Wednesday, January 30, 2008

First Love

I still remember my first morning in Taiwan.  Not a truly clear picture, mostly a jumbled mess of emotions and images.  But its clearer than a lot of other memories I've hung onto.  I had arrived, with my fellow missionaries, around midnight or so the day before.  Whatever time it was, it seemed very late, but that impression may have just been a result of the fact that it was dark outside and I was fairly jet-lagged.  As a result I was too tired and disoriented to pay much attention to minor details like the time of day.  My arrival in Taiwan didn't feel particularly auspicious.  It was dark.  It was raining.  We couldn't see much out the windows of the van during the drive from Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport to Taichung.  We got to the home of the mission president and there was banana bread and milk in the kitchen waiting for us, and then it was off to bed.

We woke up the next morning and some of the Elders from the office took our whole group about a half block down the street for breakfast.  And I fell in love.  Literally.  Before we even reached the street vendor that sold us our breakfast, I was in love.  It was as though I had just found the home I'd been looking for my whole life.

Because I don't have very clear memories of that day, I can't explain why it is that Taiwan caught me so completely from that very first day.  It might have been all the scooters parked haphazardly on the sidewalks, or the strange mix of upscale stores and random street-side food vendors.  I'm pretty sure it was not the humidity or the smells, neither of which I ever really grew to love.  But something about the place grabbed my heart and it's never really let go.  

As I've thought through my idea for this blog over the past few months, I've asked myself, "Why?" a number of times.  Why do this thing?  What meaning can it possibly bring to my life or to the lives of others?  At their root, I think maybe the reasons I have for wanting to do this go back to the feelings I had that first day in Taichung.  It's been almost 10 years since I woke up on the other side of the world feeling like I had come home.  Over those 10 years I've grown mostly away from Taiwan - mentally, physically, and emotionally.  But I've never found myself at home again.  So I'm 31.  And I'm single.  And I still haven't found a career that calls to both my heart and my mind.  I'm still searching for so many things.  And yet I can't help but wonder if everything I've been looking for isn't maybe waiting for me, back on the other side of the world, back where I always felt at home.

If life was uncomplicated and I had no obligations making me feel somewhat tied down, I might have already packed my bags and booked a ticket.  But life is complicated.  And I do have obligations, as well as family and friends and many other good things in my life besides memories of a far-distant land.  So this blog is basically my effort to reconnect with some of the things I love and miss about Taiwan, while also allowing me to explore more fully something I come to feel more and more passionate about - food!  I hope you too will find something to enjoy here, something that might in some small way, enrich your life the way my experiences in Taiwan enriched mine.

4 comments:

Emily said...

I am excited to experience your take on the blog world! Welcome!

SO said...

I still remember the danbings we had that morning. To this day I haven't found one I like more than off the back of that truck.

Thanks for reminding me how long ago it was...

SO said...

I still remember the danbings we had that morning. To this day I haven't found one I like more than off the back of that truck.

Thanks for reminding me how long ago it was...

Amri said...

Teach me, Shannon, I am your student.

I'm really excited about this blog.