Yes, my mother had a pulmonary embolism last October so the long flights from Ohio to Taiwan and back are out of the question for her. It would be nice for her to come and see me again, though. I think aside from the 282 asshole bus drivers and, of course, the foreign pricks that refused to help her when it was obvious that she needed help (when finally a Taiwanese guy with broken English took the time to draw a map to help her), she seemed to like a lot about Taipei. She explored the city by herself equipped with only my cell phone, a Lonely Planet Taiwan, my bus and MRT cards, and no knowledge of Mandarin (although she really tried hard to learn xie xie and ting bu dong) and wound up going to places I still haven’t been to. We had conversations like this over hot pot:
Mom: And then I went to this really big park with a huge pagoda in the middle and some people asked to take a picture with me.
Me: You mean Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall?
Mom: Oh. Okay. Anyways, I went there and then I went to that drama school you mentioned and got to see them sing.
Me: You mean you got to see some jingju?
Mom: Oh, is that what it is? Yeah, and then I got to try on a hat.
Me: Did you get a picture?!
Mom: Of course, silly!
I still haven’t seen an opera performance here and I’ve been here 137 times longer than my mother has. She has the impression that the locals are nice, but the foreigners…well. She’d probably wash my mouth out with soap if I told you all her opinion on the average foreigner on the streets of Taipei. She would have loved Taroko Gorge, though.
My brother and sister-in-law want to come and visit me when my niece is old enough to endure the long flight (Tennessee to Taiwan…with a baby!). It’s a little funny how my siblings and I have names that begin with T and all of us have moved to places that begin with T.