Taiwan: Mic Checks, Sleeping In, Your Self & Others

Loved Taiwan. The food was ace, the weather although with pouring rain in the mornings was still very pleasant. Lost a couple of umbrellas here so I assume we’ll be coming back! I’ll explain: I remember when I lost a beautiful green and blue scarf in Berlin back in 2009, my Mongolian friend said to me that it was okay because it only meant that I’d be back. For all the strange superstitions from my mother and father lands, some of them are oddly comforting. In any case the first umbrella came free, the second cost me like 200 NT which is like 50 RMB like 7 USD I think. The first umbrellas was borrowed, tried to make up for losing it by buying our friend a new one. Nope. Lost it, too. So strange how quickly we forget how fortunate we are. Traveling, with love, meeting people, thinking things are simple pleasures. All I ever wanted my life to be back when I was 15 although back then I imagined myself in Europe, speaking Italian, and never in Asia 🙂

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Taiwanese people are some of the sweetest most polite people I have ever come across. I have a newfound appreciation for my Taiwanese classmates back at uni and almost feel bad that I was so ignorant of such a wonderful place. Their metro cards are cute and when you tap to go in the metro the machine makes a videogame sound like you just jumped up and grabbed gold coins for the next round. Very kawaii stuff reminiscent of the Japanese influence. Their landscape is green and lush so people go hiking quite a bit. It’s no wonder people seem healthy and happy. Oh, and the politeness. Listen, those priority seats in the train? Here in Taipei nobody sits in them even during rush hour! Impressive af. Also, people put down their umbrellas on the sidewalk if there is cover from the building. Every. Single. Time. If I sound a little weird, maybe you haven’t been to China and maybe I’ve already grown accustomed to “rough China”- ha. The taxi drivers in Taiwan were so well kempt, minding their manners with their hellos, goodbyes, and thank yous. It was glorious.

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On a random note (perhaps not so random since I am always thinking about how people relate to one another), the couples I meet along the way have got me thinking lately about relationships and how my own relationships have morphed in the past decade. How vastly different are relationships from when we’re in high school, then university, and then post-grad? In each step we learn about others and ourselves simultaneously. And due to increasing or decreasing maturity levels, where we are in life with jobs, education, emotionally, it seems that what we give and what we’re willing to take from people differ from one season to another. In each relationship, we go correcting false ideas of love, need, and respect in our selves and each other over and over again until hopefully we “get it right”. Therein lies the real test of commitment, I think. Like how responsible are you gonna be for yourself and then be willing to mold around another person? 

Life is a quarry out of which we are to mold and chisel a complete character. -Goethe

Now in my mid 20s, I reflect on my ideas of love and friendship once again. Some ideas have remained the same because forever the hopeless romantic I still believe that if the sparks are there then go with it and commit to it. It’s the stuff of life, those sparks. Then some others have changed dramatically over the last couple of years, such as that I will never be complete and it’s actually okay and neither is the other person. It’s a constant push and pull for harmony, but that’s the adventure. I still seem to be learning that I am the captain of my ship and that everyone else’s presence is simply a suggestion. Some are good suggestions, some are bad and the choice to follow is ours… so long as we have perspective and discernment as to how we, also as imperfect individuals, mesh with the energy of others. It’s a more calmer process away from the claws of naïve youth too where we go every way the wind blows. Have you guys ever heard the saying “the first forty years of childhood are always the hardest”? I always find comfort in this saying.

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Tagging along with comics is always an adventure. Between Thailand and Taiwan, I am becoming familiar with the work, the network, the talent, and the big or small mishaps that go into organizing a show. What I find myself more mesmerized by (for lack of a better word) is the 15-20 minutes before the show when the comics are taking their last looks at their notes. It’s something about the focus in the eyes, the resolve. In between moments, they are ever so aware of the crowd, the faces, the energy. Labels are so misleading. People are never just their labels: writers, comics, painters. There’s vital observational skills and muscles being used from the prepping the show, to the beginning up until the very end where after mingling with audience members and fellow comics, the comic plays back his work to himself with sober judgment of what worked and didn’t. Every crowd is different. The same can be said for writers, painters, and the like. We watch people and interact with it in our own way… then dare to create something.

As for me, what am I working on lately? Between the hours spent with my kids, I am writing, writing, writing. Trying to get ahead on this anthology and organizing them into categories. Rereading them wondering if anything needs to be changed. I’ve already come up with the name for my anthology (!) and have enough to make a short book of my thoughts, ruminations, and ideas about love and life. Ah, sounds deep doesn’t it? It’s been a long time coming. You see, I want it to be a beautiful collection to share with friends and family and hopefully the public. Aside the anthology, I’ve been begun writing my novel. It’s a little bit everyday as I gave up on the notion that genius striking me as it is for Gabriel Garcia Marquez when he decided to write One Hundred Years of Solitude would never happen. In my quest to keep myself busy in a creative way, I’ve also done this: http://www.instagram.com/mishkanotes.photography It’s a new life, new life… All the while, I’m working my day job trying to make ends meet, with swell company, a fridge full of food, pen and paper…

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I’ll leave you guys with tunes by Japanese jazz musician Ryo Fukui. It’s exquisite:

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