Surviving a Mother Marathon & back to Earth with a thump! 20

You know, whenever you come back from travelling overseas – even if it was not really for a “holiday” – there is always that moment when you thump back down to earth.

It’s true what they say about “a change being as good as a break” and even just being away from your usual mundane routines and in a “different” place tends to give everything a more – er – “exotic glow” πŸ˜‰Β  Maybe part of it is that you behave a bit differently, when away from home. I don’t know about you but I make much more effort when I’m “away” – I paint my toenails, put on make-up every day, actually wear dresses (as opposed to drool-covered trackpants and comfy, old sweatshirts) and even wear jewellery! I feel like a much more glam version of myself – doing much more glam things! πŸ˜‰

But maybe more of it is having to put everything – all your usual everyday stresses and duties – on hold for a while when you are away, whether you like it or not, and that in itself is so refreshing, even if you haven’t been lucky enough to spend a couple of weeks in a tropical resort! πŸ˜›

I certainly wasn’t expecting my recent trip back to Taiwan to be a holiday, especially as I would be spending most of the time in hospital looking after my mother, but I actually had a great time and enjoyed the ‘quality time’ I got to spend with my mother, in spite of the unholiday-like environment & circumstances.

OK, I have to be honest – living in the same room with your mother, is not for the faint-hearted a big challenge at times – especially as my mother & I are such different people, with completely different personalities, attitudes and habits.

I’m a lazy slob, happy to leave the unwashed dinner dishes till morning whereas she is a neat freak who can write a manual on the number of times you need to flush vegetables with water to get them really clean.

I’m a cynical, cold-fish who analyses and plans everything with logical precision whereas she is an emotional drama-queen with a soft heart who always loves first and asks questions later.

I like quiet, alone time and express myself best through writing – whereas she is a social butterfly who is happiest chattering to an audience.

She thinks tearful family sagas and cheesy romantic comedies are the ultimate in entertainment whereas I groan at the thought of having to endure another “selfless-mother-dying-of-cancer-whose-ungrateful-son-finally-realises-his-wrongs-and-cries-buckets-while-also finally-proposing-to-the-cute-neighbour-girl-who-has-been-patiently-waiting-for-him-all-this-time…” (GAG ) πŸ˜• . Give me a serial killer thriller or X-files monster mystery any day.

So, put all this together in a room, 24/7, for a few weeks and you’ve got a pretty explosive combination! πŸ˜‰Β  Plus it doesn’t help that even though you’re just 2 years short of 40, mothers still always treat you like you’re 14 and constantly lecture you give you ‘suggestions’ on how to live your life.

And since we’re both strong personalities, we’re not afraid to have a yelling matcher, express our opinions! πŸ˜€ Especially in Taiwan, which can still be very traditional in its attitudes at times, I think many of the nurses were shocked at my “unfilial” behaviour – for daring to even disagree with my mother, never mind argue with her passionately!

But in my family, we’ve always believed in “better out than in” – if you want peace & quiet and polite, restrained behaviour, you don’t come and stay at our house! πŸ˜‰ We yell a lot, get very loud, wave our arms around and then it’s all over and forgotten πŸ˜›

Me: “What do you mean? I never said that -”

Mother: “Aya! You never listen what I say -”

Me: (gasp) “ME? YOU are the one who -”




Mother: (noticing the hotel directory) “Oh! You see they have Shanghai restaurant here? Do you want to try for dinner?”

Me: “Really? I love the cucumber pickles! And do you think they have those crispy frog leg things I really like…?”

Well, at least we can usually agree on food! πŸ˜‰ No, seriously, it may sound nasty and awful but actually, my mother and I have a very good relationship. In fact, all my brother & sisters, family members love each other and are one big warm, happy family…but that doesn’t mean that we don’t argue and fight and yell at each other a lot!! πŸ˜†

So yeah, all in all, I had a good time and really enjoyed myself, especially as my mother’s early discharge from hospital and rapid recovery meant that I had an unexepected few extra days in Taipei, at the end, to do some “fun stuff” (and my poor mother could finally get her shopping fix! A bit of double knee surgery was not going to stand in her way when there’s a good sale on! πŸ˜‰ Actually, a lot of our “fights” stemmed from me trying to get her to slow down and be sensible & careful – a tough ask for someone who has always been very independent & full of energy, easily able to do tons…getting her to learn to “take it easy” (at least for a few months post-surgery) was a big feat!)

But all the fun & good times did mean that it was even harder making the transition back…!

From this…

…to this!


From this…

…to this!


From this…

…to this!


From this…

…to this!


From this…

…to this!


But of course, there are some things that make it wonderful to come back home.

Such as this…

…and this…

…and this!

I'd love to hear your thoughts! (Don't worry if your comment disappears - it's probably gone into Spam but I'll fish it out!)

20 thoughts on “Surviving a Mother Marathon & back to Earth with a thump!

