Saturday, July 14, 2012

Taiwan 2012: Ping-Xi (平溪), Jiu-Fen (九份)

I have a love-hate relationship with stories in which the guy doesn't get the girl in the end. For example, I was devastated when Summer Finn broke up with Tom Hansen in (500) Days of Summer and I wailed when Edmond Dantes and Mercedes realized the impossibility of rekindling their former passion in The Count of Monte Cristo.  These stories are depressing and emotionally haunting, aptly depicting the cruel realities of love. There are no cliche 'happily-ever-afters'. The girl does not fall into the protagonist's arms. They do not passionately kiss and sail off into the sunset together. The world does not spout rainbows and butterflies. What remain are pangs of heart-wrenching afterthoughts - "I understand that they can't be with each other for the rest of their lives - this is reality, not a fairytale" followed by "damnit, WHY can't they just get married and live happily ever after?!". And still, I am addicted to them.

My newest obsession is the Taiwanese romantic film "You Are the Apple of My Eye" (那些年,我們一起追的女孩).


Boy falls in love with girl during high school. Boy continues pursuing girl throughout college. They form a deep friendship and are on the brink of a relationship when an untimely argument causes them to part ways. Two years later, he calls her again and they reminisce about their past romance and childhood memories under the starlit sky. It's another heart-wrenching story where I'm practically begging the boy and the girl to come to their senses, profess their love for each other, and prance away as a happy couple. But alas, it is not meant to be. A few years later, she invites him to her wedding. And even though the male protagonist spouts maturity and wisdom by saying that 'their past emotions have transformed into a deep friendship and he sincerely wishes her happiness in marriage', my heart still aches for the relationship that never was.

Anyhow, all of this philosophical stuff truly does segue into the main purpose of this post: my vacation in Taiwan.

There was a touching scene in the movie (their first date) that was set in Pingxi, a quaint former coal-mining town in Northern Taiwan that is now largely abandoned.

We each wrote our hopes and dreams on sky latterns, which were then lit, causing them to float into the air. Of course my greatest ambition is "愛" - to live for love. For me, love is such a tricky yet magical emotion. To love your family, your friends, your career, and perhaps one day, to find that one true love in your life.

My cousin and I in Jiu Fen.

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