The last Halloween I had abroad was sleeping in Garde Du Norde on a suitcase in 2009, this one far surpasses it. Halloween was a big deal this year. We have been preparing the haunted house at school for weeks and it just so happens to be Micheal’s birthday, hence, we started the celebration early.
Ximin, Taiwan almost feels like being in miniature Times Square /Tokyo. Ximin is known as the trendy and progressive area of Taipei, where most of the young people live and the majority of Taipei’s gay population. Anything goes, especially on Halloween. We attended a party at the historical The Red House. A western structure built in 1908 that served as Taipei’s first public market. It is one of the most famous historical buildings in Taipei and now serves as a location for different city-wide community and cultural events.
We bought our pre-sale tickets at 7 last week in order to get the discounted price, planning accordingly has it’s advantages. After searching all of NanKan for Halloween supplies, we settled for what we could find between JMart and the CBK. I think we did pretty well.
We weren’t allowed to ride the MRT due to Micheal’s face paint. So we ended up taking a taxi, with our driver slowing down past every public bus so we could scare people through the windows. We finally arrived at the party and met our friends and had a thorough night of celebration, spent mostly between going from the Red House to the 7, where drinks were cheaper and there was just as much entertainment. My attempt at winning the Halloween costume contest was an absolute bust, foiled by a lot of brilliant costumes, Taipei 101 being the 10,000 winner.
The actual Halloween party for school was on October 30th. It was the best day of work as of yet. I think the teachers had more fun than the kids. First we had the K Classes party. The kids were lead around to different stations by their Chinese teachers. My station was “Hungry Pumpkins”, a bean bag toss with cardboard jack o’ lanterns. While the other foreign teachers got to run the haunted house. We had quite a few criers. All the kids dressed up and there were some really creative costumes, with a plethora of princesses, butterflies and superheroes. But they all seemed more adorable and harmless somehow in their costumes;
For the older class party, which came in two waves. We had an assembly before each, where we, the foreign teachers put on a Halloween scary story skit. I wish we had taken a video because it was basically us entertaining ourselves on stage. While this time the other forgien teachers worked in the Haunted House. I got the “Witch’s Soup” station. We had a large kettle of plain black tea and 6 other separated ingredients. The students drew a number 1-6 and we had to add the corresponding ingredient to the black tea. It was great to see the expressions on their faces at some of the concoctions they had to drink. The teacher I was working with told me “Halloween is the one day of the year teachers get to have their revenge on the students”, and sweet it was.
Backtracking a little, I took some time off of going out after the tragic experience at Fulong and my friends and I visited Yangmingshan again and dedicated our day of being with nature to Nic’s memory. It was refreshing to be out in nature. Her and I had some making up to do.
I have been since that day, living somewhat in fear because I have seen that life is so very delicate and should be regarded with utmost seriousness. But you can’t live in fear, especially of life itself, because that isn’t really living. The only way to truly live is to understand that life is beautiful because it is temporary. It holds an ephemeral beauty that resides in each living thing. Only by internally accepting that will you be able to find balance.