One of the reasons Manyu is in Taiwan for an extended stay is to help her mom figure out her living situation. My ninety-year old mother-in-law is healthy for her age, but her home is a third-floor walkup. Soon the stairs will be too much. 

Manyu has taken her mom to several senior living complexes, and as I would have guessed, my mother-in-law found something wrong with each of them. She doesn’t want to leave her home of over forty years. Manyu, on the other hand, not only likes some of the places they’ve looked at, but has picked out one she thinks would be a good fit for the two of us. As a result, our discussions about moving back to Taiwan have stepped up a notch.

I am not surprised that Manyu found an apartment she likes. The odd part, as far as I am concerned, is that I have not dismissed my wife’s suggestion that she and I might live in a place specifically designed for old people. Here in the United States, I’d sooner live in a tent than in any kind of retirement community. In Taiwan, I am willing to at least consider it.  What is the difference? 

The most likely difference is that nearly all people in Taiwan, not just old people, live in multiplexes that could pass for senior living. If the only big difference between regular housing and senior housing is the decibel levels in the adjacent apartments, I’m all for having neighbors who are asleep by ten.

Secondly, this move is more for Manyu than it is for me. She appreciates the amenities of La Crosse, she likes our house a lot, but she has wanted to move back to Asia for nearly thirty years. This is her turn. I do have a few requirements – access to public transportation, the ability to take walks right out of my front door, a good coffee shop not more than a kilometer away – but it would be hard to find a place in Taiwan that did not meet these basic specifications. 

Even though I say that a move to Asia is mostly for Manyu, I have felt for a long time that I have at least one more adventure left in me. Returning to Asia would fit the bill. This morning I sit at my middle-class American living room window, and I have my coffee, my dog, and my writing supplies. The sun has yet to rise up over the bluff, but I can tell it is going to be a blue sky day. I feel completely at peace.

Peace and adventure, peace and adventure. I want both. When I was in my twenties and thirties, I sometimes found both at the same time. If it doesn’t work that way any more, which one do I want now? 

Steven Simpson