17 October 2011

a wish into the sky

taiwan052-petit a saturday in taiwan. peace. quiet. nature. an escape from the city.

or so you thought.

taiwan053-petitbecause the entire city of taipei had the same idea too. all 2.6 million of them.

here is a tip for any future travelers in taiwan: on weekends, explore the city. on weekdays, explore the daytrip areas. because the taiwanese love escaping taipei just as much as you.

taiwan054-petitregardless, it didn’t detract from your day.

taiwan055-petityou’re on the hunt for another waterfall.

bigger. better. but no secret.

taiwan056-petit on the way you encounter a dragonfly.

taiwan057-petithe doesn’t flinch as you inch closer.

taiwan059-petitremember your umbrellas.

taiwan060-petitthen you arrive.

but it isn’t what you expected.

it might be large, it might be famous, but it is also illegal to go swimming in.

like the other one, but this time, it’s enforced.

so you make your photo and leave to go make wishes.

taiwan061-petitin the city of pingxi, it is known for a place where one can write wishes on a paper lantern to release in the sky.

and the wishes will come true.

however – what is tough is to find a place that will let you also make your own lantern. it is much more meaningful than just buying the lantern premade.

and happily, you stumble into the perfect shop.

taiwan062-petitgluing. bending. discussing. the lantern is coming together.

taiwan064-petitthen the wish writing happens.

taiwan068-petityour friend dares to carry both a phone and a bottle of ink in the same hand. you tell her, “nobody is that lucky” and takes her phone away as she proceeds to write her first ever chinese characters.

taiwan070-petitthen its your turn to make a wish.

taiwan071-petitthe happy wishers.

note the faded light pink lantern hanging in the shop. it comes into play.

taiwan072-petitthe lantern expert then brings out ten sheets of lucky paper soaked in oil.

taiwan073-petithe lights it on fire.

the three of you let go.

and watch as the latern becomes smaller and smaller.

but wait.

this is all too familiar.

this shop.

the lantern expert.

the lantern expert’s son.

you think you’ve perhaps already been here in this same spot in 2008.

ping04you go into the 2008 folder on your computer and search out a specific folder. and yes – indeed – though now faded in the happy wishers photo, 3 years ago the lantern hanging from the shop was a deep pink.

ping01you were here years ago with a different group of wishers.

december 2008 – 9 wishers

august 2011 – 3 wishers

other than that, not much has changed.

ping05the confirmation is in the lantern expert’s hands.

he is still wearing the same watch. on the same wrist.

2008. 2011.

your photography style has changed.

but those hands, unmistakably, are still the same. the same movement.

ping02you find your wish from 2008. to be accepted into the F.T.A.P.

the french teaching assistantship program.

ping03the wish was released 3 years ago, exactly like the wish you just now released in 2011.

and that wish came true.

you did get accepted.

you did go to france.

in fact, you got more than you wished for.

and now, you’re back full circle for another wish.

although you don’t claim to predict the future, you know this wish will come true as well.

taiwan076-petitthen, back to 2011, you spend the last moments with your favorite londoner doing your favorite activity: writing postcards to all your favorites.

whatever happens in the future – you know you’ll find yourself full circle again with your friend – and you’ll both continue the friendship where it last left off: tea, exploring, and of course, letters.


donna said...

i LOVE the lantern wishes......i live in a community that has a large Taiwanese population....never have heard of this....BUT it is lovely......

Kelly Rae said...

I have always loved the lantern wishes-I have always wanted to do one.

cathy said...

donna: me neither, it's not really a taiwanese tradition, just a tradition in that town.

kelly: i can teach you how to build one! but too late... another day then :D