Countdown: 14 Days

Hello there no one who reads this blog yet!

Things are slowly progressing on the home front.

I’m still waiting on that darn Visa to come. I totally shuffled myself to the bottom of the pile when I had to resend them my medical forms in a sealed envelope. Some people are so picky.

As of today, I’ve been waiting about half a month. Enough is enough. If it shows up the night before I leave, I”ll have had one anxiety attack too many.

I wrote that about five days ago and never posted it. It’s not like I’ve had much to do here, but somehow it’s easy to feel busy when you’re really not.

My visa actually ‘came’ this past saturday, but we weren’t home, so they shipped the darn thing back to the main postal office. We’re going to get it today. It sure has taken long enough, but it’ll be nice to look at it and repeat to myself

I’m really going.

If you had told my 10 year old self that I”d be coming back to Taiwan in 12 years, I”d probably have jumped up and down. My memories of travel to Taiwan as a 10 and 11 year old are filled with nauseating journeys to the Ju Ming Museum, walking around Taipei, teaching our friends tap dancing and singing ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ on a plush pink tour bus on our way to the hot springs (which turned out to be more interactive than the waterfall I had expected), and holding my little Sister for the first time in a little orphanage room up a narrow staircase.

Our journey to get G was a long one, especially for a 10 year old who’s longest plane ride had been to Disneyland. Our trip had many legs, many more than I will undertake for Fulbright, and when we had reached Narita, I remember declaring, ‘Okay, can this just be Taiwan already?’ Already an intrepid traveler at this tender age. my Wanderlust was off and kicking, and as our shiny black ‘limo’ picked us up from the airport, I was too busy spinning my head in all directions trying to see through the dark to whatever lit up buildings passed us on the way to our hotel.

It wasn’t long before we set out to explore the city, me with video camera in hand (although I cannot assure you it was steady) and made our way to the orphanage main office to begin filling out some paperwork. Everything was sticky soft from the heat, and I reveled at being able to wear shorts and a tshirt in December! A few more days and we’d be able to pick up my Sister!

Honestly, I don’t know how I withstood the anticipation at this point; it could only be akin to what I’m feeling now. If the nauseating post-trip viewing of my prized video production isn’t testament enough to the excitement, I don’t know what is. Riding through the ructious gridlock traffic typical of Taipei in the back of a taxi belonging to what must have been the most skilled taxi driver I’ve ever met, My family and I tried to decipher the double language divide between us and our guide who was both Taiwanese and deaf and therefore signing rapidly from the front seat.

I only remember her signing elephant, although I can’t remember what for.

Somewhere between main Taipei City and a little alleyway time slid by faster than the blurring of the scenery around our yellow taxi. I don’t remember whether we took another train or a car or just the taxi, but somehow we were soon being ushered up a narrow, steep staircase into a cramped apartment that had been converted into the baby nursery for the orphanage. Removing our shoes, we slid our feet into the slippers to typical of Taiwanese homes. I, finding mine were too large, shuffled towards the pane of glass in front of me, through which I could see cribs checkerboard like, all containing babies. Babies with hair plastered to foreheads in the humidity which, in spite of the fans running, prevailed. Babies in rompers and in diapers, sprawled this way and that with and without bottles and toys.

But she was not among those babies, not my sister. My sister was in a crib outside the glass confines; a wooden crib set out for her to wait for us. Walking forward, led by a Chinese-speaking woman, I approached the crib. She held her arms out to me and I enclosed mine around her. Then I began to cry.

I cried all the way home in the taxi.

I cried while my Mom gave her a bath.

I cried while I lay on the bed, my Dad turning the video camera on me for a change.

‘Why are you crying?’ he asked, angling the lens in my face, obscured by the fluffy hotel pillows.

‘Because I”m so….happy….’ I said between sobs.


So you see why I am returning. There is so much to this story that needs telling, but I cannot relay it all now, at risk of having lost readers. Hopefully someone has read this far? I’m returning to the land that holds so many red strings to our family. So many attachments.

More on that later. Now for a song, since I love giving music I’m currently listening to, or music that is relevant.

For now, I”m working on ordering my Hostel membership, and feeling thankful that my Visa finally came!
Love, Hannah

3 thoughts on “Countdown: 14 Days

  1. I’ve always wondered about your siblings’ stories and figured you had decided not to share for privacy reasons. Nice to see what you’ve said so far 🙂

  2. Thinking of you as you fly over the Russian coastline on your way to Taiwan. A long long flight but soon you will land and begin your adventures on the beautiful island of they once called Formosa!

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