Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Second Letters from Taipei

In Taipei one is never without an umbrella. It blocks the sun and the rain. All the harsh elements come from the sky.
This morning I put Jonason’s hand on my bely and he felt the baby kick. A big powerful kick. It makes me happy feeling the kicks - my healthy little girl. I think about her all day, in every child’s face I see.
Taking refuge here again from the heat. We returned to the house early today - around 5:00pm. It was too early to stay home, so I insisted we return again at night…to the Starbucks.
I’m still a foreigner here but at least I am at Starbucks - the most global non-place in the world. Its easy being here. familiar. Modern. The more time I spend in the house, the more I notice how everything is gritty and crumbling. Paint it peeling off the walls. The floor is black with dirt, sheets and pillows smell moldy, the iron gate is rusted. I see all its flaws now whereas before I only saw its beauty. I realized today that I fell in love  with the house when I first saw it on Google Maps. It may have been in 2010 or 2011 , but the photo - I remember - was from 2008. The balcony was covered with green vines. It looked radiant. Jonason’s father must have been alive then to water the plats. I never realized how much care was needed to maintain the lovely home. I took it for granted. I even made Angie take me down here on our trip to Taipei in 2012 to take a picture of it. That’s how much I wanted to be in  - no live in  - this house. And now I am here in the tiger summer heat and miserable by all the stoic suffering and uncomfortable furnishings and retreating to Starbucks.
Now I am large and uncomfortable in this pregnant body. Not trying to impress anyone anymore. Perhaps pregnancy is a lesson in humility. No longer trying to impress strangers, I must find a new purpose for my body.  It no longer belongs to the strangers it does not belong to their opinions or judgements. It doesn’t belong to their wishes or refusals. I don’t know if I am released from their gazes, but somehow I am freer. I move ignored through the crowd. No one stares at me like they did in 2012. I am more anonymous. More discreet. More covert. I can be my own story. I can be any story now that others have not written it for me.

- Excerpt from my travel diary, September 21, 2018

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