breakfast with grandfather

Father and Grandfather walking together in Taipei (taken by sister 2)

“Your grandfather – he eats like Japanese. Slowly, thinking about each bite.” Grandmother chuckles a bit when she says this, and then says “We’re very different! Me, I eat to eat, very quickly.” Grandpa doesn’t hear this part, but keeps offering me small bits of breakfast. During the war era he says, there wasn’t much that they could eat and food was rationed quite harshly in Taiwan those days, so he picked up the habit his father taught him – to make use of every single last bite. Breakfast is a number one part of your daily routine, too. Back in the day, it was early rise at 6:00 am, breakfast from 6:30 – 6:50 am, then off to school. I think about how I can barely crawl out of bed by 8:45 to make it onto the train by 9 am, and suddenly feel a bit lazy.

This morning, I fried three eggs for us. We add a bit of pepper and a little bit of sauce – but it isn’t soy – maybe it is fish. Anyway, it is less salty which is what we’re going for (healthy breakfast!). Grandma makes radish cakes that she bought the other day – they are more Hong Kong-ish than Taiwanese and Grandpa makes coffee. He adds 2 spoonfuls of Ballantine’s scotch whiskey and says this is the best way to have a cup of morning coffee. We eat some toast from a local bakery – bread is always better in Taiwan! – and put a bit of almond butter and roasted peanuts. A small orange and banana later, I feel full but healthy. The last part is a bit of yogurt my grandmother has made, given 2 spoonfuls of green tea powder (cancer fighting).

I think about how many years have passed since I’ve been home. A lot has changed here but I’m happy to share breakfast with our grandparents. In an ideal world, we would probably have more time for breakfast, and more time to spend here as well. I feel overwhelmed and stressed all the time in New York – and forget quite often about the things that exist outside of the little universe I’ve created all for my own. Being in Taipei has been a welcome break from it. It’s something too, about having been gone for this long. To be reflected on a later date.

 I’ve asked every temple in Taiwan and Hong Kong for a job, or a career, but those things come to I guess when they can. Fortune-telling offers guidance, but it is no crystal ball. That being said, I was insanely happy to be able to spend Christmas and new year with my family. Now enter corny Chinese ballad song?

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