my thoughts have changed in a span of five years.

When I was younger, I thought of nothing but success. My mind and body were driven by ambitions coupled with a few daydreams here and there.

If you sat down and asked me questions about my parents, I probably won’t have much to say. Simply because I have taken them for granted.

I think a lot of us have. Maybe we didn’t use to, but at some point, we all change.

I have a vivid memory of my eldest brother sitting in the living room with me when I was 16/17. It was probably late at night because at that age I have the tendency to stay up all night living in the fantasy world created by JK Rowling, rereading the books again and again.

More than once, while my eldest brother came back during the weekends from college, he would sit with me and talk about our parents. Most of the time, I appeared uninterested and annoyed. I just wanted to read my books. But what he said stayed with me. He told me to be grateful of my parents. Despite arguments and attempted runaways from me, they have been through a lot to put us through school and support us financially for any endeavors we wish to take on.

But none of us can go against time and old age. We all grow old one day, and whether it’s going to be graceful or heart-breaking, we never know. I just hope it’s not going to be like the nightmares I used to have as a kid.

I used to cry myself to sleep knowing my parents will one day no longer be around when I was 7/8. I think that was when I began to understand life and death.

一起变老

那天在上阿里山的早晨 一开始就被在巴士站的阿桑拉着说的士也能乘上山而且一样价钱不用和别人挤。这个个人意见就是看你自己咯,如果能摆脱阿桑那就乘公车吧。我们被阿桑说了好久好久 而且阿桑口气有点凶,到最后就随便上了他的车 (现在听起来很危险的感觉 其实也没有啦。)

后来有两位老人家也和我们一起上阿里山。一路上两位老人家有说有笑 谈着天南地北的事情 让我想起自己和哥哥们的关系。

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两位老人家是家人。老先生是堂哥,一把年纪了却很积极的环游世界。老太太是小时候被父母亲带到高雄眷村的外省人,在宝岛上生活了一辈子。难得和家人见面,两个人一路上两小时的车程,让我感触很多。暖暖的阳光打进车里,两位老人家说起小时候的事情,嘻嘻笑笑的,话题离不开家人但也夹杂了对现代社会的看法。老人家也很期待这次上阿里山的旅程。收音机传来早期蔡琴的歌,老太太哼了起来。两个小时我们就这样和两位老人家相处就过了。

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小时候和哥哥们成长的记忆就是一起捣蛋的画面。上了小学中学后 和哥哥们的回忆也没那么多了。长大后更别说了。我们各自到了不同的国家深造和生活。

看着车上的两位老人家和窗外的风景,我希望我和家人也能这样一起变老。

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陌生的城市

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無意間一個人來看展, 用自己的節奏欣賞一些平時看不到的人文事物.

穿梭在人群中, 想起以前看過的YouTube Video ~ How to be alone by Tanya Davis.

以前一個人待在華盛頓時, 我離開了熟悉的生活圈子和愛人, 為自己的事業打拼. 來到陌生的地方要自己一個人生活就覺得像在Game裡一樣, 開一個新的Save slot, 新的adventure.

這一次的旅程快要結束了, 有很多的不捨, 也給了我機會好好沉思, 為接下去的日子努力.

(這是匆匆忙忙update的, 剛剛抵達充滿亂跑的小孩的台北動物園。)

在路上

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這是看了三天兩夜的景。在14樓看透了嘉義市,也體會了5AM被暖暖的太陽叫醒。

我自認很愛旅行。可萬萬沒想到在經歷第48天流浪的日子,在海拔2216米的阿里山 我默默的看著四周的旅客和自己,覺得我們很可笑。

我們都拿起相機和手機拍一些與我們距離很遙遠的老樹。

深呼吸。在那一刻 我開始警覺 擔心 我是否會開始以這樣的態度來看待接下去的每一段旅程和未來的生活。

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去年的春天我在吳歌窟尋找自己,尋找信仰和道理。在那一段旅程中我深深體會到流浪就是用心去聆聽世界萬物的秘密。

一年後的我是經歷了什麼?為什麼不是用那時的想法來欣賞阿里山的美?這是我這一年裡的成長嗎?

是時候檢討一下自己了…

台南

Tainan reminded me of many places.

The traffic light at every single intersection made me recalled my days in Washington, D.C. Back then, I would walk around avoiding stop lights. I hated them. I did the same in Tainan but different from WDC, there are many surprises hidden in the alleyways.

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When we were in KenTing, the pace of life was painfully slow. Not much cultural or historical spots to lose yourself. It was a place to spend time with nature. It was in some ways, quaint. KenTing is like the old neighbor you see everyday watering her flowers in the yard exactly at 9am when you leave for work and she would greet you again when you’re getting home in the evening. Predictable.

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窄門 cafe

Tainan is a city full with artists, makers interested in preserving its culture. So everywhere you go you’ll find shops cramped with interesting products made by local craftsmen.

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Modern art and design is booming but a lot of the older traditions has survive as well. We stayed next door to this famous wood-carving shop. The shop is now survived by its third generation master. I wish Malaysia is on the same page at preserving its history and culture, there would be a lot of things to talk about!

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It’s a city so lively and at the same time filled with treasure. There is always something at every corner if you just look closely enough.

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Getting lost in the plethora of temples was enjoyable. There’s so many temples that I have lost count of how many incense sticks I have lit. There are a lot of historical spots in Tainan and most of them are very well preserved. The government takes preservation of its culture and history seriously by turning centuries old building into shops, community centers, galleries, etc. This also opened up a lot of opportunities for entrepreneurs.

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The two weeks I spent there were comfortable. I forgot all about my worries and truly focused on discovering the city, peeling its many layers one by one.

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Secondhand bookshops, cafes, hawker stalls, temples, any alley that looks remotely interesting and I will take that path.

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Homesick

In the midst of this bustling airport in Busan, I am missing many things. As travelers from all over the world crowd over me and share food with each other while I sit there idly, all I can think about is  home. I miss my family, my loved ones, my dogs, my normalcy.

There was one point in my life that I thought life was about seeking the next adventure and battling the next challenge. Little did I know that maintaining the normalcy in life and accepting it is a challenge in itself.