Sunday, June 27, 2010


I am "home". The meaning of that word is beginning to be obscure to me. Home is Minnesota where I lived the first 32 years of my life. Home is Idaho where I lived for, I don't remember - was it 15 years? Something like that. It is where I met my wonderful husband and had my babies. Where we felt like we should have an ownership stake in the hospital because we spent so much time there. (SO much, that I am having trouble trusting doctors or nurses anywhere else.) Where my parents and 1 brother still live. Home is Virginia, where we have lived for only a few years. Where another brother lives. Where we love the landscape and the abundant wildlife. Where I have a house that is not fancy or grand but feels like "me". Home is an apartment in Taiwan, where my husband remains. Home will soon be a house in Taiwan that I am very much looking forward to.

We took a taxi from the airport yesterday. As the driver pulled on to the first freeway I laughed. When Ethan asked why I laughed, rather than answer him directly, I replied to the taxi driver: "We have just come from Taiwan where the taxi drivers are so crazy. It feels like you are driving very slowly." He laughed too. He is from India. He said that in India and China and Taiwan the traffic is so crazy that even if the car is going slow it feels crazy. So true. Yesterday's taxi ride was so RELAXING!

I saw a deer on the way home. And the second we pulled up to our house the kids spotted a bunny in the front yard. This morning I opened all the windows to air out the house a bit. I listened to the birds. I really love it here. I am going to miss it.

Two days ago Anna said good-bye to her new friend, Katrina. She and her family lived across the hall from us. We met them in the lobby as we arrived at the apartment from the airport on our very first morning in Taiwan. She is a bit younger than Anna and she has a brother who is a bit younger than Ethan. I could not believe that we met them immediately and that they lived right across from us. Still can't. That had to be arranged by God. It was wonderful. Both families would leave our doors open and the kids would play back and forth between the apartments. There were many joint excursions to the swimming pool in our building, as well as to the pool at the club where Katrina's parents are members.

We hope to continue seeing Katrina and her family when we move into our new home. They will likely be the first people we invite over.

And I can hardly believe that just a few days ago I was here:

Eric and I returned to Jiufen to shop for gifts. As part of our shopping we went into a WONDERFUL tea house. We were treated to an informational tour through their many styles of tea sets and given various teas to sample. Then the girl asked if we were in a hurry. Since we were not, she invited us to learn how to make tea the traditional way. We chose to sit on the patio where, for a few minutes, we were the only customers. I took the opportunity to take some pictures.

Water lilies were growing in a pot! I took a picture to help me remember. This is something I want to do at our new home.

When you are seated you are given a stone like this one. When you are finished you bring the stone to the cashier and she knows what you must pay for.

This is the set from which our tea was served. The stick is part of the process. It is just a stick, albeit from a cherry blossom tree. It was used to stir the tea leaves the first time water was poured over them.

There was a stand like this at each table. A young man came and place hot coals inside. Then a tea kettle with boiling water was placed over the coals.

Here is our lovely tour guide and tea instructor:

After she taught us the process we were left on our own to prepare subsequent cups of tea. I wish I didn't have to show the picture of myself, but it rather sums up the experience. I think I fell in love with Taiwan during this time. Seriously.

We ordered Wulong cookies, which are cookies made with Wulong tea. (In an earlier post I spelled it Oolong tea. I hadn't yet seen it in writing.) These actually tasted quite good. I confess I only ate 1 because I was put off by the green color. But I'll get used to it.

Here is our cookie tray after we finished. Since I love pottery so very much, I had to take a picture. Very handcrafted. Irregular. I love it.

Now I must get busy. I've been awake since 2 a.m. Hopefully I will be more productive today than I was yesterday!


Becky Avella said...

Welcome "home". I love being able to read about your adventures and will be excited to read about your new "home" soon. : )

jmw said...

Don't think I can eat green cookies. I love the round house thingy.

Denise said...

Laura, I suddenly feel like having tea! Only wish I could be up on hill in Taiwan with you. I hope to see you and the kids while in the USA

Barbara said...

Interesting post. A peep into two different worlds in these posts without doubt.