Growing up in the laid-back south end of Taiwan, I've always loved the faster pace up north and fantasized the busy streets and crowded subway in Taipei. Gary and I got to explore the capital city together in 2013, and it was really so much fun with so much to do and eat and see! I'm not sure if I'd want to live in such a dense and busy place with our little family, but for vacation it was absolutely perfect.
Two weeks ago, I took the opportunity of leaving the kids with family and went up to Taipei for a quick getaway on my own (lucky me!!) My sister set aside a big chunk of time to keep me company, and I got to see and stay at a best friend's new place for the night I was there. I told them I wanted to hit up all the great bookstores they know and my wish was granted. It was so luxurious to browse quietly through aisles of books :) I've been wanting to expand our mandarin books collection at home, and I was happy to find some old-school gems for the kids there.
I didn't take too many photos during my visit but these few are some of my favorites::
It was a wonderful (and a bit surreal) treat to have a trip all to myself as these opportunities don't come easily these days. I was missing the kids a lot but appreciated the chance so much to regroup and recharge - thanks to my considerate parents and aunties who made it all possible. I'm seriously the luckiest :)
Babygirl and I hit 26 weeks yesterday! Even though she is so active in there, I really don't think about her much in our day to day life (the fate of the fourth child, maybe?) Life with 3 kids in Taiwan, especially without Gary here, has been quite stressful and chaotic in many unexpected ways. Being away from home and our familiar routine has been hard on everybody. I often feel so inadequate as a mom during our time here, and all I pray for every morning is just a little more patience and grace for all of us.
Despite all else, this stage is feeling great. I've been indulging in all kinds of Taiwanese street food that I've missed so dearly, and have been able to sleep in a little in the mornings, thanks to my dad helping with the kids' breakfast. And for that, I am so very thankful.
14 more weeks to go, babygirl! Love you so much. Thank you for being so good and healthy in there, so mama doesn't have to worry about you just yet :)
Last time we were back in Taiwan, Zoey was only 3 and Nathan was 18 months old. I didn't explain too much to them that Taiwan is my hometown - that I was born in a hospital here, went to school here, ate different kinds of food as a kid, rode in a scooter all the time when I was their age, and didn't speak English growing up.
It's a little different this time around. The kids are older and their school experiences make it interesting to see and hear about the time when their mama was little too. Growing up, my parents both worked full-time. I spent the first 15 years of my after-school life at my grandparents' house as all the schools I went to are within a 5-8 minute walk away. It brought back so many distant memories when I took my kids on the route I walked everyday to school and bought them the same breakfast, snack and lunch that I LOVED as a kid (all still from the same places/vendors just down the street!) Of course, a lot has changed in this neighborhood too. Like that old, beloved McDonald's that got torn down and moved for the new subway system they were building. I had my first fancy birthday party there in 3rd grade (note: it was considered really expensive to eat at McD's in Taiwan back in the day, and birthday parties were a big deal in my family!)
Anyway :) I love that I get to re-experience the old and discover the new in my childhood stomping ground with my kids. It almost feels a bit surreal. I also feel officially old.
Here are some pictures to share with you all::
Our flight took off at 2am on Monday so we had the kids sleep at their normal bedtime that night and woke them up at 10 to head to the airport. Strangely, Izzy resisted any sleep beforehand and I was stressing out big time because of it, fearing that she'd fall asleep before we board and be wide awake on the plane. But thank God, she was a happy camper all night and fell asleep without any trouble after we took off. A huge praise: our flight wasn't full so Izzy got her own seat despite being a lap baby!! It was a huge relief and I was seriously so thankful for God's gracious provision at the moment we needed it the most. The big kids were so good the whole time - they loved the flying experience. It had been 2.5 years since our last Taiwan trip so everything feels very new and fun and exciting for them.
The toughest part about flying alone with 3 kids was potty time. Like, when Izzy finally fell asleep with her head on my left forearm, and right then it was when Nathan had to go #2. In those moments I was definitely not the most patient self. There were also many times I had to apologize to the big kids for not being able to help them much, and had to tell them to figure things out on their own (mostly just TV stuff haha, but still)
All in all, everything went smoothly and we were all in happy spirits when we landed! Praise and glory to God for watching over us and answering our prayers, and of course a huge thank you to everyone who remembered and prayed for us.
Some pictures before we boarded and during our flight: