Well, That Was Unexpected

Real life is stranger than fiction...depending on which authors you read, of course.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

on a plane, up a mountain

I just showered with Sonic Death Monkey from Lush, and I smell delicious. From the bottle I was a little skeptical about the smell, but upon rinsing have found it to be a sweet, light chocolate delight. I pair it with my mint conditioner and basically I smell like a dessert that I would like to eat. My mother hilariously sprung for the Sonic Death Monkey after her first tour of Lush, probably out of deep pity at my wide-eyed wonder and proclamations of love to the surreal wonderland that is Lush; making her smell every single type of bath soap they make and naming my favorites and ones I have yet been able to afford. Kind of pathetic. But I smell fabulous. And that is not pathetic.

Anyway, Ma Hartle’s trip was a complete success. Uber fun as well as productive. First trip abroad and study abroad—a crash course in the life of the Julie over the past two and a half years. I am surprised, upon reflection, how like my mom I am. Being away for so long and then spending 6 full days together 24 hours a day, I got to see her with new eyes. I have a lot of her in every way, gifts—spontaneity, amiability, kindness, generosity--and faults—laziness, indulgence that goes against our high ideals--and idiosyncracies.

Julia pointed out that both she and my mom are people who normally are very competent and independent people—let’s call a spade a spade, what she means is that they are both people who are usually far more competent and productive than the Julie, people I generally defer to, even if I am pissed off about having to submit—who were completely at my mercy and dependent on me. Role Reversal. And it truly was interesting. Sometimes I think it is hard to see parents as whole people. I think I’ve always expected them to know what they are doing and be more in tune with themselves than I am. And I am always the kid who is still learning and less able. But they have their faults and are as complex as I am, and aren’t Jesus. Not that I hadn’t had that realization before, but it was very interesting to be with my mom--the absolute glue and engine of our little family machine—because she basically helped me whip my little house into shape, but was nervous and wide-eyed and excited and sort of helpless as far as international travel, which is a language I speak fluently. So, in my apartment and as far as my sad personal habits she was like a general, but out on the street I was colonel Julie: no, the cars won’t hit you, stop asking about sari shirts!, do not buy the purple geodes, these people are trying to rip you off. It was fun to see her have the same feelings I had on my first trip abroad. Sensory overload. And a proclivity for buying lots of gifts, often unnecessary and bizarre gifts that you regret even while buying them, not to mention afterward, just to show our love…throwing caution about luggage weight and thriftiness out the window. But really this trip was about laughter. Every part of my life seemed to step up to the plate to show mom its true essence. Played cards with the girls until 2am; spontaneously played games with my boss and got a lecture on evangelism vs. serving the poor when I had to use her dryer whilst she shoved us full of sherbet frozen in real fruit halves; were kidnapped to a tea village by my FBI students; had her ear talked off by strangers at Bible study; was subject to thousands of pictures; ate at Ding Tai Feng—the most famous restaurant in Taipei--and even tried Beijing Duck, loved rice burritos and muaji balls; saw racism in action ala the curious treatment of Speedo-clad foreigners at Ocean Park and Filipino maids; had two hairwashes—one of which eventfully saw mom get a horrific hair style and involved my hairdresser grabbing my butt; experienced Thursday chapel; and saw the site of what I believe is my only prophetic dream to date. There is much more to tell, but I am sleepy. But let me tell you of my mothers unexpected and obsessive love of purple amethyst geodes. Holy heaven, people. We left the pottery village and I was like “say goodbye to the geodes, mom, let them go.” Who knew Taiwan was the purple geode capital of the world. What do people do with all these purple geodes, anyway?

This Saturday I am climbing the 101, which will help numb the sadness of Melissa’s departure with torturous physical pain. Mom made a generous donation! Yay! I’m only like 400 NT away from 2500. I need to hit up the money bags people at the NPA (FBI) where I teach English. If Jenny can buy a 10,000 US karaoke machine, she sure as hell can kick down for abused women and kids. Today I hiked up the hellish mountain with the badminton village to practice (by the way, very much rampant card and mah jong gambling abounds in badminton village! Scandal! News at 11!). Ran into Jessie. Not gambling, but at the top of the mountain. There is something sort of cool about running into someone unexpectedly on a mountain when you know you have both exerted a goodly amount of physical effort to get there. Something conqueror-like.


Blogger Amy said...

Wow, what a fabulous update. Loved every word of it. I so need to meet your mother. And Julia.
And wow, climbing the 101? I look forward to hearing about that!
Dude, even I am sad Mel's leaving Taiwan, and I'm not even there!
Love you!

7:54 PM  
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