I still remember the first day we went to our beach. It used to be her beach, the spot Emma chose to go swimming almost every day, meeting fishermen sometimes. I was following her racing her bike, trying to memorize every turn and streets, and was a bit confusing when I first arrived. It’s not a sandy beach. It’s a rocky beach, not really a beach, with a lot of garbage from the Night Market. But there was something extremely extraordinary about having the chance to go swimming every day. Because that’s exactly how it felt: a chance.
I wanted it wilder and more adventurous. This is why I chose to leave Taipei to travel the East Coast of Taiwan. According to my plan, I was supposed to spend two weeks in Hualien and explore the Taroko National Park as much as I could, and slowly make my way down south, stopping here and there.
But you know me pretty well by now, and you know that I suck at sticking to the plan.
There’s a place that I, unfortunately, carry up with me no matter where I go: my cabin of sadness.
Until a few years ago it didn’t have a name, neither a shape. However, it had been there just as far as I can remember. It was just a dark place I would go sometimes, without even knowing why or how.
4 years ago, I stood up for a cause, I stood up for a job I still believe is one of the most beautiful jobs ever, I stood up for the importance of culture, and I stood up for my beloved co-workers. But moreover, and for the first time in my life, I stood up for myself. I could feel it in my guts: “Céline, if you don’t fight for yourself right now, you’re gonna regret this for the rest of your life.” So, I stood up and fought for myself. I just couldn’t sit and watch the ship sinking into the deep ocean.
I still remember how I felt like a teenager, holding this giant stuffed shark in Vita’s bed, talking about love and French boys before falling sound asleep. It seems that getting older doesn’t make us stop being confused about love issues. She taught me Chinese chess, I taught her French. Her mother kept saying ‘Je suis contente!’ ‘- I’m happy- while I was trying to improve saying the four Chinese tones. I felt part of the Lung family, and it was heartwarming.
Hanami is the perfect beauty made by Mother Nature. The reminder of how ephemeral life is. That life doesn’t last. And that the beauty of it is actually its ephemeral state. We wouldn’t pay this much attention to blooming sakura if they were blooming for a long time. The fact that it’s lasting just a few days makes it even more beautiful, yet magical.