Hey everyone. I wanted to write a quick thank you to all of you... Who have sent texts, emails, and phone calls of your prayers for my time here. I want to know that your prayers are pillars. I save them and re read them in moments over the last couple days that have been uncertain or trying. I am beginning to see the importance of every single piece in the whole puzzle. You each are pieces in this chapter that are so vital. Whether your reading, thinking, sharing your story back to me... It is all so vital for every single person. I hope that makes some kind of sense. You know what I've been doing? When writing these, I'll put this song on repeat, and imagine a single crystal tear being shed out of each persons left eyeball as you read my posts about my family and asian food. Haha seriously this song is so beautiful, it makes me feel like I'm writing the most epic tale ever told. But again, truly, I am being so encouraged and so loved. Your words are helping me actually tangibly believe that God has got my back, as He does all of us. The last few days have been filled with travel so I have not had the same amount of time to sit down and write. So here is a recap with some pictures!
After everything happened with my father the other night, I decided to take a ride alone out to a city called Yingge. Here, there is one street that is solely dedicated to the selling and making of pottery. It's cobblestone street and high sides almost enclose you as you meander through and see many different kinds of ceramics. I love being amidst things that are made by the human hand, there is nothing like it. The cab driver and I share the same last name, we are probably related somewhere far up the line, we look alike even. He asks me about Trump and Lebron James and Tom Cruise. After getting dropped off, my first encounter was with a traditional Chinese calligraphist. I was peering through the window into his studio and he warmly welcomed me into his place. He even made me some traditional tea and pulled out his computer to show me his current presentation he was working on. We stayed and talked there for about 30 minutes. Taiwanese people are some of the most hospitable people I've ever met. So many times have people invited me to sit with them to talk, for tea, for no other reason than the share the time. Taiwanese folks love to eat and hang out together. I hope to carry that sentiment deeply and practice hospitality half as good as they do. I wonder sometimes if we get too busy doing things in America that we overlook the amazing power in simple hospitality, in slowing down for each other - the healing power of "make yourself at home." These random friendships are some of my favorite things about Taiwan. Here's a sweet photo of his studio, calligraphy is so mysteriously beautiful to me. It's the imperfection that makes it perfect.
After we talked he told me I needed to go somewhere. I can understand and speak basic Chinese, but after about a 4th grade level I am useless. So the artist is telling me I need to go see something so he draws me a map. I was delighted to find that the map led me to the Yingge Ceramics museum, which I actually had been to in 2013! I just didn't know it was in the same place. But I enjoyed so much seeing some of the art work in that museum. Here are some other pictures from Yingge. It was much needed time alone to explore some of the amazing things in Taiwan.
This same evening my dad and I went out to Longtan to meet my cousins, and aunt and uncle for dinner. This is my mom's little sister's kids and husband. I love this sweet family. We caught the bus right to the lake in Longtan and ended up waiting there for about an hour and a half. I really enjoyed getting to sit there. I listened to United Pursuit and took a walk around and took some pictures. Uncle picked us up and we went to their house. I have really good memories there of aunt making coffee and taking a traditional asian painting lesson in Longtan back in 2013. It was good to see again. We all went out for dinner that night.
Yesterday and today, me and my cousins shot down south to Kaohsiung, where my mom's side grew up. This is where most of her family lives. Kaohsiung is the second larges city in Taiwan and one of my personal favorites to go. It's really big, but has a really amazing peaceful feel to it, at least the places we have been to. We took a high speed rail train down there, and it only took about an hour or so... which is amazing because the regular train takes about 3 hours. We shoot down on the train and meet my "Ayi," aunt at the train station. The first thing we did was to go pay our respects to grandpa and grandma, who both passed in 2015.
When we opened up my grandparent's resting places, I was surprised to find that a photo I took of my grandpa in 2013 marked his urn. I cannot express how honored I felt and proud in that moment to be a part of this family. I could tell a longer story later. But these two people pictured here created a way from nothing for their kids. I owe so much to them, my whole family does. Thank you Ama, Agong.
The rest of the two short days in Kaohsiung were simply a blast. I got to see my cousin Kevin, who I haven't seen in 12 years. I got to meet his family. I saw my other uncles, who I haven't seen in four. I appreciate this time so much. When we go there, there are only a couple activities. Waiting to Eat. Snacking. Eating. Waiting. That's really it! We just hang and eat, they take us around and show us their favorite things in Kaohsiung. this morning, we went to this really cool restaurant place, if you can call it that, that had a petting zoo, coffee shop and deck that overlooked a international airport runway. So we just chilled there forever watching planes take off and land. It was one of the coolest things I've ever been to. I took a lot of special pictures of all of us today. It was such a perfect day with all of them, they are so amazing and I am proud to be a part of their lives.
My dad and I are about to get on a bus in the morning. We will be on this bus for three days and it's going to drive us all the way around the island. This will be a great tale.