34 Reasons to Be Grateful For

Since I will be turning 34 in less than two weeks, I may as well share 34 reasons to be thankful for. While I am bummed that I wont be eating cake in Taiwan (Western cake tend to be way too sweet for me, anyway), I still have so many reasons to smile. Case in point?

1. My funky retro shoes picked out by my husband – he gets me.

2. I’m still making cute cards for loved ones. While they may be simple, I am still happy with how they turned out. Continue reading “34 Reasons to Be Grateful For”

Happy Chinese/Lunar New Year!

I created this card for my husband. While I’m saddened that I cannot celebrate Chinese New Year with his family in Taiwan, I’m fortunate to be able to have a home on the beautiful island and that is something to smile about. To those who celebrate the holiday, I wish you a fruitful, successful, happy life. Happy Lunar New Year! I still don’t know what my husband and I will be doing this weekend, but it will involve food. Till next time…

A to Z Love List

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A is for amazing tofu. Most of my meals are tofu related – stinky tofu, miso soup, mao po tofu (with beef instead of pork), dao hui (Taiwanese dessert – pictured), fried tofu, steamed tofu, boiled tofu, the list goes on. I like the texture and how it tastes delicious when it’s sweet, sour, spicy or salty. I can have tofu 3 to 5 times a week and not be sick of it due to the variety of ways how to cook it. Continue reading “A to Z Love List”

I’m Homesick (& I’m Not Talking About My Birth Country)

IMG_20141112_195607I want to be a little personal on why the island means so much to me, on a deeper level. No country is perfect but when you found a country to call home, it’s perfect to you. I wrote this in 2012:  “For the longest time I couldn’t even see the menu at the coffee shop so I say my usual and not get embarrassed. When I was at the Metro station, many times I couldn’t see the signs or the map. I would have this intense anxiety wondering if I missed my stop. Tonight was different. I just got my eyeglasses and I walked the usual roads and it was as if I was seeing a whole new world, you know? For the longest time, I was seeing a painting only in two dimension and for the first time, I can see the painting for all its glory. Being able to see the colours more vibrant, being able to navigate easier, and seeing everything in detail is such a privilege. In the past two weeks, I’ve cleaned by teeth and did a whole body check up. I usually get all tensed up when I go to the hospital but somehow in Taipei, I don’t feel as such. It’s an amazing feeling. In America, you can still go bankrupt even if you have health insurance.”

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The disgusting blisters were on the other side of the hand. I will not be mean to you and show them. Although, at that time, it wasn’t that bad yet. It got much worse.

I can’t stress this enough. Taiwan’s health insurance probably saved my life. I’m blessed that if I need to see the Doctor, I don’t have to question if I can afford to (even with health insurance). I’m truly grateful.

I wrote this back in 2014: “One morning I woke up wondering why it was so hard to open my eyes. I thought I was simply just tired so I went back to sleep. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. When I went to the kitchen to get some water, my husband freaked out when he saw me. My eyes were swollen and my face was puffy. I had a terrible allergic reaction. I also had red bumps all over my hands. We immediately went to the dermatologist that morning to get treatment. Well, my eyes got better but my hands got worse. Before you know it I felt like my entire body was on fire. The itching was unbearable. My body is changing and now I no longer know what I am allergic to. I’m already lactose-intolerant – what more do you want from me?!

It was discouraging to wake up every morning and realize I was simply just getting worse. I ended up going to another dermatologist also around my neighborhood. The dermatologist said it is in fact an allergic reaction, so she have me drew blood to find out what’s exactly going on. I got more medicine and went on my way. I will find out the results on Tuesday.

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Yay for affordable medicine. Now my hands look much beter (but I am still not showing you ). You know, I am a very nice person…I don’t like to give people nightmares or get anybody to recycle their meal.

I’m finally getting better, which is good because I don’t want to get on the plane to Shanghai and have everybody freak out when they look at my arm thinking I am contagious. Seriously though, my arms did look rather disgusting. Red turns turned to bubbles and the bubbles got bigger. It would freak me out too, honestly.

The allergic reaction could’ve been more dangerous; instead of my eyes, it could’ve been my throat. It seems my allergic reaction is getting worse each time, but luckily I’m taking necessary measures to find out what is my body reacting to. Thank you, Taiwan, for giving me a better quality of life I wouldn’t otherwise have in my birth country.”Camera 360There was a mini concert at the Hospital and it cheered some people up. Continue reading “I’m Homesick (& I’m Not Talking About My Birth Country)”

A Timeline of the Places I’ve Been (Adventure to Emptiness)

September 2012: I moved to Taiwan from South Florida, and I didn’t look back.

Before my first visit to my husband’s home country in 2009, he lend me a movie directed by Ang Lee called Eat Drink Man Woman. Have you seen the opening scene? It’s culinary art at it’s finest. After I watched it, I immediately called him fascinated to know more about the island. Honestly, sometimes life can really surprise you. One moment I’m in Maine watching the movie, and the next moment I’m standing in the very same overpass that was shot in one of the scenes. I saw the overpass every time I walked home from Shida. I smile just thinking about it.

