I’m sitting in a cafe, thinking about why I don’t feel worse. Ten minutes ago, during the World Cup 2010 match of Korea versus Uruguay, my mother called to tell me she’s on her way to Taiwan. “There is no hope for grandmother” is what she mumbled in Taiwanese.
My grandmother took care of me when I was very young. I have some spotted memories of that time, but since the age of 8 when my family immigrated to the US, I’ve only seen her a handful of times. What I remember about my grandmother always involved food in some way. When I lived with my grandparents in Tainan, she would often take me to the market on her black bicycle. We would load up with groceries, and I would hold on to her tightly.
I also remember every morning begging her for a couple of dollars ( at $30NT to $1USD, that was probably about 1 nickel ) for breakfast at the street vendor. I loved the steamed rice cups with peanut powder and cilantro. They also included a delicious clear soup.
My grandmother spent hours everyday cooking. My grandfather and my uncles would eat both lunch and dinner at home, and everyday the meals where freshly cooked. We kept chickens in the yard, which was my job to feed them. When we have company, I would watch her grab a chicken, slice its neck and drip the blood in a cup. She would make a sort of rice cake with the blood and butcher the chicken for stew.
Back in those days we had a wood burning boiler. Grandmother would split some wood in the yard and light the boiler with some old newspaper. When the water was hot, she would bathe me using a ladle.
I don’t have any memories of doing fun things with my grandmother. She was a homemaker, 24/7. All of my memories are of her taking care of her family. She liked to complain but she also liked to laugh.
I hope I will remember her laughter for a long time.
Today I thank my grandmother