a saturday in taiwan. peace. quiet. nature. an escape from the city.
or so you thought.
because 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.
regardless, it didn’t detract from your day.
you’re on the hunt for another waterfall.
bigger. better. but no secret.
on the way you encounter a dragonfly.
he doesn’t flinch as you inch closer.
remember your umbrellas.
then 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.
in 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.
gluing. bending. discussing. the lantern is coming together.
then the wish writing happens.
your 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.
then its your turn to make a wish.
the happy wishers.
note the faded light pink lantern hanging in the shop. it comes into play.
the lantern expert then brings out ten sheets of lucky paper soaked in oil.
he lights it on fire.
the three of you let go.
and watch as the latern becomes smaller and smaller.
this is all too familiar.
the lantern expert.
the lantern expert’s son.
you think you’ve perhaps already been here in this same spot in 2008.
you 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.
you 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.
the confirmation is in the lantern expert’s hands.
he is still wearing the same watch. on the same wrist.
your photography style has changed.
but those hands, unmistakably, are still the same. the same movement.
you find your wish from 2008. to be accepted into the F.T.A.P.
the 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.
then, 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.