The last few months of 2018 can only be described as a tumult. I lost my grandmother this past December. She was a feisty, strong-willed woman, with a quick laugh, and was actively present in my everyday life. When I first came back to Taiwan, before college, and afterwards to work, I would stay at her house, and we would spend hours together cooking, watching TV and chatting. I think the reason why my conversational Chinese improved so rapidly over the years was because I always had an enthusiastic grandmother to chat with. (My parents always found it a little amusing that she also picked up my speech patterns in her everyday speech, such as “uh-huh” and “ok,” “yeah” and “天啊” tian-ah~ a Mandarin version of, “oh my!”)
Until a year ago or so, she always used to say to me “I feel like a young person in an old person’s body.” She loved doing what she referred to as “young people’s activities,” such as going to Starbucks and playing Angry Birds and Fruit Slice on her iPad. As her only granddaughter, I was indulged and protected by her love, and this is something I will remember and carry with me for the rest of my life. I’m not sure how I will get used to not having her around, but I am trying my best.
I had originally planned a trip to Melbourne for this winter, and I almost didn’t go. But my mom and dear friend Peter convinced me that a change of scene would do me good. Aside from a few wobbly moments during the trip~ one was while shopping and realizing I didn’t have to bring back a present back for my grandmother, and one was after arriving back in Taipei, when I absentmindedly dialed her number while waiting for my luggage at baggage claim, for the most part, I really enjoyed the trip; it really helped to be in a completely different environment, frame of mind and pace of life.
The last time I was in Melbourne was 10 years ago, and the city has changed so much since then. This post will highlight 10 of my favorite moments from the trip, in no particular order, just as they pop into my head. In addition, I will write a “Hello Melbourne!” series, which will be more organized, and similar to my other travel posts (Hello Tokyo! , Hello Seoul! and Hello Hong Kong!)