Table for Eight

Topics of conversation surrounding me at the dinner table:

  • How tan I am. (very, compared to Taiwanese beauty standards)
  • What I’m studying. (magazine journalism, but no, I probably won’t be writing about the economy)
  • If I will ever return to Taiwan to work. (unlikely)
  • How much/little I’ve changed since my last visit six years ago.
  • That I need to eat more. (shoulder shrug)

Yesterday we ate lunch with a few relatives and my grandmother. It was a little Thai place near her nursing care facility in Yuanlin. We drove her back in papa’s car afterward. Before signing out from the front desk, I gave her a hug and a kiss as she prepared to be moved from her wheelchair to her bed.

I don’t have very many memories with my grandmother. I have pictures of us together both in the states and in Taiwan on vacation. The majority of our interactions consist of her asking me basic questions and me replying with a simple “yes ” or “no.” The last time I visited for my grandfather’s funeral, I hugged her, crying. She didn’t say much to me, but I think she understood what I wasn’t able to verbalize.

There are times that I wish I could just sit and talk with her, about her childhood and youth and dreams and hopes. When we left after visiting her, she looked happy. And really, that’s what I remember most about her – how she’s always so happy to see us, no matter for how long of a visit. And I think for now that will be more than enough.


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