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