I can’t feel my feet! I wish I couldn’t feel my ankles, knees, or neck.
Today, my bro, my niece, and I started with a leisurely breakfast. It’s cool when it’s just the three of us. We can take our time and just talk about whatever. There is no tension there. Plus, I got to see the chefs let a fire get out of control. That was cool. I love fire.
Oh, and I have one goal for 2010: I wish to lose 100 pounds this year. It is ok to lose up to ten pounds a month, so this is a doable goal. I hit the proverbial wall today. My body just plain gave out on me. My ankles and knees are swollen; my feet burn/hurt/are numb (depending on the time of day); I can’t turn my neck very quickly. I am in such bad shape right now, it’s pathetic and pitiful.
My mom came to pick us up at ten. We went to Yi-lan with my dad’s driver and his wife (who is my mom’s assistant) and my dad’s assistant. We went through the longest tunnel in Taiwan (it took ten minutes), and I was fighting to stay awake the whole time. I didn’t sleep very well last night (surprise, surprise), and I was exhausted all day long. We walked through the arts and crafts store in Yi-lan, and my parents made my brother and I eat when we weren’t hungry. This is a common theme in our family (and in many Taiwanese families). They ask if we want to try something, and we say no. We were both still full. They ordered some for us, anyway, and it would have made them lose face in front of their coworkers if we had refused. So, in our family, food is not just food, and it’s not exactly love. It’s a duty.
Another thing in Taiwan is a tradition of giving a woman a gift the first time you meet her. I have no idea why it’s just for women (and little boys), but it was uncomfortable for me because my dad’s assistant kept wanting to buy me things. In addition, the things she pointed out to me were girly and feminine and…NOT ME. As we have discussed before, I am not girly nor feminine nor cute. I don’t do cute!
At the arts and crafts center, I saw two black dogs. One of them, I swear, is the same dog I’ve seen before. OK, I know it’s not, but he looked the same. And, I bought two black pig figurines today and two black cat figurines. They are my animal spirit guides for the day.
My dad had to go back to work, and he took my mom’s assistant and his assistant back with him (or actually, his assistant drove). I felt better once my dad was gone. I could breath again, and I didn’t have to be so guarded.
I was dying by the time we were going to leave. Then, the driver mentioned there was an old house we hadn’t seen. He and his wife are from Yi-lan, so they knew more about it than my parents did. I didn’t want to see the house, but we were already there, and I knew my brother would want to see it. I had already seen a similar house the last time I was in Taiwan, but he never had. My niece was pretty tired, too, and she definitely did not want to see the house.
Afterwards, we left, but the driver wanted to show us this huge-ass (my words, not his) park that was close to the arts and crafts center. It had a river that was flooding the town, so they shaped it better or something like that. I didn’t want to go, but again, I didn’t want to make waves or sound petulant or anything like that.
We got there and started walking. And walking. Up some stairs and down some other stairs. My brain shut down at some point, and I was just methodically placing one foot in front of the other. I was a ball of pain, and I couldn’t think. When I reach that state, I don’t talk; I don’t smile; I don’t joke. I am basically on auto-pilot, just trying not to completely wig out. My whole body is aching and screaming at me. We keep walking and walking for what seems like ages.
Now, the sad part is that we did not walk nearly as much in that time today as we had in the past. However, my body has reached the breaking point. It’s not the amount any more, but the fact that we are doing anything at all. By the time we are done with the park, it’s four in the afternoon. Oh, at some point during the ‘stroll’ through the park, I started thinking, “I hate you I hate you I hate you” at my mother. Not very nice of me, I know, but alas, it’s the honest truth. Anyway, back in the car, my mother talked about going to another night market. I asked if we would be going back to the hotel. I didn’t want to go to the night market, which I also said. Long story short, we went back to the hotel to rest for twenty minutes before going to the night market.
By this point, I couldn’t feel my feet any longer. I so did not want to go to the night market, but I wimped out. I went. I was at the end of my rope, and I went, anyway. I didn’t enjoy it, and I was a bit snappy (more so than usual), and in general, I was a big PITA. It would have been better if I’d stayed in the hotel because I really was not a ray of sunshine today–as if I ever am. Then, my mom got a call from my father. He wanted to meet us at the night market. I stifled a groan because things always got tense with both my parents in the same place. Tonight was no exception. They snip and gripe at each other. My mom talks my father to death, and my father reacts by withdrawing into his icy-stone silence (yes, I come by it honestly).
I just kept walking. My niece was super-tired, so I did the chicken-shit thing by saying she was tired and that we should return to the hotel. We were on our way back when my brother mentioned the night market across from our hotel. He has been on a quest to find a hat similar to the one our cousin bought. His wife saw a pic and liked it, so we have looked for something similar ever since. Apparently, my cousin bought a one-of-a-kind hat. However, my bro had spotted a hat that he thought was similar at the night market across the street. He wanted me to look to see if it was close. I may not be much of a girl, but I have enough of the girl gene to know when a hat is similar to another one. So, I agreed to go. My niece really wanted to go back to the hotel, so my brother said my dad could take her.
Um, no. I had vowed to myself that there was no way in hell I would let my father be alone with my niece, though I didn’t think he would really do anything to her. I started thinking of ways to circumvent the two of them being alone (such as insisting that I was really tired, which I was, and going with them). Then, my mom said that she would take my niece back because her (my mom’s) ankle was hurting. This meant that my father would be going with me and my brother. Do you know what my first feeling was? Relief that my father wouldn’t be alone with my niece. I would prefer him to be with me if that meant that he was not with her. I would deal with all the moving around I had to do so he wouldn’t be behind me. I would deal with him being too close to me for my comfort. I would even deal with the inappropriate jokes he made from time to time. My niece was safe.
We found the hat that my brother thought looked like the one my cousin bought, and it was close. He bought it. He wanted to walk around more. I said no. They could if they wanted to, but I was going back to the hotel.
Back at the hotel, we gathered in my bro’s room to talk about tomorrow. We are meeting the VP of the country at 2:15 p.m. for fifteen minutes (before my father’s regular 2:30 p.m. meeting with him), but that is all we have scheduled for the day. My parents started throwing out all these ideas. The zoo! No, says I. The garden show! No. My niece and brother agreed to go to the swimming facility, but I firmly declared I was staying in the hotel for the morning. I can’t even get up from a chair without my back clenching up on me. I am not doing any more appreciable amount of walking. My dad and mom were talking about Friday as well (when we leave), and I finally said, “I am not doing anything tomorrow morning, so may I return to my room now?” I didn’t see why I needed to be in on the discussion any longer, and I had had more than enough of people for the day. I managed to stagger to my feet and out the door.
Now, I should take a shower and go to bed, but I can’t move. I feel like I’m a hundred years old. I am definitely making losing 100 pounds one of my top five goals for 2010.
P.S. Day Nine Pics.
P.P.S. The pic with people in it, pic number four, shows, from left to right, my brother, my mother, me, the driver, and my niece.