Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lessons from the beautiful island, pt. 3

Being in Taiwan this year has pushed me from growing in the greenhouse to being transplanted out in the open, leaving me to learn how to grow on my own and face the elements without them being climate-controlled. There was a lot to learn and the place God planted me was a perfect place to learn them. Essentially a part of growing up is discovering who you are as an individual; for me much of it had to do with discovering I could make decisions for myself (I am a chronically indecisive) and realizing the issues that I am passionate about.

But these last two weeks have illustrated to me more than anything else the progress I've made. My sister came to visit me and help me pack up/organize my stuff before leaving. Originally it was to help me move back to the States, but since I am coming back, there thankfully isn't as much I need to bring. In spite of the heavy rains and typhoons, I was still able to take her on a few adventures. I bought train tickets, booked hotels, and did other things that I otherwise would not have done alone, which proved to me that I could do it. And after all this time, I took one step forward towards becoming more like a native:


I never bargained before. Never could. I was always too shy or scared and let others do the talking. But this time, I was that "other" for my sister! And knowing all the shopping we'd be doing, I had to ask for lower prices. This was a big step for me. But I took it. And found it's not so bad after all. :D

The bargains I drive are still quite soft, but hey, one step at a time. The next goal is to learn how to do it in Taiwanese. :)

Friday, June 15, 2012


Cicadas drone the morning in
Little brook gurgling
In swell with happy tidings
Along with birds
"The rain is gone!" and sun
Heralds open possibilities

Take off to the open paths
The only limit is ourselves
Around we'll go and in turn
Awaken dormant daydreams
Of long-lost friends
Will we find him today?

With wide grins
And panting steps
Take on uncounted adventures
Up a flight of mossy steps
To where those spirited away may fly
Half expecting to see a pair of white ears
Or one long snout.

Instead our wheels turn for us
An active imagination,
Appreciation for the setting
Of stories untold
And we return sun-kissed
Breathless, and happy.

My sister is visiting these next two weeks before I head back to the States. This post is about an adventure we took this morning in Hualien, a beautiful area on the East Coast.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

a letter

Dear Ge,

Today, at 10:00 was your funeral.

We came into the sanctuary as the congregation finished the final strains of "Amazing Grace." Though I knew many of the words, I did not join in for the emotion welling in my throat. I've always thought of death of a loved one to be something like the amputation of a limb--your brain still thinks it's there, when in reality there is nothing. Sometimes I think I can still hop over to Ximen and visit you and your family whenever. Maybe have dinner over that low table with hotpot again. But then I remember. You're not there anymore. And there is a huge void, in all of our hearts. Look at all those people who loved you. The space you used to fill is sorely, sorely empty now.

In my short lifetime, I have buried three family members here in Taiwan. This one seems so wrong. It is too soon. My grandfathers' lives were long, full, and ripe--you were only just beginning to come in to the full blooming of your time. Your handsome face smiles at us from the picture under the cross. And how can I keep the tears from falling.

But there is not entirely nothing left. I have many memories of you. They flash in mind's eye as the music plays and the choir sings. Your little white pet bird. I have forgetten his name. You took it out of his cage and let me hold him. And like you, he was sweet. Gentle. Friendly. Little did I know that you both would also share in untimely deaths.

Hangouts with the cousins. A board game I didn't quite understand. Rides on the MRT. A joke about lip gloss. Waiting long at CKS Memorial station for the rare train home--being so tired I used you to prop myself up. You were ever accommodating.

The older you got, the busier you became. Remember that time we were supposed to meet for dinner but you were half an hour late? I have always hated waiting, but instead I chose to laugh it off. It was just amazing to me that you had two cell phones and both of them were ringing. And you never understood why I laughed so much, but you took it in stride and accepted it as part of who I was. And honestly, I laughed because you were so loveable, even though you were so busily preoccupied.
I remember taking your arm that night when we walked back to the car. You stiffened a little, unfamiliar to American ways. But I was happy because I had the chance to see you again before I left for the States.

Often you would ask me about phrases in English, or try using a few with me. I was always shy to use my Chinese but we laughed histerically when I got "Music Ed" mixed up with "musical anxiety" in explaining my major. More than once I have wished that we spoke the same language. I wanted to tell you about my boy problems back home. You knew I was having trouble and gave me your email address, saying I could write to you. I always meant to do it, but I never did. I was afraid of the communication barrier. Now I wish I hadn't been.

The last time I saw you was over CNY. I went over to your place for dinner and you were concerned that my feet were cold. Yes, ever protective and nurturing. SaoSao gave me tights to wear because of it, and they kept me warm all the way home.

Ge, I never knew you too well, but I always loved you. I know one day we'll make up for it and speak the same language.

We all love you and miss you so much.

See you soon, in Heaven.

mei mei

P.S: If you can, please help the rest of our family come to know Jesus. It is so hard.