About Me

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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Friday, May 18, 2018

A Change in Altitude

At the end of April, my kid went on a 3 night/4day long hiking expedition in central Taiwan, hitting the peaks of Hehuan Mountain(合歡山) between Nantou and Hualien. It was organized by Yilan County public schools and several students from some of the elementary schools participated. Her hiking troop had been training in Jiaoxi all the previous month. I dropped her off at the crack of dawn and their little bus drove all the way to Puli, stopping at a farm and random Ukranian Horse show, before heading further up Route 14 to Wuling Pass.

Taken by Z her first night


It was the first time she and I had been separated for so long in her dozen years. The first day was weird, bizarre, I was so conscious of thinking about her constantly in the back of my mind. I had always assumed being single was being alone, I'm parenting alone and have identified so strongly in parenting alone (how could I not?).

In fact, I'm so immersed in parenting, I am hardly alone. I tried to distract myself by walking the dogs more frequently and longer than usual, and doing more yoga (than usual) which helps me be in the moment.

It's not like she never spent the night away from me before but anticipating our 4 day separation, that first day was so eerily quiet. In my daughter withdrawal, I couldn't help feel for my bro who recently lost his daughter, my niece who was 33 days younger than my Z.

The second day was better, I was still wondering about her at the back of my mind, but it had receded its ferocity. I was still walking the dogs, doing yoga and had also reclaimed my garden back from the snails. I joked I would redeem my ironing pile (itself a growing mountain), once and for all, but fortunately was enjoying my time enough I never got to it.

Hehuan North Peak is #34 of Taiwan's 100 peaks

 All in all, they climbed the north, west and east peaks of Hehuan (合歡山) which means mountain of harmonious joy) as well as the easier Shimen Mountain (石門山). Going from sea level to 11,207 feet sounded pretty intense. A boy from another school slipped and broke his leg. The rescue team had to bring him down on a stretcher. My daughter's teachers and classmates suffered from altitude sickness, the kids were puking and the teachers sucking on oxygen tanks. Thankfully my Colorado born kid was fine. In fact, she sais it smelled just like Colorado, which really is a thing. I'm pretty jealous I couldn't tag along as one of the other mothers did, but I had to work.

She was sure relieved to be home and I was so grateful she came back healthy. I had homemade banana chocolate cookies waiting for her. Unfortunately, early the next day she had to be at the train station bright and early for another school excursion to an aboriginal (Atayal) school, on a cultural learning field trip. They learned traditional dances and made some Atayal food.

I think the lack of sleep had run her down, she stayed home for the next two days to rest. One of those days, I came home from work to find, she had baked me a surprise banana pudding cake. Who doesn't love edible surprises from their child? Being her mom has its sweet moments.

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