(2) worthwhile eats ($$+) / cafe crawl / desserts & sweet treats

A Very Happy 22 at a poet

a poet
 No. 9, Alley 295, Dunhua S. Rd. Section 1
Phone: (02) 2709-0068
Hours: Tue-Sun 11:30am-2:00pm lunch; 2:30-4:30 afternoon tea, 5:30-10:30 dinner.

Read more about a poet via Sugared & Spiced here . (Note: While I mostly agree with her review, the afternoon tea menu has expanded and you can now order a variety of salty dishes (pitas, pastas, etc) but only three overpriced sweet items, which is kind of a bummer for a girly afternoon. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend the food or drinks; but since I like the atmosphere, I will say it’s worth it to go in and order an Italian hot chocolate (160NT) & bread with mushroom cream cheese (130NT)–so good). 

DSC_0635So as of yesterday, I am 22 years old. Now, I have quite a few thoughts about that, but those will come up later (along with a series that I’m a bit nervous about posting, but am excited to share!).

In Taipei, it’s quite common to celebrate birthdays by “getting a table”, aka booking a 300-400USD table at one of the big clubs and inviting your friends but being too drunk to remember seeing them and having random people come in on your guest list and get wasted off of the alcohol you paid for and then arguing with your friends over splitting the bill because oh god, everyone’s drunk–well, happy birthday!

This is emphatically not the way I like to celebrate my birthday, and so I firmly shoved down that annoying, strange voice that argued that all birthdays before 25 should be celebrated in a semi-drunken state and at least 4 shots of tequila—and I made plans for a relaxed afternoon tea with the girls (women, really) that I love and cherish most in my life.

DSC_0641 DSC_0644I’ve been dying to go inside the beautiful little storefront a poet near Renai Circle for the longest time, but was always scared away by the prices; so my birthday was the perfect occasion to go in and spend a wonderful afternoon in one of the most beautiful interiors in Taipei.

I tried to explain to a friend once just how important afternoon tea is in our modern Taiwanese culture-it’s something entirely girly, supremely self-indulgent, and a safe haven–an event to look forward to during our week-day toils; a time where all the girls get together and just sit for hours over a slowly cooling cup of tea or a frothy cappuccino, letting the hours slide by as we giggle and gossip. It’s an absolutely essential Taiwanese experience, and a poet was the perfect place for a birthday afternoon tea, as its price point & low-key nature keeps out the weekend crowds.

DSC_0645 DSC_0647 DSC_0652I am so, so grateful for the girls in my life right now. I have to honestly say that, at this point in my life, I interact with less people than I ever have in my life. I’ve been used to having a wide circle of acquaintances and friends, always rushing to lunch with this group or that gaggle of friends–but somewhere in the past semester, I let that all go, and It’s a strange feeling; there’s days where I adore it and couldn’t imagine anything else; and there’s days where I honestly worry that I’m throwing away my youth or some rot.

But ultimately, I’ve been able to walk so closely and deeply with some of the most amazing women in the world this past season in my life, and I wouldn’t trade 100 acquaintances for that.

I always say that I am picky about my friends; I don’t believe in collecting friends, as some honestly do, out of pure loneliness and a yearning to just have someone to talk to. My girlfriends are the classiest, smartest, most talented women I know. In response to the typical question: So, how did you and X meet? I always joke that I pursued each one of my girlfriends to be my friend right after meeting them, but it’s true; each any every time. I saw something in them that I admired and loved and I wanted to  learn from them, because more than being companions and comforters, friends provoke you to become better, love more, learn more, live more, each day.

DSC_0679 DSC_0683

These women (and girl, don’t forget my lovely Gracie) know my weaknesses, my dreams, my fears and have dealt with far more of my nonsense than they deserve; I know I definitely don’t deserve them, or my life in Taipei with my family; I don’t deserve any of it. But I do have it, and for that, I am ever, ever so thankful. Praying that 22 will be even better.


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