  • Melanie

    Smiled all the way through this one… and ALMOST got weepy at the end. And that’s saying something since you haven’t met a colder fish than me most days :-).

    Glad to know that, as we could easily share each others bookshelves, we could also go to the movies together. I’ll take blood & guts over sappy any day!

    Ummmm, what exactly was the super-yummy-looking waffle thing and where did you find it??

    • Hsin-Yi

      Oh, Melanie – that was a chocolate & hazlenut waffle (as in the waffle itself was chocolate & hazlenut flavoured!), with ice-cream, almonds & whipped cream…and it was divine! I had it when I was out shopping with my best friend from school days, on one of my ‘bonus’ days in Taipei at the end…we stopped for a breather in a “Vienna cafe”, in a corner of one of the upper levels of the department store (of course, there would be refreshments in amongst all the racks – God forbid that we should have to interrupt our ‘shopping flow’ by going downstairs to the foodcourt or even out of the department store! πŸ˜‰ ) and waffles were one of the specialities of the place.

      Taiwan really is foodie heaven because not only do they do Chinese/Asian style food really well but they’re very good at European stuff too! They can make bagels to rival those in New York and waffles to compete with those in Belgium…and French restaurants and Italian restaurants that would not be out of place in Europe. I think it stems from the Taiwanese great love of EATING. Which means they make a HUGE effort and take great pride in making something *taste really good* – you know, if they’re going to do Italian, they do it really well. Some Taiwanese person will have visited or lived in Italy and loved the flavours and want to recreate it back home.

      Of course, there are some bad restaurants – and I’m talking mainly Taipei, as the rest of Taiwan can be very uncosmopolitan – but still, overall, I would say that it trumps a lot of other places in general for food – of any kind! Even if you speak to people from China or other countries in Asia, when you mention Taiwan, they’ll usually say, “Oh, the food there is REALLY good!” πŸ˜›

      • Melanie

        Heh, that just proves how good my “sugar-food” radar is…. At first glance I thought it looked like the waffle itself was chocolate, but then I figured that was too good to be true and didn’t even ask about that. :-) From the sound of things, I may just have to put Taiwan on my “places to visit before I die” list…..

  • Melinda

    That is so sweet, it is all in the delivery, wait for it, ahhhhhhhh! Love this post.

    I worked in a male oriented field, and enjoyed the fact that my peers had that sense of get it all out, no emotional drama, and then let’s just get on with it. It is a breath of fresh air to roar at one another and when it’s over, let’s go get a bite to eat. No drawn out, petty resentments. No wonder you are such a healthy well balanced individual. Great Mom.

    Glad to hear you had a safe lovely trip, and made some lovely memories to share.

  • Khyra's Mom

    What a great post –
    It is what makes US what we are – a mix of good – better – best πŸ˜‰
    I’m sure this trip will be a long treasured memory – even with the thump back to reality –
    Thanks for having shared it with us!
    As for the dishes, there is ALWAYS tomorrow for them – or maybe even the day after that!

  • Dorothy S from Michigan

    I used to go away for two weeks in the summer. One week with my in-laws and one week with my parents.

    Sadly they have all passed, but I can certainly relate.

    I never fought with my mother, though. Don’t hear me as criticizing. I’m simply different. I left home when I was 18 and became “my own person”, so I suppose I had my “boundaries” up. Sometimes we talked about the things we had in common and things we did different. I suppose I am unusual in that I would rather show my love by doing things with someone rather than talking together about our relationship. That is when I enjoyed my mom the most, when we could work on one of her household projects together or go somewhere together.

    Sometimes when I was there I felt a bit smothered, but the cure for that seemed to be to go off alone for awhile. Who knows, perhaps my mom might have felt “invaded” to have an ambitious daughter move in for a week. She was smart to have a chore list ready for me when I arrived. Mom was also very kind about being grateful for help even if I did not do things exactly her way. (I did learn to be careful to put things away EXACTLY where I found them after I found out that Mom had to search for things after I left.)

    Even though I loved having “projects”, I loved catching up with my mom’s news, her favorite TV programs, (she watched more than most because she was ill), and her new collections. (She was an avid art and Navaho rug collector. Even thou going to the grocery store was a physical ordeal, she still managed to go to the galleries as a special treat.) I also seem to find the energy to do what I love most.

    Hsin – Yi, I am so glad you were able to take your trip away. I hope you are able to see the rest of your family soon.

  • nightshadesworld

    A fantastic post to read! Really enjoyed it! No wonder you’re needing some time to adapt and get back to your old routine. But seeing who’s all been waiting for you at home, it shouldn’t take too much of an effort. :)

    And about that thing between mothers and daughters: I really know what you mean, it’s exactly the same for me!

