It’s summer in Taiwan right now, and that only means on thing: HOT. Ok, it means SWEATY as well. So I suppose I should really say, Taiwan is pretty hot and sweaty right now. Especially if you live in Taipei. Even the locals here will tell you it’s hot. You might actually feel quite comfortable, but they’ll insist that it’s hot.
And while we’re on the topic of local weather and other local things, something in the culture here is losing face. Now, when a Taiwanese person talks about losing face, they of course are speaking metaphorically. But I will be speaking – or writing, rather – literally. Literally losing my face. In Taiwan. Here we go.
I lost my face. It didn’t happen all at once. It was definitely a process, and I definitely wore a mask to work yesterday because of it. I already wrote in my last blog that Nature had her way with me. Well, she’s why I lost my face. I had never really quite experienced something like this before. I had been sun-burned in the past and experienced my fair share of peeling and red-hot skin – or so I thought. I had yet to LOSE FACE.
And I lost face.
Sunday night when I returned from my journey, I was straight up red. Monday morning, the redness remained, and the skin was definitely feeling rubbery and tight and dry – not feeling good. By that evening, things were not looking good. By the time I went to bed, pieces of dry, dead skin had found their way down my bathroom’s drain. It was literally coming off in flakes. The skin underneath was so…fresh and pink.
Tuesday morning, I was beginning to wonder what I was going to look like after it was all over. But for the time being, I wore a mask while teaching that morning. It’s normal for Taiwanese people to wear masks. It’s not normal for them to go to the beach, run around like a free bird, and then have fried pieces of skin flaking off their face. Tuesday afternoon, my face looked like a map of the surface of a cratered planet.
I was making very good choices in terms of my skin AFTER I burned. These choices helped the process along and kept my face moisturized, so by Tuesday evening, I had this rather fresh looking face looking at me in the mirror. It was a good thing, since I needed to go out and recover some other property that was mine: a book that I had left on the train on my return journey from Dulan.
I went back to Taipei Main, was taken to the Duty Office, and the officer there found my book in the pile of Lost & Found items. It was a rather happy moment for me, since my Dad had passed this book along to me for my birthday and I was quite interested in finishing it.
So I went home Tuesday, with my book AND my face back. It was like closure from my little 3-day getaway. I like closure. I need closure. I also need my face and a good book to read.
Life truly does move in a circle.