Friday, August 28, 2009

Promise / 承諾


After coming back from the trip to Europe, my schedules are so packed that I really don’t have time to digest and recreate the unforgettable images and moments on the journey. But I know well that I owe myself a promise. We often give the excuse that all the important lessons have been kept in mind. However, to be honest, as we age, we learn nothing except leaving those seemingly unimportant but in fact extremely important details in oblivion. If we are lucky, we might have another chance to learn them again. But life is so unpredictable. Instead of expecting so much, I’d rather seize what I have learned.


As you all know, I am a responsible person, and I don’t want to keep the memories of this beautiful trip all to myself. Therefore, Shaggy and I are going to hold a duo exhibit of illustrations in Pace Café on Tai-shun Street for a whole month in January, 2010. If you happen to be making your annual plan, don’t miss such a fabulous opportunity to travel to OUR Hungary and Spain.


I am so looking forward to seeing my own world as well as you!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Love Me! 愛我吧!


“Love me!” We always desperately desire to say this to someone out there while we forget that before it happens, we have to say it to ourselves first.


Since my mural-painting project at Ju-ming Museum last summer, many friends and relatives have promised to offer their current or future white walls for me to paint. This year, due to my work, I didn’t participate in the mural contest. But people don’t say “a blessing in disguise” for nothing. My generous friend Nana invited me to color her walls. I am glad to have carried out the plan before summer break ends.


During one day and one night I spent with Nana, we didn’t just paint. We pondered much on our dilemma and anticipation at this stage of life. We were even rewarded with a whole sky of stars on our way home. Our time together felt like a happy summer camp experience. Maybe we do not have the best life, but we are so aware of our good luck. We know that we won’t miss any chance coming along, even though we might get hurt and fall again.


Thank you Nana, for being my lifelong good friend!

Friday, August 21, 2009

the temperature of a hug / 擁抱的溫度


I am afraid of the moment of saying goodbye. Well as I know, as long as I make it through that moment, I will move on without any difficulty, still, at that moment, I can’t control my tears. So not going to the airport isn’t a synonym of indifference. Instead, it’s a way of bidding farewell in a peaceful way, with best wishes.

這個星期讀了Barrie Greiff的「人生的九個學分」,作者提到了擁抱的溫度,一個擁抱的溫度可以持續多久?我給了很多擁抱,不過我想最特別的就是荳荳的擁抱了,我們總是會抱得不能呼吸,那是充滿熱度和誠意的肢體動作,而且這已經是第二年我們用這樣的方式說再見,我不知道未來會如何,可是我們的擁抱裡說著,明年再來一次吧!

This week I read Legacy, the Giving of Life’s Greatest Treasures by Barrie Greiff. Dr. Grieff mentioned the temperature of a hug. How long can the warmth of a hug last? I have given many hugs, but the most unforgettable one goes to Miss Sprout’s. We always hold each other so tight that we can’t breathe. It’s a body gesture full of heat and sincerity. And this is the second year we say goodbye in this manner. I don’t know when we will get to see each other again in the future, but in our hug, we both pray hard, “Let’s do it again next year!”


For many people, they live in a place physically, while their hearts long for another place. Isn’t it a beautiful thing to have a place to think about? As a place and someone being missed, it’s a blessing.


We are all in your sneakers. We’ll help you run in the vast United States to your dream!

Monday, August 17, 2009

the sunset here / 這裡的夕陽


Every time when I return from trips to higher latitude countries, it always takes me a few days to accept the fact that I live in a place where the sun sets at no later than 7 pm in summer. I am not sure that my feet actually touch the ground when walking outside in the dark. Besides, I was so spoiled on this trip. We collected the sunsets of every city we visited. Thus, though my schedules were totally packed after the trip and my body and brain moved at a supersonic speed, my heart was left in those poetic photos and memories. It couldn’t find the way home.


Last weekend, we took Shorty, the dog of our big family, to a swimming pool in rural Miaoli. Shorty’s parents were busy doing the grooming work while I took my time drawing. Suddenly, they found me standing still…because I found that the sun was about to drop into the clouds! The whole process before the final fall was fantabulous. I couldn’t help thinking, the sunset here is also lovely! I guess this realization brought every part of me back.