2009年第一次造訪了我先生的故鄉前, 他給我看了一部李安導演的飲食男女。你看過開場的畫面嗎?那真是烹調藝術的極致。我立刻打電話給他, 並夢想知道更多有關臺灣的一切。有時候命運真的會給你一個驚喜, 上一秒我還在緬因州看著這部電影, 下一秒我卻站在這部電影中出現過的天橋場景上, 我每天從師大走路回家時都會看到這座天橋, 我每當想到這個, 我的嘴角就露出笑容。

vibsMarch 2013: I moved to Shanghai, China 

I never thought in a million years I would find myself in China. I was shocked when my husband’s Taiwanese international company decided to have a branch right in Shanghai. I’m sure I was annoying tourist and for that, I really do apologize and want to thank everyone for putting up with me during the time I settled around Hongkou area. It really does mean the world to me. and I am glad I got to call Shanghai home for a little over two years. (I really did feel like I was in a Woody Allen movie, honestly).

我與老公在咖啡館閒聊,突然我往窗外看, 覺得想要拍幾張照, 我不知覺的想到紐約及伍迪愛倫的電影。我將相機置於桌上, 摒息以待, 並開始按下快門,我不知道拍出來得效果如何,我不是伍迪愛倫, 不過我不在意,因為世界上已經有一個伍迪愛倫了。我不是攝影師, 也不是旅客, 我只不過是一個過客而已。aa3The view from my very first apartment in Shanghai.

Camera 360August 2014: We left China to return home in Taiwan.

Dawen and I went to our old neighborhood we’ve lived in for 11 months one last time. We haven’t been in the area for the past 6 months and it already changed greatly. I admit, I will miss my old neighborhood more than where I am now. Having said that, it’s time to move forward.

C360_2014-08-25-22-31-41-484C360_2014-08-25-22-43-45-059It has been over a week since I moved back to New Taipei from Shanghai. It feels right to be in my second home right now. Dawen and I have been constantly on the move for the past two years. As I was having my usual stinky tofu enjoying the view of Bitan, I realize I can stay here for a while. Scratch that, I can see myself growing old here.

已從上海搬回臺北一週了, 搬回我的第二故鄉感覺一切都很自然。我和大文過去兩年不斷地遷徙, 但當我吃著臭豆腐並觀賞這碧潭的風景, 我覺得我能在這裡再待上一陣子。喔! 更正! 我認為我可以在這裡住到老。C360_2014-08-26-16-19-58-888When I was living in Shanghai, I was yearning to go back to my old life in Maine and now that I’m staying at my mother-in-law’s place in New Taipei, I no longer have the desire to do so. I felt like I have been holding my breath since I left the States; I have forgotten to stop and take a look at where I am.

I’m now looking around and I do like what I am saying.

當我在上海時, 我希望回到我過去在緬因州的生活, 如今住在我岳母位於臺北的家, 我不再想回到緬因州。我覺得我自從離開美國後就像停止呼吸一樣, 忘了停下來去欣賞周遭事務。

我現在正欣賞著我周遭的一切, 我可以說我很喜歡我所看到的一切。

我和大文回到了我們住了十一個月的地區看看, 我們搬離那裡已經有六個月了。我必須承認我會比較懷念我以前住的地區, 話雖如此, 現在已是離開的時候了。

December 2014: We return to China.

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I took this picture on a day where I had no anxiety attacks. It was a rare moment, and I enjoyed every moment of its calmness.

Remember not too long ago I wrote my farewell to Shanghai? I think I made G-d laugh so hard, he (or she) fell out of his (or her) chair and landed on my head. Where am I going with this? I’m moving back to Shanghai, of course! I’m actually kind of happy about this. There’s unfinished business and I simply just have to return. I guess I really didn’t need to write what I would miss about Shanghai, after all. My bad. Taipei to Shanghai, Shanghai to New Taipei, New Taipei to Shanghai. To think I actually wrote, “I honestly don’t know where I will be next.” G-d is truly laughing at my expense.

記得不久前我和上海說再見? 如今我讓老天笑死我自己,怎麼說呢?我又要搬回上海了!當然,我對此決定是蠻高興的。有太多未完成的事給了我回上海的理由。我當然無須再陳述我為何懷念上海。總之,從臺北到上海,再從上海回到臺北,然後又從臺北回到上海,這真的就如同我所寫的,我真不知道我接下來將去哪裡。上天這下子真的會嘲笑我。

2015-03-21-17-32-48_decoI may have been a fat girl, but I was happy at least…even when I had fake Taiwanese snack in Shanghai. It didn’t matter to me, to say the least. Continue reading “A Timeline of the Places I’ve Been (Adventure to Emptiness)”

Alone Doesn’t Have to Mean Lonely

I’m not the first in my family to live abroad. I recently found out that my Great Aunt almost went to Taiwan. Who knew? She almost went to the beautiful island I now call my second home. Not only that, my dad lived in Germany when it was East/West and he talks about how he misses his life there to do this day. The last time I talked to my brother on the phone, he told me our dad was watching the Bourne Trilogy to see Germany in the background.

It got me thinking, you know? This will one day be me. I can imagine myself watching movies simply for the scenes that were shot either in Shanghai or Taiwan. I don’t mean to be melancholy (or a better word for it would be sentimental).

Jpeg2015-04-01-15-58-05_deco2015-04-01-15-53-07_decoExplore the neighborhood

For starters, I went to my local park to see the beautiful flowers. It honestly felt kind of nice to be able to see what’s around my neighborhood. I at least can explore at my own pace. I really needed to get out for a while, honestly. Continue reading “Alone Doesn’t Have to Mean Lonely”

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