While I was in Taiwan, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Andrew. He’s a fellow ex Xangan whom I’ve gotten to know better the past couple of years. He’s already written a detailed summary about our meet up on the same day (Oct. 18th). I’ll try not to repeat what he wrote.
Prior to our meeting, Andrew told me which exit to meet as the MRT stations have many exits. He also said he will let me know what he is wearing that day. Perhaps he was worried that I would confuse him with someone else and drag some poor Taiwanese guy for lunch. I could see myself doing that. The odd thing is that there was another person that had similar coloured clothes and he was looking at me when he came out of the exit.
We met outside one of Ximen MRT station exit and went to a restaurant on Tao Yuan street that specializes in beef noodles. A friend (another ex Xangan) has been going there for 30 yrs and strongly recommended it. The restaurant doesn’t have a name. My friend cautioned me that there is another beef noodle restaurant with a name across the street but that’s not the restaurant I should go to. We found the restaurant and didn’t have to wait long before we ended up at a table for 2. The person in front of us had to share a table so I was glad we didn’t.
After we ordered I think I told him his voice was a lot deeper than I thought. He has a gentle, soft voice that I’m sure some guys (and ladies) will find seductive. The conversation was easy but it was also felt a bit odd. On one hand, the person sitting across the table is someone you’ve met for the first time and yet we were talking as if we’ve known each other very well …. which we do. We did the usual “so we finally meet” stuff and started to chat. After lunch (btw – the beef noodle was very good – lots of flavor and very tender. It’s 15 Tao Yuan Street, a 2 story non descriptive place – nearest exit is #4 Ximen Station.)
After lunch, we walked to a very large Starbucks at the Ximen pedestrian area for coffee. We chatted about my work, his school, I wanted to know if he was eating well, how he was doing in Taiwan so far, we talked about what’s been going on in our lives and so on. It felt good to connect at a different level and not just through blogs and email. We probably could have talked all day. It didn’t feel like 2 1/2 hours had passed.
Oh yeah, we also talked about other Xangans that he has met. Aside from a brief chance encounter with Sheldon, I’ve never met them (uhm – you). He was very complimentary about each of them … yes, even you Nick. And it’s nice that we have the same circle of online friends. When I started blogging, it was just an online journal. I had no idea it would be such a positive thing in my life.
I have a lot of respect and admiration for what Andrew is doing. It’s not easy going to another country to study. It took a fair bit of sacrifice and I’m happy for him.I know at the end of his studies, he’ll learned a lot more than just Mandarin. Hopefully we will meet again many times.