Thanks to a dog, I discovered brand-new scenery and changed my state of mind. This is the world that the previous me, who didn’t like dogs, can’t see.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Life Lesson in Barcelona / 巴塞隆納的人生課題


Madrid is the city of kings. Everything is as grand and majestic as you can imagine. Even tourists exuded a certain aura of condescension. Barcelona, on the other hand, is free from the burden of a capital city. It is colorful, passionate, unconventional. In fact, it played a key role in our going to Spain because we were so tempted after having seen Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona.


To get back to many friends’ question, no, we didn’t have any romantic encounters, strictly speaking, like the lead roles in the movie. It was not with such expectation that I went to Barcelona. I actually set out with a sense of loss and sentimentality. Several times, the dazzling sunshine really made my head spin. I wasn’t capable of anything except following Shaggy around. When necessary, I would speak the few Spanish words I knew to get to our destinations. It felt very surreal since I used to be a super independent traveler.


Some people and we are meant to be. It’s the same between some places and us. In the last episode in Paris, Je T’aime, a single American woman goes to Paris alone, without any lover or friend. Yet, her connection with the city consoles her. I watched the film several times, but I never quite understood how Paris did that. Nonetheless, in Barcelona, I was inspired in similar ways. One afternoon on our visit to Park Güell, we drew upon entering, then all the way to Casa-Museu Gaudi, to the huge pavilion where we were accompanied by the Spanish guitarist. The sentimental music and tourists flowed past by me, but I didn’t raise my head at all. I didn’t even mind the attention I drew from them. This was the moment between me and myself.


The following day, I raised my head, to drink in more scenery. I moved at an extremely slow pace. With one step I took, I had to draw a new scene. This lasted until we went to the harbor in the evening for the last sketch as our ritual to say goodbye to Barcelona. I drew 11 pictures in total that day.


Life is full of unfulfilled dreams and love, but I don’t want these tiny frustrations to leave any sad trace in my heart. The following morning, before the sun rose, we strode ahead under the indigo sky. Despite the heavy luggage, my heart felt light. And we were so looking forward to the next stop.


Sunday, August 09, 2009

sunshine and raindrops / 太陽和雨水


I am a fanatic fan of sunny days. I have to specify, I love sunny days so much that whenever there is sunshine, I believe everything is possible. After spending three almost cloudless and rainless weeks in Spain, I wasn’t quite upbeat to get back to dark Taipei.


Last weekend we were drawing sketches outside El Prado in Madrid. The weather couldn’t be finer. However, before we were aware, we were confronted with the first shower in Spain. Most people were eager to hide under the umbrellas originally used for those lining up for purchasing tickets. The temperature dropped abruptly, which only brought lovers so much closer, right in front of our eyes. We were infected with love in the air and couldn’t help smiling. I placed my sketch in the rain, trying to collect a few raindrops. The water blurred my water-blue lines. It occurred to me that this was the best souvenir.


After coming home, Mom was so into reminding me of planting my feet on the ground—I am NO LONGER in Spain. To declare out loud that rain can’t make me blue, I took a one-man stroll in the company of an umbrella on the dimly-lit square after the typhoon sailed away. Step by step, I was lost in the pattering rhythms of rain. And, I felt good!


I did leave Spain, but what if a South European dwells in me?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Me Gusta España, Me Gusta Shaggy / 我愛西班牙,我愛薛吉!


I’ve come home for a few days, but I had no idea what to write. There is just so much to say, but I don’t know where to start. Today I discovered in all that silence I had left behind, many friends sent in warm currents of concern. I guess I shouldn’t remain taciturn anymore.


This trip, in a few words, is the best trip in my life. We were showered with care and good luck all the way from Budapest by Carol, to Munich by our lovely hotel, to Spain by various kinds of people who gave us a hand. I want to thank those strangers we encountered. You will definitely show up in our future exhibit at the end of the year.


There were many recurrent themes on this trip. I constantly saw my past stories in others. Sometimes I really couldn’t curb the urge to go up to them and pat them on the shoulder, telling them that everything would be ok. On the other hand, thanks to my new companion, we had brand-new episodes. I started to take drawing seriously and let my heart calm down. I learned to “live” at my own pace on the journey.


I wrote in my travel log, “If you fall in love with someone, you have to travel together. When you travel alone, you see mostly outward scenery. With a companion, especially someone you love, you get to see scenery inside him or her. Then maybe we will learn to cherish what we have.”


So I can only say, “Me gusta España, me gusta Shaggy!” with my new Spanish passion!