July 14, 2017. On my way back to Taipei Google Maps told me to head to Ruifang station. The bus from Jiufen dropped me off at the bus stop in Riufang.
I wandered for a few minutes. I circled around the block I got dropped off at and still couldn’t find the bus going to Taipei. It was hot and I was starting to get anxious. I’ve been unlucky with commuting the whole day and I wanted to break down.
Firstly, I almost didn’t catch the bus going to Yeliu because I chose the shortcut to the terminal and got lost. Secondly, I got off at the wrong stop on my way to Riufang, and couldn’t find the bus stop going to Jiufen. I was basically lost the whole day.
Finally I asked a local for directions. I chose someone who seemed young enough to understand English because not many Taiwanese speak and understand English. I showed him the page on Google Maps and told me the station was that building directly in front of the bus stop I got dropped off at earlier. I read the sign on top of the building and it said “Ruifang Station” in capital letters. I felt stupid. I didn’t have to wander around like a fool if only I was more observant!
After thanking him, I half-ran to the building. I couldn’t make sense of anything upon entering the station. The monitors that displayed the schedules were all in Chinese! My heart sank for the millionth time that day. How unlucky could I be? I asked the lady who was about to leave the building. She didn’t understand me at first because she doesn’t speak English. Once I uttered Taipei, she seemed to understand. She pointed at the monitor and I barely understood anything but it apparently meant the train for Taipei was leaving in two minutes.
She grabbed my arm and we rushed to the entrance to the tracks. She asked the staff for confirmation that the train was leaving in two minutes and they said yes.
From that moment, we ran. I remember the wall and floor tiles being this pretty pink color, like most of the old buildings in Taiwan. I remember feeling like wind and feeling time slow down as we ran through the empty halls. I remember that moment like a clip from a film where the characters run and the scene seems to be shot by an older model of a camera and it’s very shaky and hazy. I was smiling widely. I live for moments like this. Albeit short, those fleeting few seconds felt infinite and I felt at home.