I went to Taiwan. On my own. To meet my internet friend – I prefer the term »Brain Buddy« – Winnie in person. And it all went surprisingly well, against all fears I neither got abducted nor couldn’t find the right gate nor had to ascertain that the person I knew only via the Internet was in fact of a completely different character than she might had pretended to be. Winnie was and is exactly how I imagined her to be in real life, maybe even kinder, more talented and funnier. Speaking of being funny, her family is probably the most sarcastic group of people I’ve ever met and I can hardly remember ever laughing as much as I did during my 10-day-stay at Winnie’s. But let’s save all that for later and go back to the roots, back to how we got to know each other and how our friendship began.
About a year ago* Winnie sent me a mail telling me she found my Instagram @LaryRauh, then discovered my blog and really liked what I was doing. Quickly, we figured out that we shared the same interests and mailed each other for almost a month. After exchanging mobile phone numbers and switching to WhatsApp as primarily used means of communication, we started texting on a daily basis about… literally everything. Designers, musicians, actors, movies, books, TV shows and of course each’s creative process. Sometimes we even replied the same answer at the same time, so we started to joke about some kind of invisible wire our brains must be connected by. One day I came up with the term »Brain Buddies« and from that point on, whenever we would share a thought, the other one would quickly text #BrainBuddies to mark the moment as another proof of the connection between our minds.
When chatting over a solid nine-month period the topic of meeting each other in the real world − outside the framework of smartphones, social networks and blogs − is bound to be discussed sooner or later. Having broached what adventures we could experience and which places we could visit together for months, I suddenly found myself facetiming with Winnie and booking a flight to Taipei only one or two weeks after I had come back from Paris. Though it was just a quarter of the year to go until we would meet face to face, it seemed to be so far away. Even a week before takeoff I still hadn’t realized the fact that I would actually take a plane to Taiwan to spend 10 days with a family I had never met before. These are the moments I like to remember the five year old me being too shy to greet our neighbours…
I feel like my brain is still not able to handle the reality, to process all the places we’ve been, the jokes we’ve made, the food I’ve tried. The moment I saw Winnie waiting for me at the airport, my perception of her existence changed from 2D to 3D. Although all the pictures we took together are technically just as much two-dimensional as the pictures and videos we looked at through tiny smartphone screens for months, these photos feel incredibly three-dimensional to me. While editing them their colour scheme attracted my attention, since, despite the fact that they were shot at various times, it’s all very tone on tone with recurring hues, what provides almost editorial-esque nature.
I decided to split the whole story about Winnie and Taiwan into several articles, because there would be too many pictures, anecdotes, bad puns and too much text** at once, so stay tuned until next week for another travel editorial***. As for now: Thank you and your family so much for everything, Winnie! Thank you for all the trips, the food, the gifts and especially the fun and love you accommodated me with. Remember, we will meet somewhere someday.
* the 5th of July 2015 to be exact, I crawled all the way back through my inbox
** for me to write and for you to read
*** hint: magical, unintended colour-coordination again
Winnie Chen and her family, Lary Rauh
July 31, 2016