Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I can leave Taiwan, but the island will always find me again

Just when I thought I wouldn't have anything Taiwan-related to write about...

I should have known better. Let me back up. A few days before I departed La Isla Formosa, my aunts called informing me that my mother had requested some 中藥 - Chinese medicine - from them that I needed to bring home with me. They wanted to know if I had enough room in my luggage for it. And, to be perfectly frank, I didn't. My suitcase, duffel, and backpack were all full to the seams.

Not to mention I was openly skeptical with them about the medicine. They told me my mom wanted it for my brother, to help him grow taller, as well as some for my "womanly needs." I've seen these packets of 中藥 before, and actually my mother has given me brewed herbal concoctions before. But to help my brother grow taller? Unless there are growth hormones or something in those herbs, I doubt they will have a significant effect on him, and if there are, well then he shouldn't be taking them anyway!

But due to my aunts' persistence, and not a few guilt-tripping lectures (what can one ABC do against 4 Taiwanese aunts, I ask?), I decided to make room for the questionable bags of medicine. I ended up with two bags of clothes I decided I didn't need or that various cousins had given me that I could return to them, and I also left my ShiDa books with Mark. So the morning of my flight, my uncle picked me up bright and early to stop by my 2nd aunt's house to get the medicine. I only got to actually see what it looked like then, and it wasn't pretty. 10 hefty bags filled with bark shavings, dried leaves and flowers, and other bits of general organic material. Yikes.

But hey, at least it wasn't "powdered tiger umbilical cord" or anything from some endangered animal - at least I hope not. I managed to stuff all but 2 of the bags into my (already strained) suitcase and duffel (which, as an aside, aren't that big - I try to pack light when I can) and we were off to the airport, and I didn't give the medicine another thought.

That is, until tonight. I have had, just now, a bowl of the most putrid concoction I have ever experienced. It's nothing at all like what I've had before, which actually tasted pretty good. This was just gross. And, according to my mother, I can't add anything to help with the taste because it will decrease its "effectiveness." Hah!

My poor brother. Thank God I'm moving back to campus this weekend.


Mark said...

Yikes! Uh... how often do you have to drink it?

Thanks for the books, btw.

somimi said...

Um...every day until I get the hell out of here!

I think. But it wasn't a good sign that, when I asked (in a strangled voice) if this was all I had to drink, she replied, "For today..."

And you're very welcome. Hope they are useful to you!