The little things

There is not much of a change in seasons here, as compared to most other places in the country. In terms of weather patterns, autumn seems to be much the same as summer seems to be much the same as spring, which for most people seems to be a little depressing since fall is the apparent favorite season, and if there isn’t a sharp drop in temperature and falling of leaves and hot cider to be had, people might feel homesick for whatever part of the country they came from.

But what I noticed one recent Sunday evening when I was walking about in a residential neighbourhood was that there was a pervasive smell of fragrant things being burned, for the most part it seemed to be wood (good smelling wood at that, too), and occasionally I got whiffs of incense and once I think it might have been a scented candle, though since I was outside that seemed to be a little weird. Anyway I often go walking in these neighborhoods and I had never noticed any woodburning smell any time in the summer (and I didn’t walk much before summer). The temperature is almost identical to the summer, maybe it’s foggier more often now but really it’s all just the same thing. But people still were burning woods in their cozy half-million dollar homes.

I appreciated being able to smell the fires, and I think that appreciation was intensified by the fact that if I so much as strike a match in my room and they found out I’d get a ruler to the knuckles and a disapproving glare because I am a 12 year old in a Catholic boarding school.

I’ve found that not being able to live the way I want to live has made me think of the ways that I want to live. I’ve already started thinking of things I want to have in my apartment/house and the way I want it to be set up. But the real question: when I’m finally allowed to live on my own, will I appreciate it? And how long will that appreciation last?




Took a test Friday (and by Friday I mean two weeks ago Friday). Do these tests measure language, or do they test test taking ability? Or ability to guess? Does the speaking test test speaking ability, or compositional skills? If I don’t have a composition similar to the pattern they want, I could be limited in how high of a level I could reach. I understand that as you reach higher you have to be able to create paragraphs, but if you’re fluent but with sloppy paragraph construction you could be at the same level as someone who still hasn’t learned the word for fence or universe.

I had this discussion with my friend yesterday. It was in the context of Starbuck’s. We’d started into the conversation because one of the coffee shops we frequent recently (earlier this year) went through some renovations, it was closed for a couple of months, and when it reopened all of the staff had changed. At first it was no big deal, but the more we went there the more it became apparent that their outlook on coffee had also changed. They have some pour over coffee making devices (nice, porcelain, probably a $200 set) collecting dust and acting as a sugar packet holder. (Pour over coffee is typically liked by coffee snobs). The baristas seem uninterested and are probably just finding some job to make some cash on the side. Anyway the experience has changed and the coffee has changed. Eventually we talked about Starbuck’s and how so many people like it, despite it having a burnt taste, and I asked, what if we were the ones who’re weird? If so many people like the burnt taste of coffee, if the majority like it that way, isn’t that the standard? What if we’re the ones who are weird in liking small-batch coffee, with roasting in-house or near-house and a short time between the grind and the pour?

I can’t help but keep the disdain and pretentiousness out of my tone, but really why drink starbuck’s? Somewhere along the way, because most people like commercial coffee, and because there is the vocal minority who loudly stick their noses up at Starbuck’s and the like, if I come out and say that I don’t like Starbuck’s I’m branded as either a hipster or elitist or something of that nature. It’s not that I dislike Starbuck’s because of their monopoly. It’s not like I think everyone should share my tastes and preferences and those who don’t are wrong. It’s just that I have a standard for quality and I appreciate people putting effort into what their making. Why buy something if it isn’t even trying to be the best that it can be?

Naturally this let to us noting on how Americans like consistency in certain things. Like produce. And hotels. “New city? Oh let’s just stay at the best western because I know what it’ll be like.” It’s weird how we Americans value pioneers and pride ourselves on having a sense of adventure, but apparently that sense of adventure doesn’t extend to everything.


P.S. I guess after a week and a half I can finally publish this.


  • I want to be a Francophile but I don’t know if I can pull it off.
  • I want to be Japanophile but I don’t know if I can pull it off.
  • I want to be a Literati but I don’t know if I can pull it off.
  • I want to be a Castrati but I don’t know if I can pull it off.
  • I want to be a Beat but I don’t know if I can pull it off.
  • I want to have the ability to be amazed like a child but I don’t know if that’s possible anymore.
Maybe that’s why people get bitter. Bitter, not better. They have Great Expectations for the world and when they get to adulthood it isn’t as they expected and are let down.
I can feel myself becoming less influenced by the things I experience, as if my heart is hardening to the outside world. What would I be like if I had seen Pierrot le Fou earlier in life, would it have changed me, instead of simply being “this French movie I didn’t totally understand”? What if I had read On the Road last year rather than when I was 20? What if I had read Old Man and the Sea when I was 20 rather than this past April?
All about that 台北咖啡:20140419_113839