Greener Grass

Taiwan is only a memory away. With the diversity of folk and festivals in St. John’s, the memories are coming thick and fast. The problem with my memories of Taiwan is that they tend to be Utopian, drawing me into a life that never was. How do I accept my new reality when I keep looking back, longing for a situation that did not exist?

Just as Quidi Vidi Lake filled with boats for the Royal St. John’s Regatta, my head filled with fond memories of Taiwan. St. John’s recently celebrated its 140th Regatta. Reportedly, St. John’s is the only city in North America to have a holiday of this type, the date of which is even adjusted for weather if necessary. What I find more interesting than the event is its similarity to Taiwan’s Dragon Boat Festivals.


(Photo credit: kenkilfedder)

The Sunday before the Regatta was St. John’s Lantern Festival. Although the St. John’s counterpart was not even close to the scale of those held in Taiwan, just hearing about it triggered memories of fireworks and paper lanterns floating towards the heavens, the iconic Chinese Zodiac Lanterns, as well as lanterns of every conceivable size, shape and colour.

Main Lantern in Taipei Lantern Festival 2006

Main Lantern in Taipei Lantern Festival 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Main Lantern in Taipei Lantern Festival 2007

Main Lantern in Taipei Lantern Festival 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On my way home after a rough day in the office, the bus passed by a tea shop – ‘Formosa Tea’. Without even entering, I know that despite the store’s name, its staff cannot match the quality, price or variety of tea offered in Taiwan.

As memories of Taiwanese tea became so real I could taste them, the bus passed by a church with a billboard which read:

“The grass is greener where you water it.” -Neil Barringham

By the time I reached my stop, my water bottle had started leaking. Perhaps symbolically, I emptied its contents onto the nearest patch of grass I found.

How do I accept my new reality? The water had no sooner hit the ground when an epiphany hit me like a cold shower. I accept my new situation by investing fully in it, by looking and moving forward. I do take a breather every so often to reminisce, but now I ensure that the past does not consume my present. Moving forward is much easier when both my mind and feet are committed to the task.

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  1. It’s good to move forward. Sometimes I miss Poland the same way but there’s not going back. Even if I returned my friends are gone now, my family is no longer there, and shoot, that was just a year ago.

    I think its important to throw yourself into the life you have wherever you have it. Go to the festivals, the shows, the dinners, the community events, the potlucks and meet and greets. It might not be Taiwan, but you’re sure to find some beautiful things about Canada.

    • This is true. Canada is a beautiful place. I definitely need to spend more time appreciating it and its great people.

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