Friday, April 21, 2017

Taiwan Trip Quick Recap and Hello From London!

I had a really wonderful time in Taiwan with Michael, my parents, my uncle and aunt and their friends over the Easter holiday.  We were in Hualien for three and a half days and three nights, and then in Taichung for our final night before we flew back to Hong Kong. 

It was a trip memorable for being a truly local, immersive experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I was also very happy to be there for my mom's 65th birthday (happy birthday mom!) and to celebrate together.  I'm so happy for my parents that they have friends all around the world that they can visit and travel together with.  Now that they are retired, they have wholeheartedly embraced all the places to go and people to see, as they well should, I say!

My relatives and their friends are overwhelming in their hospitality, and it was amazing to be the beneficiary of it.  Truly, at the end Michael and I were scheming to come up with ways to  pay for things, or otherwise repay them for their generosity!  At times it felt like a competitive sport that we were ill equipped to play...

One of the best things was to see everyone wholeheartedly welcome Michael into the fold.  And Michael, to his credit, really, truly, engaged my relatives and all of their friends, showing his effort and care by conversing in Mandarin, making quips, eliciting laughs... drinking whisky (okay, maybe that one was slightly easier!) and singing, both at karaoke over dinner and more informally in rousing a capella rounds after rounds of drinks one late night.

He and my aunt really took a shine to each other, despite a height difference of over a foot, an age gap spanning nearly thirty years, vastly different upbringings and backgrounds, and two language barriers (Taiwanese is my aunt's preferred language and English is decidedly Michael's preferred language, so they had to settle on Mandarin), which made it all the more amusing and heartwarming and perfect.

I have many pictures and thoughts and observations to share, but simply no time to do a full trip report right now that would have enough detail to do the trip justice.  So those will come!

The reason I have no time, obviously, is because I've been working a lot.  And I know I didn't leave things on a very happy note in my last post before my vacation (which is why time away is so useful, to make sure one doesn't burn out) and a lot of my writing about work feels like a broken tape on repeat (and in fact, many of my conversations with Michael about work and work-life boundaries feel like a ceaseless, relentless whirlpool of inarticulate feelings and thoughts churning 'round and 'round), so this also requires a detailed, thoughtful post.  To come.

And, actually, I'm writing from London currently (surprise!) as I am here for a few days for work (though I plan to unwind over the weekend with a friend who is also here at the same time - yay! A break feels very much needed) and will be back in Hong Kong next week, before possibly (but not certainly) heading to Tokyo for a deal closing, before heading off on our amazing Dubai-Oman-Qatar vacation.

It's been a lot of travel around these parts!

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