Friday Night in Taipei

I should be going to bed soon, but I wanted to write up first one of the most fun nights I’ve had in awhile.  I got to stay in Taipei at my friend’s apartment, and we had so much fun.  I rested all day because I hadn’t slept well in a long time, and I felt really off and tired since arriving in Taiwan.  I ended up skyping my friend for three hours in the noon, and it was a good talk.  Then I started getting ready, and met up with my friend for dinner at Miss Green.  I was pretty tired even just transferring at the MRTs… but I was reminded of how fun it was to ride the brown line where the MRT is built on top of the city as opposed to underground, and so the view was exciting.  Before Miss Green, I stopped by Sanzara Plara next to her apartment to grab dim sum, and then I ended up waiting at a cute cafe called The Bling House for her to arrive around 8pm.

Then the fun part began!!  We bar hopped, and ended up going to a total of four places.

  1.  Ounce – we walked to some cafe that looked closed or dead, but once inside, saw a couple people waiting.  We pressed a button on the wall, and the wall adjacent to it opened up and a waiter popped his head out – it was a Speakeasy bar, so cool!  Kind of hipstery, we probs waited around 15-20 min and the bartender made a drink of passionfruit rum for me and an old fashioned whiskey for Sharon.    It was a bit more of an intimate setting, quiet, good for a second date kind of vibe.
  2. RnD – my favorite place of the night!  Walked to the front of some deserted looking place, opened the door and it was LIT inside.  Glowing lights, dressy hip young people standing waiting around for tables or the bar.  Two women tried to convince me to get a tattoo in the bathroom, and Sharon and I enjoyed watching the bartenders make drinks and she got a coffee drink, mine was a whiskey mint chocolate drink (soo good).  This place was chill but fancy, I loved the ambiance and it was cheaper and a bigger space.
  3. Frank’s – open rooftop place, 500 NT per person.  Fun place, vibing music, but the drinks sucked…  2 drinks per person, I got a raspberry puree vodka and a red wine (both sucked).
  4. Barcode – a two minute walk away, I was definitely tipsy at this point and felt invincible.  Here, two Madrid brothers talked to us and bought us drinks.  They were nice and tried to convince us to go to some Halloween party.

We went to 7-Eleven and got some ramen around 3:30am.

Unfortunately, I paid for it all of today cause I’m completely wiped out and have no energy at all and feel like shit… but it was worth it.

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What I Learned in Taiwan

That year had been particularly rough on me, and I remember being on a bus in a desperate attempt to swig away my sorrows at TCNJ Senior Night, texting on a whim confirmation to my parents to sign me up for school in Taipei.  I was and am always hesitant and doubtful of new and scary experiences, but my grief momentarily blinded me from worrying, and it ended up being one of the best. decisions. ever.  Not knowing what to expect, my mom and I hopped on a plane in late May, and our first days of exploring the campus of National Taiwan Normal University excited me endlessly.  My mom finally coped enough to leave me to my independence after two or three weeks, and that week and a half was the funnest ever.  Sure, there were moments where I was so exhausted I was just barely able to move to buy myself dinner, and sure, the dorm’s strict curfew of 11:30pm was annoying, but for the most part, I was content to be able to manage my life without feeling so restricted.  Among the highlights of my trip were:

    1. Visiting my moms’ old friend’s village, which felt like a town in a Miyazaki film.  Her sweet and kindhearted family can COOK.
    2. Meeting up with my TCNJ friend Lauren at Danshui and having the MOST MAGICAL BUBBLE TEA at a cute cafe
    3. Going to Beitou Hot Springs and trying to compete against stolid old people by sitting in boiling water on a 90+ degree summer day- guess whose fingers were prunier?? Yeah, we didn’t win.
    4. Typhoon night where I huddled in my dorm with two yams from 7-Eleven
    5. Attending a 12 Cellos concert, courtesy of my aunt (phenomenal performance) in Kaohsiung
    6. Meeting new people, eating and bonding on mini-trips

During these mini travels, after months of therapy was I able to muster the courage to communicate my needs to new friends.  I tried to mask my shaky confidence as I explained what I needed: their understanding in walking slowly with me because it was hard for me.  I still remember the fear I felt bringing it up to my friend Nio as I walked with him and another guy through the streets, realizing if I didn’t say something soon I wouldn’t be able to keep up, and I was tired.  Surprisingly, without blinking or giving me any side look of pity, Nio said “Sure,” slowed down and casually asked me what my condition was.  A heavy weight lifted from my shoulders, and I felt acceptance.  What I learned was that as inconvenient as conditions like mine were and as rare as awesome people are to find, they exist. And sometimes you have to forgive yourself and distinguish yourself from your chronic conditions, and take a leap of faith in opening up.  Recognize that sometimes, you are not the problem.