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Taiwan Part 2: Reconnecting with my roots

For the second part of my Taiwan trip, I took the high speed train from Taipei down to Taichung to meet my dad, who was coming up from Taiwan. My dad's younger sister picked us up from the train station and took us to to visit my grandparents on my mom's side. They don't speak English, and my Chinese has definitely deteriorated with disuse, but the happiness at seeing relatives after such a long time is common language enough. They used to own a restaurant so they cook well, and it didn't matter that lunch was the only meal we had time to eat there -- they went all out. Six or so different dishes, including homemade dumplings and turnip cake. Yum! Apparently, I don't eat enough by Chinese grandparents' standards, but if I did, I'd be way too fat by my Chinese mother's standards...

We also made a trip to pay respects to my grandparents on my dad's side. Their ashes are stored in a big building on the outskirts of town, and I think there's something about moving them to face a certain direction every so often, so it was nontrivial to figure out where they were located. After that, my aunt took us back to the train station, and we went back to Tainan.

The next stop was Pingtung, a small city that is definitely not on any tourist route in Taiwan, but it's where my dad grew up. It was really cool to walk around the city with him and listen to stories from his childhood. Well, actually it was really hot. It must have been 80 degrees or so and sunny, so I was feeling pretty warm in my T-shirt and jeans, but to the locals, it was winter, and many of them were even wearing jackets! We went to the school where my grandfather was principal and walked around (there were some students there, even on a weekend), the all-girls school where my dad's sister went to school, the park where my dad's grandfather used to drink tea each day, the popsicle shop that my dad would buy a popsicle from every day (we bought one, of course), and much more. Some of my dad's friends from grade school were still in town and still recognized him, despite not meeting in many decades. And finally, we walked around the markets and found a replacement for my towel blanket, a gigantic towel I've had since I was a baby.

I've never been one of those people who draws family trees or "longs to visit the Motherland," but it was definitely a special experience to reconnect with my roots.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 28, 2009 11:58 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Taiwan Part 1: Taipei with friends.

The next post in this blog is Taiwan Part 3: Hanging out with Dad.

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