Lost in Taipei: Chapter 3

Charles Avatar
Street view of Taipei, Taiwan

Stepping Into the Unknown

The Taipei office blended Western and Eastern influences in its decor. The modern interior showcased a perfect balance between contemporary elements and traditional touches. The spacious office space exuded warmth and elegance with its tasteful furnishings and carefully curated accents. A touch of red added a vibrant splash of color, symbolizing luck and prosperity in Eastern culture. This fusion of aesthetics created an inviting environment, reflecting the office’s appreciation for its global outlook and local heritage.

As Monday rolled around, the office buzzed with activity as staff focused on their workload, determined to catch up on tasks and stay on top of their responsibilities. The air was also full of lively chatter as colleagues exchanged updates and shared the latest office gossip.

Wen, a PR specialist and the office queen bee, opened her laptop and was about to start the day with her first cup of Oolong tea. With her stunning looks and magnetic personality, Wen easily commended everyone’s attention. Her presence brought an undeniable charm and grace to the office, making her a formidable figure among her colleagues. 

Xing, Wen’s colleague and the office gossip queen, leaned over to Wen’s desk, a mischievous grin on his lips. “So, Wen, spill the tea. How was your weekend?” he asked, his voice filled with curiosity and a hint of playfulness. As a PR specialist, Wen had her finger on the pulse of Taipei’s vibrant social scene, attending the hottest parties and events in town. Xing knew catching up with Wen would give him a firsthand account of what was trending and buzzing in the city. He awaited her response, ready to soak in the details and live vicariously through her exciting social life.

Wen let out a bored sigh as she replied to Xing’s question about her weekend. “Just some party hosted by an upcoming cosmetic brand,” she said in a monotone voice. “Same old crowd from the industry, beautiful people with predictable conversations. Thank God for the free drinks, at least,” she added, a hint of sarcasm in her tone. She could tell Xing was fishing for fresh gossip, but her weekend had been uneventful. 

“Sorry to disappoint, Xing, but there’s no new gossip to share with you this time,” she said, raising an eyebrow. “You’ll have to find your daily dose of scandal elsewhere.” Despite the lack of juicy stories, their playful banter brought humor to the office, injecting some excitement into the mundane Monday.

Xing chuckled at Wen’s response, finding amusement in her dry humor. With his boyish charm that equally captivated those around him, Xing casually mentioned, “Well, this is not really a scandal,” a playful glint in his eyes, “but have you heard that we have a visitor from New York City joining us for the next few months?” He leaned in closer, his tone filled with intrigue. “Rumor has it that this person might be working closely with us. A fresh face in our Taipei office, can you believe it?” Xing’s knack for sniffing out even the tiniest bit of news always kept the office buzzing with excitement. He couldn’t wait to see how this newcomer would shake things up and add some spice to their daily routine.

Just as the office banter continued, the door swung open. Ming rushed in; his usually impeccable dress shirt now adorned with coffee stains. He appeared flustered; his brows furrowed as he tried to salvage what was left of his professional appearance. The lingering scent of coffee filled the air around him, a reminder of the unexpected encounter he had just experienced.

Xing couldn’t hold back his giggles as he laid eyes on Ming’s coffee-stained shirt. “Oh, Ming, I’ve heard of wearing your heart on your sleeve, but wearing your coffee on your shirt? That’s a whole new level of pushing the boundaries of fashion with this look.”

Ming rolled his eyes, slightly annoyed but unable to suppress a smile. “Believe me, Xing, it wasn’t some amusing adventure. A clumsy stranger with a foreign accent managed to turn my shirt into a modern art masterpiece,” he retorted, attempting to brush off the situation with sarcasm.

Wen couldn’t help but join in the laughter. “Ming, no worries! We’ve got you covered. Just make your way to our PR room. I’m sure we have a spare shirt waiting for you there,” she said, smiling sympathetically. “We keep all the samples from our clients, so you’ll have a fresh look in no time.”

Ming nodded appreciatively and quickly went to the PR room to change. As he left, Wen and Xing exchanged mischievous glances and burst into another round of giggles. Little did they know, the visitor they were expecting from New York City had just entered the office, looking out of the place, and frazzled with an empty cup of Starbucks coffee, lidless. 

Xing’s eyes caught sight of Charlie first and immediately ignited a spark of curiosity within him. As he observed Charlie’s rosy cheeks that added a natural blush to his adorable face, Xing couldn’t help but sense that there was more to this intriguing stranger. With his slightly curly black mane and slender built, Charlie exuded a natural charm that was hard to ignore.

Xing’s keen perception led him to assume that Charlie was not a local and might be the New York City office visitor and the stranger with a foreign accent who bumped into Ming earlier. Finally, Xing couldn’t contain his curiosity any longer and decided to strike up a chat with Charlie while Wen discreetly listened in on their exchange. 

“Hey there, stranger,” Xing greeted, a glimmer of amusement in his eyes. “You must be the visitor from our New York City office.”

Though slightly guarded, Charlie couldn’t help but smile at Xing’s remark. “That’s right, I’m Charlie and I am from New York. It’s been a while since I’ve been back to Taipei,” he replied, his American accent heavey Mandarin tinged with a hint of cautiousness.

Wen, pretending to be engrossed in her work, couldn’t resist listening to their conversation. She admired Xing’s ability to effortlessly connect with others and was curious to see how Charlie would respond.

Xing continued, his words laced with curiosity, “Hi Charlie, my name is Xing, and this is Wen. So, what brings you back to Taipei? Is it all work or play, or both?’ 

Charlie’s guarded demeanor deepened as he pondered Xing’s question. “It’s a mix of work and personal reasons,” he replied, choosing his words carefully. “There’s a lot I hope to accomplish when I am here.”

Sensing Charlie’s hesitation, Wen decided to join the conversation with a friendly smile. “Well, we’re here to make your stay in Taipei as comfortable as possible. Don’t hesitate to ask if there’s anything you need or any questions you have.”

Charlie nodded appreciatively, mainly trying to forget what had happened earlier with the stranger. “Thank you, I appreciate that. I’m still trying to navigate around here. It’s a bit challenging because my Mandarin isn’t fluent, but I’m trying to make the most of my time during my stay here.” 

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