It was a rainy Wednesday the day we met Ding Dong and his wife Cheese. My memory is vivid because I remember Ding Dong had wanted to bring us for a walk in the woods near his home, but the weather had spoilt his plan. So, instead of trudging through the muddy woods, we found ourselves back in their lovely home, huddling warmly by their window with the perfect mountain view. Cheese kept herself constantly busy by making tea and feeding us with every snack in her kitchen, while Ding Dong showed us his work – colorful, spontaneous, heartfelt photographs that burst with life – and we laughed and talked and laughed. It felt like we’d been friends forever.
All the time I could feel the day slowly winding down. The gentle Taipei light was fading away, until we finally lost sight of the mountain through the window. The night had arrived quietly. It’s strange to say this now, but at that very moment I felt extremely… at peace. In my head I wondered to myself: How amazing that our lives have converged. How amazing that the world is so huge, but also often so small.
If I hadn’t found Ding Dong’s work on the internet and emailed him out of the blue for an interview; if I had been too busy with work to travel to Taiwan; if one random click had brought me to another person’s website instead of Ding Dong’s, then I wouldn’t have met these two kind, intelligent, warm, affectionate human beings. I would not be so thoroughly inspired by Cheese’s fight against cancer; I wouldn’t have had the chance to witness Ding Dong’s immense love for his wife; I would have gone on living without having known that it’s possible to be able to face some of life’s hardships with such optimism and humor.
I love Ding Dong’s work (and as a book editor Cheese is extremely talented as well), but I am even more in love with the kind of people that they are, and the way they choose to live their lives. This is clear in so many little clues scattered across their home. On their fridge are photographs taken at their little Summer garden wedding, Cheese in a simple white dress and Ding Dong in slippers, their wedding photographs comprising of a number of polaroids. On another wall are more photographs, this time of Cheese in a wedding gown. You don’t see Ding Dong anywhere because he’s the one on the camera. In these photos Cheese is smiling. She shines like the sun. The grass is a sharp green and the sky is so blue it’s like we’re looking at the ocean.
And all I see is love.