I will probably never be this honest for a very long time, but I do fear I’ll end up like my mother. I suffered the same childhood as her, but I thought since I never really knew her as a person – I wouldn’t become her. In the end, I remind people of her; a pale version of her. I have the same perspective of the world. I also can’t can’t take care of myself. I’m talking about my mother.My childhood filled with foster homes, temporary mothers, and empty promises. I was constantly on the road; not knowing where I’m heading next. Broken homes with hostile environments. It’s kind of scary to all of a sudden view yourself in another way when you’ve been told otherwise by the people you were supposed to trust. I graduated from high school with confusion. All the years of speech therapy and ear surgeries couldn’t help me become confident in myself.
Once upon a time, I used to be ambitious and hopeful; the sky was the limit. How do you re-wire your brain when you thought you would never make it this far? You didn’t think you’ll meet the future and now the future is here, you wish you weren’t.
I’m too old to dream of becoming a rock star and I’m too young to be experienced in anything. I fear my time has already passed on by and I’m simply standing on the sidelines. I will be the most vulnerable I have ever been in all my life in Taipei. I honestly don’t know if I am truly up for it.
Fast forward. When I first stepped on Taiwan’s soil, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I’m on the other side of the world. Despite of my jet lag, I looked out the window from the car and saw everything so unfamiliar yet it somehow felt like home at the same time. Neon signs lit up my eyes and I couldn’t see the stars due to the light pollution. I poorly attempt to read the Traditional Chinese Characters. My heart may sleep but I stay awake for the adventure. I felt the energy from the strangers on the streets; they either had destinations where they need to go or they were simply lingering around trying to get out of a rut.
You know what, though? Living in Taiwan was one of the best decisions I ever made. I left my family in Maine where I spend most of my teenage life and yet Taiwan felt just as comfortable (if not more).
I’m sharing this video because I think this person did a great job capturing a glimpse of how I felt when I was living there with my husband.
I must repeat this ’cause I feel this so strongly about this. It must’ve been mind-blowing to grow up during the 1970’s and see all the changes as time roll by. It wasn’t till the 1980’s when Taiwan truly became free. My husband grew up in an era where Chiang Kai-Shek was praised. There was no such thing as freedom of speech. You couldn’t speak of communism without getting arrested and labelled as spy or traitor. Even the offspring of the people who came with Chiang Kai Shek’s military to the beautiful island has a different mindset when it comes to their own identity. Rightfully so.
Fast forward yet again. I now live in a studio apartment in Shanghai temporarily. I hang out at coffee shops to draw and eat at Muslim restaurants (where I can have dumplings without the pork) on a daily basis. Shanghai has grown on me (or perhaps I’ve grown on Shanghai). Either way, I appreciate the opportunity to be here. How did we get here? Dawen was sent here with his (now former) Taiwanese company.
Fast forward, fast forward, fast forward. Dawen and I moved back in my mother-in-law’s place for a few months and I think that was the best decision we’ve made. I got to have a stronger bond with my mother-in-law and my husband got to, as well. I miss her already.
I walked across the bridge and saw the Jingmei River instead of taking the MRT. It was so worth it. I even remembered what I wore and what we talked about. Every. little. detail. imprinted in my brain even a photograph can’t capture.I liked the fact that while I lived in a city, I still had a view like this.
Fast forward. Bubble tea even at the airport in Taiwan is much tastier than anywhere else. Well played. Dawen and I are going back to Shanghai.
Just a couple of days ago. Moving is never easy regardless the distance. It was a very exhausting first day in Shanghai but that’s okay, I am happy to be here. I lugged a suitcase longer than the length of my legs, so imagine how hard it was to take it up and down the stairs. When I first arrived at the apartment we’re staying, the elevator wasn’t working. I had to lug my suitcase to the 5th floor among other things I was carrying. Due to the weight of what I was carrying, there’s internal bleeding in my arm. Sadly, I am very weak. I really need to learn to a carry a suitcase that wont be overtowering my body. Oh, one of many cons of being short.
My first meal in Shanghai. We went to a Muslim noodle place and fortunately I was paying attention to what I was eating ‘ cause I found a piece of wire-y thread in my noodle that most likely came off from the sponge. That could’ve been lethal. Nevermind seeing a strand of hair or dead fly, that could’ve been serious (not that seeing a strand of hair or dead fly isn’t serious, but….yeah). There was a man who accidentally swallowed the same thing that was in my noodle and it penetrated his heart. I should’ve taken a picture of it but I already took it out of the dish not realizing what it was. My husband and I will be going to another Muslim noodle place in the future.
The moral of this story is that
life is unpredictable. Okay, maybe it’s a little predictable at my expanse. You can read what I want over here. Still, when you feel like there’s a rainstorm in your head, it never lasts long. When you feel like you’re up in the clouds, embrace it. Life is what you make of it even when it feels like there isn’t a door to open. There’s always a window.