(Photo of Pei Ling and of a farmer in his field along the highway).
I'ts been a month now since I returned to America. On the day I left Chiayi, the clouds were dark and heavy over the city. The school had paid for me to take a taxi from my apartment to the airport in Taoyuan, a three hour drive. Clark, my regular English speaking taxi driver was waiting in front of my apartment complex at a quarter till three in the afternoon. Pei Ling stopped by earlier to collect some belongings I couldn't take back with me to the States. We walked to the taxi and hugged goodbye. I can't remember any time in my life when someone has treated me as well or been as supportive of me as Pei Ling has been during my stay in Taiwan. What an incredible person she is. I will long remember her standing there in front of my apartment gates, tears streaming down her face, as my taxi pulled away from the curb. Almost immediately, it began to rain and continued to rain throughout Chiayi County. Almost in a parallel to my thoughts and my mission for the day, the rain cleared by the time we were in Yulin County and clouds mingled with glimpses of clear sky. By the time we were near Taichung, we stopped for a break and a last supper. Clark bought me a traditional Taiwanese dinner of fish balls and chia. Now where in America could I find a taxi driver who would treat his passenger to dinner? He even gave me a gift of dried plums to take back on the long trip home. Taiwanese are such kind and generous people. I will long miss the hospitality and friendship. There are so many stories to tell about the adventure and the people. I wonder if I will ever tell them, or if perhaps, the photographs will have to tell the stories. Tonight I sit here in my empty house in Mansfield, Ohio, getting ready to begin a new adventure in Oregon in a few weeks. Why Oregon, you ask. Why not?