Note: Written May 9, 2015 and never published it until...9 days later. :)
I went to Taiwan for only a week, and I miss it. It is crazy to have an entire extended family on the other side of the world who poured such generous love with such expectancy. I cannot get over their abundant warmth and kindness.
My hotel room was on the corner by the elevator. During my short time there, I loved to look out the window onto the street and neighboring housing structures. I was always up very early, and naturally, so was my mom. She came to my room and we'd go down the elevator to get breakfast which was mainly traditional Chinese food. I was so glad to have my usual cup of tea. We sat at our two person table and picked at our food with chopsticks. My mom is loud, and her laugh is even louder. She is known for it. She can't help it. And I think, people love her for it.
When we sat at breakfast, it never failed that she spoke in Chinese to every other person there. She learned about their lives, why they traveled there, and what they did. She did this with interest and laughter. She genuinely made friends wherever she went. She even had dinner with a hotel staff member and her family because they became friends.
My mom goes to Taiwan and thinks of herself as a missionary. She thinks of all of us, as missionaries. In a sense, we are, in that we (should) represent Christ through our daily lives. But I really don't do anything differently because of this. Even in Taiwan, I was going to be who I was. Yes, I am a loud American. Yes, I wore darker makeup than most people there (my black eyeliner). But I was me, and that was good. In this case, though my mom goes in with this mindset, she was also herself in a very real sense....She was lively. She was happy. She was sparked. She was walking the same soil she walked as a youth, growing up in those streets. It's amazing. And let me tell you, those streets are beautiful.
I was there in her homeland seeing this family and those scooters and this culture of theirs. I admired it. I loved it. But what I also saw, was though she may be difficult, she is brave. She left that beautiful country loaded with these family members, and she went to a few different countries before settling here, in America, knowing limited amounts of English after coming from a place where she knows at least 3-4 dialects. She came to America and over the years, she grew. She was away from all of these people, all of this family. And she was a mom. First to my sister, and then to me. And it was always just us plus my stepdad. I didn't know her life pre-America.
One afternoon in Taipei, we were walking back to the hotel after visiting my grandma. I noticed a woman on the street corner badly burned and disfigured. I smiled and acknowledged her, and kept strolling past, looking around at the streets and ongoing life around.
But my mom stopped. She lit up this lady in conversation, just as she always does, and she bought some bears from the lady because she wanted to help her.
She stopped and she gave her attention and liveliness to this women. And then she did something small and practical, just in that moment, to help.
Across the barriers of age, culture, expectations, and perspectives, believe it or not, I sometimes see myself. Manifesting in a different way, I see my mom's interest in people and their stories. And I saw her show love towards a lady on a street corner because, why not? That's what people do for one another. And I see her moments of being a loud, rash, and uninhibited.
I am like this to. We are both strong willed. We get that from my grandmother.
I went to Taiwan, and I saw my mom freer, happier, filled with more purpose, and certainly, joy filled. I saw her give personal attention to those around her, no matter who they were.
I saw her efforts to support her family and connect with their needs.
And while this sounds like home, and while it certainly is, I still feel that her home is now also here in America.