Anway, today was a nice day. I had a long overdue lunch catch up with Rui, whose happiness when talking about George, to whom she will be married (!) this Friday, was very palpable. She may deny it, but it was very sweet, and I am really happy for her. It still hasn't really sunk in that one of my best friends is getting married - finally! We'd both struggled with unhealthy emotional attachments to unhealthy partners, and I'm glad that she's finally broken free of the vicious cycle of unsuitable men and hanging on to unsuitable men because the emotional drama feels perversely good, even as we recognise how unhealthy it is. Perhaps hers is the recipe for a successful relationship. Perhaps I ought to stop maximising and just be satisfied.
But how? How do I stop craving and wanting a visceral emotional connection? Maybe I need to meet somebody with whom I am comfortable enough that the freedom from drama is finally a form of liberation. I don't know. Anyway, the point is, I am happy for her, and I can't wait to meet George on Friday! (I miss out on so much, being away; but some friendships will never fade.)
I then took a Grabcar to the law library where I revised my never-ending 377A paper according to John's comments. And you know what? Getting the fuck away from my disgusting doctrinal chapter, and hence the law, was long overdue. I wouldn't claim to be a philosopher or theorist or whatever, but I definitely find these sort of arguments more interesting and inspiring than legal ones. As a general matter, I prefer dreaming in the realm of 'should' rather than battling demons in the concrete jungle of 'is'. If my PhD weren't 75% theoretical, I would've quit by now.
After this, I met an old friend whom I hadn't seen in 15 years for dinner: Kenneth from Starhub. Yes, I worked in data entry in Starhub 15 years ago when I was waiting to start university. Kenneth was one of the two people that I regularly talked to; the other person kind of became weird. It was really nice to catch up, nice to be reminded of bygone times and yet not harp on it, nice to see a friendly face from the past. He remembered all these things from our one month there that I don't remember, even some girl who sat next to me, and some guy that he fangirled as a joke. I didn't even remember that I told him about my blog!
We were supposed to play tennis but I cancelled because of my arm. We will play next Tuesday. I look forward to beating him!
I haven't written about Taipei yet. There's not much to say. I spent about 6 days there and I visited because I hadn't seen my grandparents in two years and a visit was long overdue. It was almost unbearably hot; it was impossible to be indoors without air-conditioning, probably because ventilation is quite poor in my grandparents' place. Also, I'd never realised how congested and cramped my area is until this trip, until I was there in 35 degrees weather and there was traffic everywhere the second I step out of the apartment block, and I was walking next to the roar and pollution of constant, unceasing traffic, and the hot, unmoving air felt like it was trapping all the dirt and dust and pollutants in the air and smothering me with them. The nearness of the city, once invigorating to my much younger self, suddenly felt oppressive, tiring and draining. I was glad to leave. It was just too hot.
My grandparents are getting older; needless to say, right? Still seemed quite healthy for their age, and it's probably a blessing that I can joke with my granddad in a way that some of my cousins can't. Of course, I get annoyed when they went off about my diet and my dressing, but I just smile and nod and ignore them. There's no point arguing with the elderly.
I ought to go back more often. I will try. I just don't really enjoy Taipei that much anymore; I feel like such a different person now that I don't feel that much nostalgia when I revisit old haunts. It's realisations like this that makes me think if Western philosophy has not overrated the notion of an essential self that remains at one's core throughout the course of one's life, and if so, whether it has not been mistaken in emphasising individuality and autonomy and the like. But I don't know what the alternative is because I am not familiar with it; and it is such epistemic limitations that make me question, sometimes at least, whether what I believe to be right is actually right. For how can I know for sure if my knowledge of other beliefs is limited, most of all, by language?
Anyway, too tired for this. I will just say that I hung around central Taipei with my mom and had coffee and food, and bought some clothes. There wasn't much else to do. I didn't even go to Danshui because it was so fucking hot and I couldn't stand the idea of walking around outside for hours on end. That was how hot it was.
I need to focus on this damn PhD. I need to move on with my life. I'm sick of it. It will be crunch time when I'm back to the UK, and I'm not going to date because it has been a complete waste of time, and so I will focus on the things that are truly important.