Lost in Taipei: Chapter 9

Charles Avatar
lost in taipei chapter 9 great peace at harmony

Great Peace at Harmony

Charlie found calm in the heart of Taipei’s exquisite Da’an district, where he made his temporary home during this visit.

This neighborhood was an educational, commercial, residential, and cultural hub. Da’an, derived from the Chinese characters meaning “great peace,” resonated with Charlie and was one of the reasons why he chose to stay in this area, hoping to find tranquility during this trip.  

As Saturday morning dawned, Charlie awoke feeling refreshed, finally able to shake off the fatigue of a demanding week. The constant barrage of emails, video calls, and project management momentarily faded into the background. 

With the sun gradually ascending, Charlie decided to stroll around his neighborhood and immerse himself in this region’s captivating beauty before the day’s heat and humidity took hold. Besides, Charlie was out of coffee and needed his daily dose of caffeine to start his day. 

Da’an, home of three esteemed Taiwanese national universities—National Taiwan University, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, and National Taiwan Normal University, evoked a sense of familiarity in Charlie’s heart and reminded him of Morningside Heights, the neighborhood that enveloped Columbia University in New York City.

As Charlie wandered along Dunhua South Road, one of the main streets in Da’an, he couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the sights and sounds surrounding him. The meticulously landscaped backdrop, adorned with lush greenery and colorful flowers, provided a picturesque setting to the lively energy of this neighborhood.

Charlie promptly spotted a charming coffee shop on the corner—Harmony. Its inviting facade and enticing aromatic brews signaled him to step inside to try a cup of locally brewed coffee.

As Charlie approached the counter, a friendly woman whose warm smile radiated genuine kindness greeted him. At that moment, memories of his mother’s sweet and loving demeanor came rushing back, and he couldn’t help but feel a sense of warmth and comfort. It was as if Charlie had stumbled upon a familiar embrace, even in a foreign city.

Charlie found a seat and was about to savor the rich flavor of his coffee. Immediately, he noticed his phone’s screen lighting up with a gentle beep, indicating a new text message.

Curiosity piqued, he glanced at his phone and read the message. “Hey Charlie, good morning. Miss me?”

Charlie hesitated momentarily before he replied this text with a jovial tone, “Good morning there. Remind me, who are you again?” 

A response came in almost instantly, filled with a hint of flirtatiousness. “Haha, good one. I’m that guy who’s been trying to get your phone number since last Saturday, remember?”

Before Charlie could formulate his next text, his phone started to ring. Surprised by the immediacy, he glanced at the screen to see Peng’s number flashing. With a mix of curiosity and amusement, Charlie answered the call. 

Peng’s warm greeting flowed through the phone in his deep voice, instantly making Charlie blush. “Hey, Charlie, how is your morning?” 

Charlie wasn’t used to dealing someone who showed genuine interest in him, especially after coming out of a relationship. Dating was unfamiliar territory, and Charlie steered it with caution. “Well, I’m just having coffee,” he replied.

As the conversation continued, Peng asked, “Where are you?” 

“I’m at this coffee shop called Harmony on Dunhua South Road in the Da’an neighborhood,” Charlie answered, trying to hide the flutter of nerves that danced within him. 

Peng’s voice filled with interest, “Oh, nice! I’m not that far from you. Do you mind if I join you for coffee and maybe some breakfast? I can meet you at the cafe.” 

After hesitating briefly, Charlie replied, “Sure, why not.”

Charlie’s mind raced with thoughts of what this impromptu meeting might entail, but he approached it with an open mind and was willing to embrace whatever the day might bring.

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