"This literally means "one life, one meeting/ party/ gathering/ chance." It's a word from tea ceremony that reminds us to treasure each moment, because everything just happens once in life. This gathering will never happen in the same way again."
- Kinfolk, Issue 8
Well, I've graduated.
And I have an upcoming trip to Asia.
So I suppose that this is my graduation trip, although I've already been back to Asia just a year ago. And while I understand a ticket which was that hefty of a price could have been well-spent on another area (Austrailia was a very close second in my book) , I'm still excited as ever to visit Southeast Asia, even if it is in closely following a prior trip.
The saying "ichi-go ichi-e" (一期一会) embodies my reasoning behind making such a decision. I've always liked the idea of going to Asia; something about going back to your roots is just refreshing and culturally enriching. I developed a fuller appreciation for Southeast Asian countries after taking my "Economy of East Asia" course with one of my favorite professors, Kadie Russ. I found that missing link between my ethnicity and my academic work. I got an in-depth look at how several Asian countries utilized different tactics to rise to power, and how they did so in such a short timeframe. Asian countries that had never been heard of by other world leaders suddenly sprung on their radar within decades; and that explosive growth is still ongoing.
Unlike other more developed countries that may have been a better option for traveling, Asia is still constantly moving. Visiting Taiwan as a child feels different than the Taiwan I visited last year. While I adore the history of Europe, I don't feel too guilty about postponing that trip. Versailles Palace will still hold a time of when Louis XIV was in power, the Vatican won't be taken down and replaced by a mall, and Stonehenge will still be prehistoric as ever, even if I visit later. Many large cities in Asia are still figuring out the aura that they want to reflect and exude, and because of this, many areas are still ever-changing.
Every time I meet Asia again, it feels like a whole new experience. Buildings change, technologies change, attitudes and cultures change- yet there still manages to be a prevalent feel of tradition. As Asia keeps moving, I'm trying to catch up with it and witness the changes myself.