Family First

Today, being Mother’s Day, made me reflect upon my own Mother. How kind she has been throughout my life, just the type of Mother anyone would want. Growing up, I was not the best child. I am certain that I gave her a great deal of stress. I hope that I can become a better person in the future and make her proud of me.

I spent a lot of time today working on the website. As I know very little about the scripting languages used, HTML, Java, etc., I have to study a great deal. It is very time-consuming, but I am learning much during this process. My fear is that Shu Mei will feel neglected. The more time I spend on the computer, the needier she seems. That does not make for a very good situation. I will have to concentrate on spending more time with her, even if it means sacrificing some niceties for the site.

Speaking about “family comes first”, Shu Mei and I spent about 3 hours today with hers. We went over and paid our respects to her Mother. She has a good Mother too. The entire family was there, at the home of Shu Mei’s parents. They have seven grandchildren, with one more, our child, on the way.

Shu Mei’s Mother is very active, getting up at the crack of dawn everyday to do aerobics. She is 63, but looks much younger. To some people, that does not make a difference, but to her it does. She puts a lot of energy into staying fit. Odds are that she will live to be very old.

Every time we get together with Shu Mei’s family, I learn more about the Taiwanese culture. It is rare for someone from the west to be this close to such ancient customs. Usually, inter-racial marriages, involving someone Asian, have the couple living in the non-Asian country. Such is not the case with my marriage. I am living here, in Taiwan, and learning much about the way they do things.

There are a few notable differences between the US customs and those of Taiwan. For instance, at dinner, the smallest children are allowed to begin eating first. Also, the dinner conversations are loud, very loud, among both old and young. The family speaks Taiwanese in the home, while speaking Mandarin outside of the home. It is considered rude to drink the entire beverage in your glass, whatever it contains, as there are frequent toasts. Tonight, I toasted with them a lot. Shu Mei’s brothers and Father drank beer, while her Mother drank Whiskey. I drank milk. I do not like drinking that much milk, but I had to be polite. Next time, I am taking some Coca-Cola along with me. I can drink a lot of that stuff!

Food here in Taiwan is terrific. As they take a long time to prepare it, the first two hours I was there were spent watching Shu Mei’s Mother and Sister cook. After they were done, I got to eat some very good food. I have been here for over three months and there is seldom a Taiwanese meal that does not have something unique to offer me. The dinner today was no exception, as the “lazy Susan” in the middle of the typically round dinner table displayed many delightful dishes.

After the dinner, Shu Mei and I came home and talked for a while. We have some marital challenges to overcome. We were both very set in our ways when we got married and we are still trying to overcome our selfish attitudes, both of us. I am glad that we are usually in the right frame of mind to deflate stressful situations, rather than exacerbate them. Such was not the case in my first marriage. There were many “pushed buttons” in that marriage! Hopefully, I am learning from my mistakes of the past and moving on into brighter days in the future. For me, I focus on my family. After all, family really does come first.

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