Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Visiting Taichung, Taiwan and Saying Goodbye to Grandpa - May 12 - May 17

I'm dedicating this post to my beloved Grandpa, who passed away on Friday, May 14. He was 101 years old.

My Grandpa had been very healthy his entire life. He had no major illnesses. No high blood pressure and no diabetes. His skin was radiant with no wrinkles. I last visited him in September 2005, when he was 97 years old. Here's me and Grandpa when I last saw him.

Unfortunately, Grandpa caught a cold in mid-April. He had high fever and was rushed to the hospital. He was unconscious. He never recovered and his condition worsened as time went on. He was on life support with machines that made him sound like Darth Vader in Star Wars. His body was swollen from the strong antibiotics. He had blood sepsis. My Mom went to Taiwan immediately and was there for 3 weeks. She came back to the U.S. the week I was in Washington, DC (see previous blog). However, the Monday morning after I returned from my East Coast trip, Mom told me they've decided to turn off the machines that had been keeping Grandpa alive, so I booked a flight going out that afternoon and went back to Taiwan to say goodbye to Grandpa. I had to see him one last time.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

New Jersey, NYC, and Washington, DC - May 2010

We had another conference in Washington DC last week. I took advantage of the timing and went up to NJ and NYC the weekend before to visit my favorite city in the U.S. (NYC), and take part in a surprise baby shower for my girl friend Fabienne.

I flew in to Newark on Saturday, May 1, and stayed at the Hilton in Newark attached to the Penn Station, so I had easy access in and out of NYC via PATH and Amtrak down to DC. I last saw Fabbie in October of 2009 and we had a blast roaming around NYC (see blog). She found out she's pregnant the weekend before I saw her in October but didn't break the news to me until New Year. Fabbie's sister and boyfriend contacted me a month ago and told me they are planning a surprise baby shower for her, and I offered to help with the conspiracy.

Fabbie's boyfriend Glenn asked me to keep Fabbie occupied Saturday night while he and Fabbie's sister Jenny finalize the baby shower details. Fabbie and I decided to dine at this Cuban restaurant in Jersey City, Hard Grove Cafe. The wait was super long, but the food was worth the wait!

Since the weather was warm like summer in NYC and NJ over the weekend, I told Fabbie I wanted to go to Serendipity 3 and have their famous Frozen Hot Chocolate for dessert. It was still 80 degrees by the time we left at midnight! (And we found out about the Time Square car bomb. It felt surreal being in such close proximity. We're glad they didn't shut down the train.)