If you know me well, you probably know that I'm more of a Science and Reason kind of guy. I tend to look at things very pragmatically and always know that even though there might not currently be an explanation for a certain phenomenon that it will eventually be figured out by minds greater than mine. Religion has never really appealed to me, but I did spend quite a bit of time when I was younger and while I was in university studying the Eastern Philosophies of Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism. They appealed to me not only because they were different but because they were (for the most part) tolerant and they weren't about selling people empty promises in order for their good behaviour.
On Monday night just as I was arriving home from the supermarket, I heard Facebook Messenger "ding" but I ignored it for a few minutes, parked my scooter and made my way upstairs. When I got in the door, my dog greeted me as he always does and I put my groceries away. When I finally got to looking at my cellphone, it was a message from my sister with a short and simple message: "Papa passed away."
Being an expat, living in another country on the other side of the world has its pleasures and its pains. One of them is when a family member passes away. I've dreaded this kind of news for a while. I wanted to stop everything, jump on a flight and take the 23 hour flight back home. It wasn't realistic though, I have too much going on at the moment. I still want to be with my family during this time though and it hurts knowing that I can't be there with my mother to help her grieve for her loving father.
The night I received the news, I didn't know how I should react or what I should do. So I turned to the bottle - I cracked open the a bottle of Macallan 18 that I was saving for a special occasion and drank while preparing three blog posts.
I thought drinking and being productive would help out and it probably did a little bit, but the underlying guilt is still there and it sucks.
On Wednesday, I visited a Buddhist temple in town. I've been living in this city for almost 10 years and I've never really had the chance to explore its biggest temple. The weather wasn't really cooperating for doing anything else, and I had dinner plans in the area with a friend who is in town for a few weeks. So I stopped over and decided I would check it out, take some shots and then head on over to Starbucks to sit for a while.
The shot above is from one of the three shrine rooms in the temple. Taiwanese temples are beautiful and are a great showcase of Taiwanese culture, art and architecture. I've been to so many countries around the world, and I don't think any religious building really compares to amazing show the Taiwanese put on. They really are beautiful, and one of the best things about them, in my opinion is that you can have more than one religion under the same roof without any sort of difficulty.
If only we could say the same about our religions in the west.
I'll have more from the temple in a follow post. I'm trying to move on from hiking posts and doing more cultural and street work rather than just landscapes. I do have a couple of blogs already prepared though from a hike and another from a waterfall that will be up in the next few days.
Other than that, I've started to do some work on the "About" section of the site and will continue adding more content as the days go by. So far I've added a "Links" section that you will find at the bottom of the page. The links section contains a list of fellow photographers who I know and respect in the region as well as a few of the bloggers and friends that I follow, and who I think you should of course follow too!
I'll be taking my dog this weekend to a birthday party with about 30 other dogs just like him for a celebration of his third birthday and a few others as well.
Being around 30 Shelties running around in a park should help to brighten up my mood a little bit.
I hope that everyone's week is going much better than mine!