The Keelung Heartbeat series is based on snippets of conversations we hear from the amazing Keelung locals when out and about in the city. We love telling you about the beautiful places in our city, its culture and its food—but what makes Keelung Keelung is the people. By capturing short moments of interaction between Keelung locals in an everyday setting, we hope to capture the essence of what Keelung is.
It was quite late at night, about 10pm. I was out on a walk after a day of being cooped up indoors, taking advantage of the rain finally having stopped for a little. The food cart on my street was still open, although at this time of the night there was only one customer. By the looks of it, the young man had just gotten back from a long day at the office.
As I got closer, I couldn’t help overhearing quite the amusing exchange.
“You look so familiar. I feel like I’ve seen you before somewhere,” the boss remarked casually as his lone customer, a young man who could have been anywhere between his late-twenties and mid-thirties, picked from a wide assortment of ingredients that would make up his dinner that night.
The young man looked up, and if I saw correctly, a little bit of exhaustion lifted from his face, his shoulders looked a little less hunched than they had been a moment ago.
“You said that last time I was here!” he retorted, voice laced with friendly accusation.
“Did I?” The boss chuckled sheepishly. “You come often?”
“Yeah, at least once a week!”
“Ah, a regular.”
As I continued on my walk, a few thoughts started floating in my mind.
What makes home feel like home? A favourite bar; a secret spot in the city to escape to; a go-to street stall you can rely on still being open when you get home late and need something comforting; neighbours whose doors you can knock on when your printer runs out of ink and it's an emergency.
I think that home is where you have a community, where you look around and see familiar faces. Keelung locals make Keelung feel like home.