A building not too far from Taipei Main Station, across the street from the back of the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi building in Taipei, Taiwan. Taken on the 9th of February with a Nikon D200 and a 18-200mm VR lens. Part of the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Series 1.
Old friends have been on my mind a lot these days.
Let me explain, I don’t mean the acquaintances or the people you know from work that you see from time to time. I mean the old friends, the people you grew up with and really got along with well. And when I mean old, I mean old. I am 30 years old and I am proud to say that I am still in contact with people that I knew 20 years ago. As the years pass, you see that most people that you know will not give you any meaningful relationships. Even people that you thought were very close, in the end time and distance will end them.
Today I have had contact with two old friends.
You see, I was born in Germany and lived in France before moving to Quebec in 1986. I lived in Germany from 1976-1983 and in France from 1983-1986. Since I travelled and moved around a few times, those times are partitioned and burned into my memory. I still remember my trips to India that I took at ages 4 and 6. Sometimes I wish I had total recall of all of the events in my past.
I remember playing Star Wars with my friend Raphaël. I remember the kissing game we played as kids with Estelle when I was about 7. I remember Johnathan’s birthday party, which I never got to go because we couldn’t find it.
One friend is named Camille. I knew her more than 24 years ago. I was very happy to get an email from her today. She is finishing her second post-doctorate at Harvard University in biology at the moment. That is pretty impressive. She is in Boston right now with her husband. She told me that she had been in contact with Raphaël and Lenka (another one of my old friends) most of her life. She visited Raphaël on his different postings throughout the world. I envy her. For the apparent stability that she had in her life. I sometimes wish that I had never left France and stayed in Strasbourg until university.
JS in the St-Jean Baptiste Fête of 2005.
Another is JS. I have known JS since the age of 10. We studied together in grade school and secondary school. Met up again in college and university. He left for France to finish a masters in Paris a few years ago. Then, he started his doctorate. At one point, he got tired of it all and left to travel India for a few months, before settling in Thailand.
He came back for a few weeks last year and left for good for Thailand.
At the time, I was a bit shocked, but I knew that he had been a world traveller, seen things that I would never see and that he had experienced life in another paradigm.
He travelled in India, the country that my parents came from. My wife has been in India. Only I have not been in my adult life. I have been there twice as a child. But never as an adult.
I had been on vacation for the last week, so I managed to IM him today. It was good to write and think in French again for a few minutes. I plan on seeing him next week, in Phuket.
For us, this marks a landmark in our lives. This will be the first time that we will travel to another country, since our arrival and since our honeymoon. We have already made plans to visit Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philipines and Myanmar. Every holiday that I will get, I plan on traveling.
But I always plan on coming back home to Taiwan. All of our vacation to Thailand has been paid off already. All that is left is to buy the cheap goods that we have heard so much about in Thailand.
As much as I understand other people, I am very happy to have my constant companion with me, my wife. When we are together, everything is OK. I don’t think that I would have come to Taiwan by myself. It would have been too hard. But with my wife, it’s no problem.