I spent the past week in Penghu with my grandmother on my mom’s side and my cousin Peggy, and arrived in Taipei this afternoon. Leaving Ah-ma was bittersweet, especially since we had gone to the hospital for her weekly knee injections just this morning and could tell she was in a lot of pain. Usually we help her up the two flights of stairs to her living room, but we knew this time she would be climbing those steps on her own til the next time we come visit her.
Being here was a stark contrast to my two months back in Hong Kong. Life was slow, we sat around a lot, Peggy and I mostly stayed in and listened to my grandma tell stories about my mom and what it was like running a dessert/fruit stand with 3 kids to raise. A lot of it was stuff I had grown up hearing, but much of it was new- her first impression of my dad (“polite young man”), my mom’s desire to become an artist (she became a pharmacist instead), and the interests she had as a kid. Experiencing her felt like listening to an older, more careworn version of my mother. Occasionally, she would say, “Ah ya! Ni she mei guo yuen, ni bu don.” (You’re from America, you wouldn’t understand.) Which was true. My tenacious mother went off on her own at 16 yrs old, against her parents wishes, to test into a university in Taipei because she wanted to escape small town life and felt like she had bigger fish to fry. Since then, she’s always been the farthest from home, the “one who ran away to America.” But even from halfway across the world, she’s her mother’s splittin image, making decisions with the same doggedness as Ah-ma.
Visiting my great-grandmother’s house where my mom spent most of her childhood.
Uncle Li-Yah was Peggy’s father’s best friend growing up. He owns a cobbler shop near the outskirts of Makung near Penghu, and cooks some mean seafood!
The beach my parents took my sister and I to when we were little.
THE SUNSET HERE IS BEAUTIFUL.
I’ll be in Taipei til this Thursday when I fly home to California (WOOPEE SO MUCH FAMILY TIME!), will blog more about my trip when I get back!