I'm sitting in my uncle's living room right now, watching the Twins/Yankees game live on ESPN. I go to the other side of the country and I do the same thing I do at home. Weird.
The flight from Osaka to Taipei was quick; it was supposed to take 3 hours and we made it in 2. During this short trip, I sat next to Rei and Mario from Boston. They are on their way to visit Rei's family in Taipei. As veterans, they shared some Taiwan favorites with me. Hoping that we can meet up later in the trip.
Upon arrival (approximately 9:00PM local), we gathered our luggage from the claim and waited for my aunt and uncle. Since we were a little early, they weren't there yet. My dad found them among the dark-haired droves and we hopped in the van.
As we drove through the outskirts of Taipei, I finally realized that I really am here. I'm on the other side of the world and there are many things that are similar and different. The landscape is littered with neon signs, some familiar, some not. Seven 11 seems to be a staple, along with KTV (karaoke) and scooters. More on this later.
We arrived at my uncle's house. It is very reminiscent of a New York apartment, particularly the 4th floor walk-up aspect. My people live here: my grandparents, my aunt and uncle, their two children (my cousins) and their spouses, and my cousins' children (11 total). After dropping off our luggage in the guest room, we went upstairs to visit Ama and Aba (grandma and grandpa).
We sat down and talked with grandma and grandpa for a while. Grandma immediately reminisced about the time she spent in Minnesota with me when I was born. We looked at pictures from my cousin's wedding in Dallas and my graduation from Rice. I was amazed at how sharp my grandparents are. The do not show their years.
We went back downstairs and my uncle came in with a box full of food, mostly fruit. There was lychee, bananas, and mango, along with treats from the bakery and Taiwanese Coke (which is more like root beer). We sat around and talked (well, Dad translated) and ate and drank until late.
Laying in bed was a comforting feeling. Looking forward to some deep zzzzz's.