Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I'll go to the UK next week / 下個星期去英國


When I went traveling eight years ago, Grandpa passed away. Since then, I have had a very comprehensive understanding of the unpredictability of life. This time before leaving, I go to say goodbye to Granny. I  chat with her in my very poor Taiwanese. When she can't understand me, she will look at me with a puzzling but tender smile. John and Sharen sit by us, eyes glued to the TV like two big and carefree babies. After Mei-li finishes cooking dinner, she joins our conversation. We have a very calm yet joyful typhoon night.


Having to part endows me with new insight into the same life. Granny has a huge bottle of white gourd pickles. When her daughters come home for a visit, she'll drag her small and skinny body to move to the balcony. She stands on her toes, her hands fish for the pickles painstakingly. I offer to take over the plastic gloves and give her a hand. The pickles are soft like jelly. With my hand groping in the brown juice, it feels quite funny. Mom, who always fights to do this and that for me, is totally at ease with Granny's service. Adorable... 


Granny still traveled abroad before her seventies. Now she can't even afford a short trip to Taipei. Once after I returned from France, she asked me what the buildings there looked like. It didn't dawn on me that Granny is actually very international until then. Even when we are watching a travel program introducing Dubai, she keeps asking where that is. It turns out that nobody knows how to say the Middle East in Taiwanese. Even Sharen, whose mother tongue is the dialect, can only think of a lame answer such as "Oh, it's just a foreign country..." I wonder what Granny sees when she sits on the stool under the indigo umbrella on the balcony. 


I hope Granny sees more than our parting scenes, or just the school right across from the apartment. She always murmurs that because she didn't receive any education, she couldn't work. I go on saying to myself silently, thus you can't have a life of your own. I, on the other hand, have always been living my life, so my lesson is about seizing important people around me. 


After watching a lot of TV, Sharen rises, ready to go home. I tease her, "You haven't even said anything to your mom! In the future when I go visit you, I'll do nothing and sit there watching TV." She smiles feeling embarrassed like a child. John can't help making fun of her as well. We don't profess in sweet talk, but we often tease one another in that way. 


I know Granny doesn't like to take pictures, but I still take out my camera with hesitation before leaving. I ask her if I can take a photo with her. John, Sharen and Mei-li keep yelling for me to go ahead. Granny mumbles that she is not good-looking, but she is very beautiful especially when she miles. 


Granny asks, "Are you going to the UK next week?" I reply, "Yes, I will miss you. When I miss you, I will look at your photo. Promise me to take good care of yourself." 


In fact, if Granny raises her head when relaxing on the balcony, she'll see my sky...


PS: Yesterday I found a song titled "I'll Go to the UK Next Week" by Chen Chi-jen. I have the feeling that it is tailor-made for me. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

to change or not / 守舊或革新

Etsy有個好玩的地方,每個經營者都看得到自己商店的統計數字,包括來訪的人數和訪客來源,至於商品的受歡迎度則是公開的,這些資料對店家很重要。經營Little Room兩週,最有人氣的是第一個放上去的商品─一百種愛情,剛開始幾天大家好像沒什麼迴響,讓我會想改變商品的風格,結果現在回頭發現最初的作品受到肯定,我不禁想,要不要回去做類似的東西呢?我便能體會為何當紅的許多藝術家或音樂家最後會被同一種風格所限了。最後我在守舊和創新之間找中間點,反正明天還可以選擇更創新嘛!

There's something fun about Etsy. Every seller sees the shop statistics of their stores, including the numbers and sources of visitors on a regular basis. The popularity of items is made public to everyone. The information can be translated into very significant messages for sellers. Having run Little Room for two weeks, the most popular item so far is the first one--100 kinds of love. In the first few days, I had the impression that people didn't think especially highly of it. Thus I kept thinking up items of completely different styles. Now I can't help wondering, shall I repeat similar styles or themes? I finally understand why famous artists or musicians stick to the same style. In the end, I settle for a middle point in between. Well, I can always come up with something totally new tomorrow!

每日一物:好朋友盒─九張一組─每張9.5 cm x 9.5 cm

object of the day: wonderful box of good friends--card set of 9--each 9.5 cm x 9.5 cm

Saturday, August 27, 2011

my beloved city / 我鍾愛的城市


When I went to the States for studies at the age of 23, I considered it a perfect getaway that would reverse my life and the only secret to happiness. It turned out that I was constantly groping for my way. Not every moment was pleasant, but I learned to grow up. Afterwards, when I looked back on the year, I kept thinking that if I had another chance to live abroad for a while, I would for sure find a balance within myself. It was merely wishful thinking, but now it's becoming the reality. However, this time, I take a completely different attitude even before departure. In the past eleven years, I have come to love my city and changed my personalities and ways of thinking. This place, full of beautiful people and sites, is such a huge part of my life that when faced with folks and friends' sentimentality, I always reply with assurance, "Before you know it, I will be home again..."


Not wanting to leave empty-handed, I began to record the sky of Taipei. I used to chase after the clouds in foreign countries, but now it's my beloved city that matters the most.

夏日傍晚六點半的台北市 / the cityscape of Taipei at 6: 30 pm on a summer day 

夏日傍晚窗外的台北 / Taipei outside my window on a summer evening 

夏日早晨五點多的台北 / Taipei at 5:30 am on a summer morning 

夏日早晨的台北101 / Taipei 101 on a summer morning 


The sky is beautiful because underneath it is the love between me and my people. I have been showered with best wishes and gifts. Hui literally prepared the whole package for me from inspiring me to go to the UK to hooking me up with her friend in London and giving me the oyster card. My dear family, who is always my shoulder, is so afraid that I will leave them behind that we've been touring and eating and enjoying life this whole summer. Von has reminded me several times to get on MSN so that he can chat on a regular basis with me like in Taipei. He promises never to forget me. Also, my present and past kids have delivered sincere wishes to last for a whole year. My colleagues at work can't help but send encouragement and vibes and guard my empty seat in the office. Dear Dee will fly with me to London, friends from Europe have planned to travel to London for a visit, and even new friends introduced through six degrees of separation have contacted me. I still think, give me some more time to say goodbye to those I love...

Friday, August 26, 2011

a designer's life / 設計師的生活


Since I decided to re-open my Etsy shop, I have gradually grasped the pattern of a Soho artist. Unlike other jobs, there is no specific 9-5 schedule. This week I have so obsessed about the planning of new products that I can hardly fall asleep every night. It has been 13 days since I started Little Room. Though the sale number remains zero, I can by no means stop coming up with new products. The buyers see not only every single product. Instead, they also want to know if a seller is dependable and consistent. It is a fatal mistake for me to have left my web store alone for 4 months. This huge blank signifies the same thing as the years without any work experience in job applicants' resumes. The simple statements or numbers actually convey crucial messages.


It's far from enough to be blessed with creativity only. There has to be a fixed schedule every day, but sometimes my physical condition can't meet the demands. I might think I'm almost there, but the idea can be overthrown one or two days later. To be honest, this is very depressing. One of the getaways is to clean the apartment, which turns out to offer me temporary pleasure. I'll start anew after sweating all over. If I can't modify the idea, I might as well move on to the next one. For example, I can't stop seeing mountains and trees since I went on a hike yesterday. In a word, every little detail in my daily life can inspire me.


object of the day: I love nature original postcards--set of 2--5''x7''

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

courage set / 勇氣包


I need to create for someone for some people. Even though my main target is producing products, most of my inspirations still come from folks around me. For me, that is the happiest form of making something. Often new ideas spring from pointless chitchats with others. For example, my conversation with Meiyen a few days ago made me come up with the courage set. After all, we might not have someone next to us when we are low. At this moment, if we can draw an envelope from the courage set, we'll be recharged with vibes right away because of the words of encouragement!

Little Room / 小房間


Recently I've been constantly asked if I am thrilled about the coming trip. I usually pause before replying, "I am too busy with my everyday plans to dwell on the change that will occur after next week." Etsy takes up most of my time. And now I strongly wish I enjoyed wide publicity. It's funny how a decision can drastically change a person's thinking. 

除了每日花許多時間在書桌前做手工,自己可以感受像蝸牛般的進展,其他跡象並不明顯。熱情的佳璇媽讓我準備名片,放在Luco Cafe,以擴大我的圈子,我一張一張親筆寫繪,特別能夠理解手工業的艱辛。

Spending tons of hours at my desk doodling and designing every day, I can feel my slight progress at a snail's pace. Apart from that, I can hardly tell others with concrete evidence how far my efforts have taken me. Erica's mom lets me prepare my business cards and place them at Luco Cafe to expand my circle. I draw and write on each card with my two hands, and that's why I completely understand the difficulty of starting a business from scratch. 


But I tell myself, if I stick to my goal, there'll be a day when I make it! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

family trip / 家族旅行


This summer I visited the sea and the mountains. Though I've always been a fan of seascape, the heat beats me when I am exposed to the omnipotent sunshine. Lately folks and friends around me have been more aware of the remaining days before my departure. Sharen and John insist that we take family trips together, and the outing to Mingchih turned out to be the most beautiful trip in this summer. There is dazzling sunlight in the mountains, but the temperature is more than friendly. Along our way, we are constantly comforted by the gentle breezes. After I leave, images of the place will surge whenever I think of my family.

山 / mountains

樹 / trees

庭園 / the garden

水 / water

雲 / clouds

我們 / us