Thursday, May 31, 2012

Beginning Good-Byes

I have finally arrived at the place where I can begin saying "This is my last _______ in Taiwan".  I have been waiting for this day forEVER.  Or so it seems.

And so, as I begin my last Thursday in Taiwan, I am surprised to feel a bit of nostalgia.  Perhaps it is just sadness on behalf of my kids (very possible) or perhaps this is an unavoidable human condition,  Certainly it is not something I expected given that I have practically been counting the days since my return from the States last summer.  Yes, last summer.

In August when we travelled to Kenting with some friends I remarked on the fact that I did not seem to be readjusting.  My friend was feeling it too and thought it was just a bit of culture shock.  (Culture shock comes and goes, it is not a one time event.  I have learned that while living overseas.)  That seemed logical and I put the feeling aside and carried on.  Or so I thought.

But that feeling never did go away.  It grew stronger.  I wish I didn't have to say that; I wish it wasn't true.  I made some friends here - local, Taiwanese friends.  Each one of them are truly wonderful people.  But I ended up closing them off.  I couldn't understand why.  I don't think I fully understand why yet.  I thought I was depressed, but I don't think it was that.  The best term I could come up with was "culture fatigue".  I don't know if that explains anything, really, but that was how I felt.  Tired of everything and everyone Taiwanese, I pretty much holed up in my house and waited for the days (months, really) to pass.

And now here I am, on the verge of going home.  I can't wait.  I long for familiar food and familiar sights and familiar smells.  But yet there is this sadness.

Today I will be going to my kids school.  There are tons of end-of-year events.  A 5th grade talent show, a 2nd grade ice cream party.  It's HUGE for the 5th graders because they will be entering middle school next year.  Except, in our new home 6th grade is still elementary school, so Anna is struggling with the idea that her friends are moving up but she isn't.  Nevertheless, she is excited about the parties.  The 5th grade will have a "disco party".  Anna has been waiting for this all year.  Parents aren't allowed.  (Of course I will be at the school WITH my camera for other events, so I may try to sneak in and see if I can get any pictures.)

Ethan's best friend is going straight to the airport after school today so this will be a final good-bye to his first best friend.

On Saturday we will bring Anna's beloved dog, Jasper, to her new family.  Anna arranged it all and I was extremely proud of her for doing so.  She seemed jubilant through the process of finding someone to take her puppy.  But now that the reality is setting in that her time with Jasper is almost done the sadness washes across her face.  It pierces my heart.  The night that Anna found out we couldn't take the dogs to America with us might be the worst I've endured with Anna thus far.  "No, no, NO!" she cried.  "I changed my mind.  I don't want to move to Boise.  Can't we just move back to our own house in Virginia?"  She was inconsolable.  But then, as Anna does, she bounced back as if nothing had ever happened.  Thinking now about what is to come my body feels heavy with the sadness.

We've found a separate, wonderful home for Ethan's dog, Jade.  She will be with 2 friends of Ethan (twin brothers) in what I call "puppy paradise".  She will be free to run and explore and I am sure she will love it.  But last weekend as the reality set in for Ethan he sobbed.  We will say good-bye to Jade when we leave for the airport.  Eric will deliver her to her new home a few days later.

I long for home.  But I fear the process of getting there is going to be painful.  I hadn't thought of that before.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


I thought I would just pop in to say hello.  Blogger has changed everything and I hope I will be able to cope!  It took me awhile just to find the button to create a new post!

I can hardly believe I am saying this, but IN 11 DAYS I'M GOING HOME!!!! 

The movers were here this week to pack up most of our stuff. It was quite comical. I have a habit of accumulating a lot of "stuff", and the time in Taiwan was no exception. Not little knick-knacky stuff but enormous stuff - 2 gigantic kids beds (not just beds, they are pretty much self-contained bedrooms. Asians are brilliant at making use of every nook and cranny, so these beds have drawers and cupboards and forts and bookshelves all built in. Crazy! And quite cool.)  Here, take a look:

I also purchased a couple of Asian chests (in what I call Asian Shabby Chic style.  I'll have to take and post pictures someday.), 4 bicycles (because we found we could buy great bikes fairly cheap here), and who knows what all else. Packing and loading the container was supposed to take 1 day.  It took all of 1 day, 1/2 of another and an hour on a 3rd day when the movers realized they could fit just a bit more into our container.  This was important because we also have an air shipment (still to be packed!) but that is very limited on weight so we (they) had to cram every last bit of "stuff" they could into the container.

We are now living with almost no "stuff".  We have 1 frying pan and 1 saucepan and some old cooking utensils that I'll throw when we leave.  The kids are sleeping on mattresses on the floor.  (We are sleeping on a rental bed so no floor for us - yet!) 

The crazy thing is I think I sort of like living with no stuff.  It sure makes daily life less complicated!  But I haven't turned the corner yet to where I'm actually wanting to permanently rid myself of all the stuff and live the simple life.  Maybe someday.  Maybe when my kids move away I can send it all to their houses.

That's all for now.  Kids need breakfast so my 1/2 hour of peace is done.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Every Day Taipei - Fashion

I started this post weeks ago.  Things have gotten pretty busy since then and I don't / won't have time for blogging.  I've been to Vietnam and am now BUSY with end of school activities and preparing for our move.  It is likely I won't post again until June or July when I am in our new home with a computer.  But then again, I might be able to post from my iPad.  Who knows...

This is just a little peek into everyday Taipei.

You can buy almost anything from a street vendor.  They set up using whatever they have available, like cardboard boxes.

Often times the street vendors have their wares on wheels and you see them moving about town.

I believe the reason for their portability is that they are selling illegally.  Often times when you see a vendor moving his or her wares they are moving at top speed.  This must be why:

Apparently if they don't get away quickly enough they are stopped by the fashion police.

Here are a couple of people that I think OUGHT to be apprehended by the fashion police!

Cheers from Taiwan!