By: Mays Alejandra
Nestled in high altitude forests, up in the lush, green mountains, hidden from non-eagle's eyes, behold beautiful wooden cottages, decorated with French glass windows, both in the same city yet kilometers apart. One reminds me of sadness and the other of life. The Taiwanese mountains always call to me, whether I am happy or sad, whether I want to go exploring or just relax. The thought of fresh air and peaceful quiet lure me out of my comfortable home and into the unknown.
When Bee and I decided that we are "ready" for a baby, we kind of knew what we were getting into. We hadn't thought far ahead into the sleepless nights, oh no! We had traveled, we had explored, we had done crazy things, we had lived to the fullest. We also knew that there was a high chance of miscarriage for I had gone through one before, in my previous life. We were even afraid there would be no baby at all, that was also a possibility.
But we tried nonetheless. We were excited and looking forward to that time of the month that many other females don't. The day came and went, days passed and we realized our first attempt was fruitless. I feared the worst. Would we ever be able to have the one thing we desired the most? Right away, I sunk into depression. Bee, the ever loving partner that he is, decided that the mountains would heal my wounded heart.
Off we went in search of peace that surpassed understanding. Up a very steep and rocky mountain went little blue. Swerving slowly through every curve, revving ever so loudly into the clouds. After what seemed like hours, we finally made it to the flat part of the high mountain. We passed camping grounds with beautiful views of the neighboring mountains and valleys and finally got to the beautiful cottage.
There was a welcoming garden at the entrance.
The place was beautiful and it was so amazing that it could exist up so high. How did they bring up the materials to build, how did they get the fresh produce up there every day? My brain could not fathom these ideas yet wondered aloud. I was impressed that even in my sad state, I could marvel at human ingenuity.
We ordered coffee and tea.
I must tell you, the coffee was good but their tea was and still is the most amazing tea I have ever had in my whole life: the texture, the taste, the smell, the presentation.
We ordered hotpot. As a couple, we never order hotpot, never. It became food for my iced soul that day. While they prepared our meal, we joined other restaurant guests in the gardens overlooking the clouds that met the mountain.
My puffy eyes slowly slid back to normal. The view, the breeze, even the gloomy weather, it all gave me hope. After all, was our first try.
Fast forward two years later and join me as I guide you through the Lavender Forest.
Smell the faint scent drifting through the mist that is let go by a single touch of a button. Look around the beautiful gardens with different kinds of plants and flowers.
For the most part it is quiet, minus a conversation or two drifting in the air waves. You pass a couple of families with children, couples, kids swinging on the wooden swings by the tall trees. The marvelous white chapel looking construction slowly enlarges and greets you. How do you get to the entrance? Past wonderfully decorated corners, past bright yellow flowers lining up a wooden path that overlooks the wonderful valley, you finally find the floor entrance.
Keep in mind you are there to relax, don't mind the two hour wait for the restaurant space. Give your name and phone number and roam about the gardens, the ice cream parlor, the yard. Or simply sit by the wooden recliners that are sparsely placed surrounding the building.
Smell the fresh mountain air...
There is a child, a toddler I must say, deep in sleep inside her stroller. She is Bee's and mine.
We got really blessed with this one. One unbelievable discovery in November of 2019, she was:
"I don't need to do a pregnancy test because I am not pregnant!", said I to the lab technician at the hospital after he asked ,"Ma'am, did you do a pregnancy test?". He slowly turned the ultrasound monitor for me to see a tiny heartbeat. Up down, up down went the green line. I would have to be careful throughout the first few months, a high risk pregnancy, it was.
We would even believe the stories of women over 35 years and the higher risks involved. I would sleep on my left side for whole of nine months, just so she would be comfortable, the little one swimming in her liquid world.
And now, there she was, softly breathing the fresh mountain air. There were many days we prayed for her to be okay, the happiest moments were watching her smile in her sleep. The scariest moments when she was in the ICU and we had zero knowledge of her well-being let alone what was wrong.
But there she was now, our little angel, sleeping peacefully, with us. A little human with an interesting character. Now wanting to be independent and do things on her own. "Don't hold my hand! Don't feed me. I can do it all on my own.", her actions state.
Who would have thought we would be raising a Taiwanese child of our own?
The Lavender Cottage will remain the place that gives my heart the peace and happiness we as a couple with a child longs for.
Many do not want to talk about the sad days they go through, much less share with those who seem to be strangers. But every state of being can still bring forth beautiful memories!
Try to remember the saddest day in your life. Where were you? Weren't you in a place you chose to be? That place must have meant something more than a sad memory. Why were you there in the first place? Breathe deeply.
Now, drift slowly back to the present. Aren't you glad it happened? What are you grateful for now? More importantly, who are you grateful for now?
...Now unto the next stage, when the toddler meets the sister. Or should I say, when my teenager meets the longed for sibling.
For that we will have to travel across oceans. We must, we will!