As I put this song on repeat, over and over, I think about how it was. The sound of the guitar strings immediately ushers me back to that little guitar club in Taiwan. It wasn’t “little” in the size of the group; it was actually rather large. The actual space they had for storage was limited though. The school club was lead by a third year undergrad at the school I was attending (for a short time). I remember feeling a kind of peace that can perhaps only be created when I’m abroad in unfamiliar lands and taking time exploring. I don’t know exactly what drew me into this place. I was wandering around campus and I heard someone playing guitar. It reminded me of my campus back home in the States and I so very missed the familiarity of it.
I decided that I wanted to learn to play. I couldn’t really play and I can’t now. But I guess it wasn’t the point. I made friends and they were so welcoming. They signified a very valuable, vulnerable and young time in my life; a certain kind of innocence. I only know this because much time has gone by since then. And so this song brings me back there. To how it was and how it always will be in my memory. I’ll remember how simple the interactions were without any underlining meanings or passive aggressiveness or forced inclusion; it was very natural. They accepted the foreigner that I was and my cultural background. They held out a hand of friendship and that’s a pretty fantastic occurrence in life. I couldn’t have asked for more.
I recall one real distinct memory of my last day. I thought I was going to stay longer, a week actually, but due to abrupt illness, I had to depart the next day. It was surprising, shocking and heartbreaking for me. I felt like I was being taken away from a place I was fond of; where I found a place for myself, finally, with friends I wanted more time with. I was never good with goodbyes. But as I was putting my possessions in the car; to see this place as I’ve known it to be for the last time, I saw one of my friends across the way. I’m not sure if he saw me, but I looked at him for a moment and he was casually sitting. I felt grateful. He may not even know that this even happened, but he gave me a kind of peace with leaving. A peace with the kind of innocence that him and I and others shared while we played guitar, ate delicious foods, laughed about stupid jokes and chilled out through the warm nights.