Dear world, we have a lot to report on. The second half of November has been very busy, as you may be able to tell from our updated photos. Friends visiting, Taiwanese baseball, and a trip to Taichung! But first, just to share a short video with you guys.
Steve’s father is celebrating his birthday today in South Carolina, and because we forgot to send him a card two weeks ago (to be on the safe side), we just made a video and sent it instead!
I’m really excited about my directorial debut, not to mention my acting debut, producer debut, etc. etc. For anyone who’s about to downvote this on Rotten Tomatoes, this happens to be the product of about an hour’s worth of fooling around work on iMovie, so enjoy!
P.S. Yes, there is a heavy ’80s influence on my work.
P.P.S. Stella Creations is the default name for any creative efforts Steve and I put together. She’s the inspiration for it all!
Long term travel is like a marathon. Now I haven’t actually run any sort of race in my life (not even a 5K) so you know, take it at face value. But from what I’ve learned about exercise and how to push yourself, my take on it is that it is a mental challenge as much as it is a physical one.
I am reflecting on what it means to be traveling for a whole year (when it already feels like it’s been half a year) thanks to a video I first watched several years ago. Christophe Rehage, a German, documented a year of walking through China from Beijing to Urumqi on his camera, and stitched the scenes together with two lovely songs (“L’Aventurier” and “橄榄树/ The Olive Tree”) in French and Chinese.
As crazy as a year around the world sounds, I feel like our plan is a lot more tame than Christophe’s, because we’re not actually sleeping under the stars or trekking 30 km a day on foot. But the mental journey is similar. On his blog, he wrote about what pushed him to do this journey and why he stopped. He originally planned to trek from Beijing all the way to Bad Nenndorf, where he grew up in Germany, but he called it off a year in for personal reasons. He talked about how he looks so free and unfettered on the road, in the desert and under the sky, but how he was also just living by a set of rules that he had constructed about his trip. Occasionally, he felt like even taking a short bike ride and not walking every single step was cheating. Sometimes living under a different set of rules is freeing, and sometimes, you just have to put yourself into a really different environment or frame of mind to discover that there are elements of yourself or elements of life that you can’t escape.
It has officially been more than a month since we moved into our Kaohsiung apartment. Has time really passed so quickly? Is this the fifth time on this blog that I’ve bemoaned the passage of time? I’ll move on then. It’s natural that we’ve also settled into a kind of rhythm with certain themes that come up again and again. Enjoy a picture-heavy post about a day in the life of Steve and Connie in Kaohsiung!
8:00 AM The first battle of the day is to get up. I think everyone is familiar with this battle, but not the long-term kind like we’re waging. We have projects, errands, and things that we’d like to do… but practically nothing that we HAVE to do, unless we have a Skype appointment with our friends or family. On the days when we’ve successfully roused ourselves out of bed before 9 am, we try to take a turn around Central Park.
While living in Asia means that we have to do without some Western amenities (like an oven), Steve and I have gotten quite used to a few innovative things here. We’ve also learned that necessity is truly the mother of invention. Asian cities are some of the world’s most densely packed places, and constrained natural resources and space made these innovations not only helpful but necessary.
One of the first things that we saw in Japan (literally) was a toilet with a small faucet and sink on top. We were at our host Ken’s house, and I swore up and down I’d get a photo, and of course, I forgot, but luckily, plenty of other people online have documented these toilets. Much like some European houses, Japanese toilets tend to be in a different room from your sink and shower business, so to make it easy for you, when you flush, the water comes out of the faucet. You can wash your hands, and the dirty water will flow directly into filling the tank. Pretty brilliant. My family uses a number of water-saving techniques in the bathroom, but it’d just be simpler if versatile water usage were the norm that we strived towards!