  • Mina&Maks&Mo

    Oh, when you were describing your relationship with your mother, the difference in character, it was just as me and my mother!! Totally, only she is not such a strong character so when we “argue and fight” over things, i win, so usually we don’t fight πŸ˜› … And, as you said, it doesn’t stop us from having a good relationship, maybe not the best, but still we can find some mutual understanding in most stuff, but have totally passionate talks about food, cooking and planting, picking mushrooms or plants for tea or such ….

    How it sounded familiar when you were talking about old clothes covered with drool :( My everyday outfit, but I didn’t have nice trip to be able to dress a little bit better … Ah, maybe I should book a holiday without my dogs :)) … But don’t have lovely hubby to stay with them while I go explore the wonders of being a woman when it comes to dressing nicely and actually having time to do my nails, hair and makeup, heheee.

    Great post Hsin-Yi.


  • sara, oreo and chewy

    Fantasic! I really wanna go hang out with your mom!

    I know many people whose dream vacation would be to go to Australia, but if you showed them your “from this to this” photos, I bet a few might change their minds and opt for Taiwan! It looks amazing (especially the food).

    • Hsin-Yi

      Well, I have to say, Sara – I think the “everyday life” pictures could never compare, wherever you lived in the world! πŸ˜‰ Even if you lived in Monte Carlo or whatever, everyday life just gets mundane and “boring” compared to places you’re visiting temporarily overseas…having said that, you’re so right. We decided to emigrate Down Under because we came out ot Australia on holiday and got seduced by the whole “holiday romance” of the place…and now we’re finding that the reality of actually LIVING here (especially in a big, crowded, expensive city like Sydney) is very different and sobering!!! But I suppose that would be true of any place! :-)

  • Lilli

    I love those “from this… to this” pictures πŸ˜€ And I know exactly how you feel about spending time with you mother 24/7. I think it’s the same for most of the people. It’s ok to spend some time together with your family but once you’ve tasted the living on your own you definately aren’t going back to home to your parent/s and live there again. That just won’t work anymore. I can handle it about a week but then I must get to my own home and do things my way and relax and I can be myself again.


  • Jed & Abby in MerryLand

    I’m impressed with how well your mom is walking already, after double knee surgery. She must be rigorous in doing her physical therapy – and have good genes. Is your mom staying in Taipai by herself until she goes back for her post-op review and ‘you’re free to go home’ appointment, or does she still have some family or friends in Taiwan with whom she can visit while she waits? You’re so very lucky to still have your mom and to be building these wonderful memories.


    • Hsin-Yi

      Oh yeah, my mother has been following her physio rehab homework to the letter! She has special exercises to do 4 times a day – at each meal time, plus before bedtime – and she follows this rigorously.

      She’s been very stoic and I think this is partly the reason for her rapid recovery – coz the doctors said that a lot of people skimp on the exercises or do them halfheartedly because of the pain & discomfort & swelling (I didn’t show the photos but my mother’s legs looked pretty horrific, with her knees swollen up like balloons and bruises all up & down her thighs) – but they’re important to prevent scarring during this healing period and to keep the joints mobile, as they regenerate – if you wait till after all the pain & swelling has died down to start doing the exercises, it’s a bit too late and your knees will be stiffer and take longer to get back to normal function,. So my mother has been pushing through the pain and doing her exercises rigorously – her surgeon’s been very impressed with her.

      I guess some of it is good genes too – and perhaps a very strong, positive, can-do attitude. (and I think the incentive of all those shops on sale is a great motivating factor too! πŸ˜‰ The faster my mother heals and is back on her feet, the faster she can get back to browsing them – ha! ha!!)

      We don’t have many close family in Taipei, although she does have some old friends who have been visiting her. But actually – despite her sociable nature – my mother is quite happy to spend time alone and do things solo too – so it doesn’t bother her being alone in Taipei – she just goes out and enjoys herself. The only company you need when shopping & bargaining is your purse!! πŸ˜‰

  • Lassiter Chase and Benjamin

    Loved the “to this” photos. Especially the one with the dramatic change between u being all dressed up — to the one with you housecleaning. Had Mommy smiling from ear to ear! Mommy is kinda a “to this” person — she likes it best to just be home and be herself!

  • Paul Thompson

    Good Morning Hsin-Yi Yeay your home!! there is no place like home is there ? Im so glad that your mom is ding well and I loved all the pics and no worris even when your not all dalled up your still pretty cute lol I love the pic of Honey and Mislie greating your mum and I imagin Paul was Saying never leave again ! LOL Hope you enjoy your first full day back BIG HUS From Sophie and Chloie and ME LOL

  • April Weir

    Thank you for your honest representation of a mother daughter relationship. I know I wont be the only person who relates to the way you and your mother interact. Like you say, better out than in, keeps things from getting bottled up and possible resentments. I keep thinking back to the sale prices, it makes the 15% off flyers we get in the U.S. seem silly! I love reading your blogs and will contine to be a follower, thank you for making my lunch break even better.