Once Home Always Home

It was in last November when Chen, who lived in the US, was planning a trip to Taiwan in this April with his family. Chen and his siblings were preparing an 80th-birthday gift for their mother, Madame Shinglien.

80th-birthday gift for

Chen told his travel consultant, Core, that their father passed away a few years ago, and they wanted to bring their kids, who grew up in the US, back the country where their grandparents once lived—Taiwan. They wished to visit the father’s alma mater, National Taiwan Ocean University, their old house in Sijiaoting, and Mei-Nung which was the hometown of their grandparents. Knowing this trip was unique and special to the Chen family, Topology Travel assigned them a guild who was very good at taking pictures: Clint. He used captured every precious moment with the camera so that the customers can revisit this exceptional tour whenever they like.

Since their trip was during the Easter vacation, the hotel booking should be prioritized. In order for them to feel like home as well as avoid the exhausting commute between Kaohsiung and Mei-nung, Core found the family a Mei-Nung’s local B&B modified from an old Tobacco Building. What’s more interesting was that the B&B’s owner turned out to be a distant relative of Madame Shinglien! We can only call it serendipity.

Chen would also like Core to do him a favor. Chen’s daughter, Mai Yin, was going to get married and she brought her fiancé with her on this trip to Taiwan. They hoped to find a tailor shop in Taipei that customized qipao which is a traditional Chinese dress. For this, Core managed to find a qipao master who could tailor-made one fine qipao for Mai Yin’s wedding in a week. Thanks to our travel consultant, Mai Yin got to wear an exquisite qipao that represented the oriental culture and became the most beautiful bride.

Also, thanks to Clint, Madame Shinglien went back to the elementary school where she once taught at. The school arranged an alumnus to explain the changes in the past few decades. In Sijiaoting, Madame Shinglien even met the man who bought her old house a long time ago.

Core said that it was her great pleasure to meet the Chen family during their trip. Shinglien told Core that she and her husband were both from the southern Taiwan. Then, her husband moved to the north to study and work, and she followed him up there and also started her career as a teacher. Afterwards, the husband moved again to the US to study, and the family emigrated abroad as well. “I’ve always wanted for the whole family to come back to Taiwan, but when we just moved to the US, the kids were still little, so we spent most of our time taking care of them. Then, time passed without us knowing it. The kids grew up and had their own career and kids,” Madame Shinglien told the story with a warm smile on her face.

Eventually, this year, everyone was available for this special trip. In the National Taiwan Ocean University, they flipped through the yearbooks in the library. The school has changed a lot in the past few decades, so the yearbook that contained the picture of Chen’s father was nowhere to be found. Although it was a pity that the grandchildren did not get a chance to see what their grandfather looked like when he was young, at least they got to visit the university where the grandfather once studied at.

Listening to Madame Shinglien’s story, Core felt like she was on this magical and memorable journey with the Chen family.