11 September, 2008

It has been raining for three days

Taipei, Taiwan - Sinlaku is making its way ashore on Taiwan's east coast today (this entry was started and marked 9/11/2008 but I actually wrote and published it 9/13/2008 Taipei time). The "super typhoon" packs a punch of over 110 miles per hour wind speed and is forecast to bring approximately 1,000 mm of rain over the course of its brief sojourn on the island.

Although the typhoon brings a moody quality to Taipei's concrete jungle, I've been finding it refreshing to have once-crowded streets all to myself. So I've been just walking. I'm not sure if it's part of the healing process or if I am seeking escape from the reality of dad's death. But I walked ....

On September 11th I turned in dad's passport to the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). For those who are not familiar with the absurdities of the Sino-Taiwan-American relations, the United States government doesn't recognize the government of Taiwan as the island's legitimate authority. But realizing the importance of trade, commerce, and perhaps common decency, Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 and established AIT as a non-profit organization to provide American representation and consular services in Taiwan. There is no Old Glory hanging over the front door of our unofficial embassy in Taipei and no Marine guards. Just a low key institution on No.7, Lane 134, Sec. 3, HsinYi Rd., Da-an District, Taipei City (106-59 台北市大安區信義路三段134巷7號) that focuses on "people-to-people relationship" between the United States and Taiwan.

Alors - I turned in dad's very official passport to a non-official organization to obtain an official U.S. Department of State Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad, a document that is necessary to apply for and transfer all of dad's social security benefits to mother.

I still have the wake and the cremation ceremony to organize for September 19th. The way it is conducted in Taiwan, I'm not sure if the services are for dad, or for the elders who rule over the clan. As my father's only son, I have been mindful to personally hand-deliver the invitations to the right family members, and to appropriately confirm their status as my senior.

I will be very happy to finish the Taiwanese chapter of dad's life and look forward to finally putting him to rest amongst the Cascades.

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