Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Taiwan Revisited

Me as a missionary in the winter of 1984.

I looked back through my posts, and I can't believe I never posted about our return trip to Taiwan. In 2006 they celebrated the 50th anniversary of missionaries in Taiwan. My husband and I both served as missionaries in Taiwan, so we went back to participate in the festivities.

Having lived in Taiwan and China, we didn't do things the tourist way. We took the train and buses as we traveled up and down the island. We stayed in inexpensive hotels, and ate local food. We even found a laundromat to wash our clothes during the week. It felt very natural to be back and we felt at home.

Upon arrival, some of my husband's customers met us and took us to our hotel. We went out to dinner to eat hot pot with them, then we went to see Taipei 101. This is the tallest building in the world. While we were there, we saw people running to look at the "damper ball" inside the building. We went to go see what they were looking at. It turned out that we had just experienced an earthquake, and the damper ball had moved.

The next day we went to see the Chang Kai Shek memorial. I had lived not far from there as a missionary, so it was fun to go back. We went to my old apartment, but I had trouble finding my way, and it took me a few minutes to be sure I had the right place. It's amazing how 22 years can dull your memory. We also went another day to try to find my husband's old apartment in Dzwo Ying, but weren't able to find it. Things had changed so much.

We went down south on the train to Dzwo Ying to go to church in the area where my husband worked for most of his mission. We attended some of the activities in Gao Hsiung that were to commemorate the reunion. One of the things we did was participate in a bicycle ride (15 miles). Most missionaries in Taiwan ride bicycles, so it was really nostalgic for us. We went to church there, and also went to a nearby chapel to meet up with my first companion Jou Hung Mei. It was great to see her after all those years. She looked better than before, I looked older. :)

The next day we met up with my third companion Jang Lyan Rung, who took us sightseeing and out to lunch. I have seen her in the States several times, but it was still great to see her. We went to several reunion gatherings around the island during that week, and I was able to meet up with another chinese companion of mine, Lin Mei Jr. I was very lucky to have had 5 native companions. Most Americans were lucky to have 1 or 2.

It was great to eat the food again. We had so much shaved ice during that week! lol The only thing I never was able to eat, that I regret missing, was salty soy milk. That is something I have really missed. We did go to the night market in Gao Hsiung and ate stinky bean curd and other fun things.

Some things about Taiwan were very different, but some things will never change. The people were so gracious and many people we didn't know invited us to eat in their home, and gave us rides, and helped us with things. That is very typical of the chinese culture. Even as a missionary, I was invited to eat incredible meals with total strangers.

When I was a missionary there, the temple was just being constructed. This time, we were able to actually attend a session there. It's so miraculous how the land was acquired, and how the church has progressed there.

I hope I get another chance to go back some day. I wish I could take my kids with me. One of our children wasn't born when we lived in China, so has never been to Asia. I hope he gets a chance to go someday.


Looney said...

Nice that you could go back. The temple is just across the street from a coffee shop owned by my wife's cousin. Last time I visited, I was with a physicist who was also LDS. We went to my cousin's coffee shop and he got excited and had to take a picture.

Usually I go to Taiwan for family or business, but my church sends missionaries there every year and I hope to join them sometime.

It looks like a building in Dubai has exceeded the height of Taipei 101, but the construction isn't complete.

Amber said...

i love reading about your experiences in China it's so fascinating!