Last Sunday, I woke up to some very upsetting news about a dear friend back home that had fallen suddenly and unexpectedly ill. I felt so sad and so shocked. By afternoon, I knew I had to get my puffy face out of the house. That’s not entirely true. I knew I needed to get my kids out of the house and my puffy face would have to join us. My friend and I brought our girls and one of their friends over to the closest elementary school. As we strolled around and drank our tea, the girls played, and I shared in a daze, everything I currently knew about my friend’s medical situation. She already knew of this friend because I had mentioned her many times before. She was the friend that was probably the most laid back person I know. She was the friend that had the son, that my son played with most when we were home during the summer. She was the friend that I had really just started to connect with before we moved here and yet turned out to be one of the people that I spent the most time with whenever we were home. She was the friend that was an inspiration with her quiet faith and the calm and loving way that she mothered her children. She was one of the people that I was really looking forward to seeing this summer.
As my friend and I stood close by my youngest daughter while she played, with the older girls across the field, we noticed our daughter’s friend sprinting towards us. (A natural track star if I ever did see one!) I thought for sure one of our girls was hurt. As she got within hearing range she called out, “You have to come see! We found the most gorgeous bird!!” We breathed a sigh of relief and followed her back to where a small group of children were crowded around to see the bird.
Right away, it was obvious this was not a wild bird. It was clearly someone’s pet. It was coloured beautifully and let people get so close to it before it would fly a short distance away. I thought to myself, “That’s someone’s pet. That birdie needs a home. It won’t survive out here. I’d like that bird to be my pet.” I tried to touch it a few times, but it wouldn’t let me. I wished I was bolder and braver and able to get him. But I knew I couldn’t do it. We all followed him around the field for about 30 minutes. We took photos and laughed and admired the bird. And I snapped out of my daze for a little bit. Then my friend’s daughter took a fall while running, and scraped herself up quite a bit. We sat down with her trying to distract her and cheer her up. Then I heard my daughter yell, “MOM! Someone caught the bird!!” Sure enough a man was walking towards us with the bird in hand. I jumped up and headed over. As I approached he stopped and showed me the bird. He started speaking to me in English (phew!) and talked about how it had to be someone’s pet and would not survive out here. “Yes, yes…” I agreed with him and nodded my head. “So, will you take him home?” I asked. “No”, he said, “do you want to take him home?” I couldn’t see my face, but I’m pretty sure my eyes lit up. “Sure!! But how?” He was obviously pleased that I wanted to take him and after mentioning that I’d have a great story to tell, said he’d find me a box. And I’m thinking, “where in the world is he going to find a box to put a bird in, at the park?” Sure enough, he came back about a minute later with our little birdie safely inside a donut box.
As we did the typical photoshoot that you do here after these sort of events, and I thought to myself in the most positive way, “only in Taiwan….”, my friend’s daughter shouted out, “We should call him Donut because you got him in a donut box!!” And I had to agree. It was pretty much the perfect name.
So, we all hopped on our bikes and headed to the pet store. Moments later we had a cage and some food for Donut and we were happy new bird people. Budgie people, I should say. (The lady at the pet store educated me.) The whole experience was such a fun and uplifting thing for me on an otherwise pretty sad day.
When we first brought Donut home, he sat in the same spot and didn’t move or make a peep for the first few days. I was convinced he was sick. (You know…Google) But then slowly, he started to get more comfortable and make some sounds. (The first time I’m pretty sure was in complaint to me blaring and singing away to my music in the kitchen.) He also started to move around a bit more. Those first few days sounded very grim for my friend back home. But then one day, I woke up to a more positive update on her. And the news has gone up and down since. But today it was some pretty good news! And the doctors are currently “cautiously optimistic”. So I am also cautiously optimistic. And I can’t help but think as Donut’s little personality blossoms and gets a little stronger everyday, so does her health.
I’m glad we have this new little friend in our life bringing us some laughter. The kids love him of course. And as it turns out, his little personality is pretty hilarious. I’m currently working on getting him over his human stranger danger. (which angers him!)
But much more than this, I’m SO thankful and relieved that our friend is still here and alive, on the other side of the world. She has been pretty much constantly on my mind since I first heard the news and I will not stop thinking about her, praying for her and hoping desperately that she will come back to us. You’ve got this Amanda! xo