Sunday, November 30, 2008

Taipei: Tori's first international swim meet

People always say kids grow up quickly these days. This saying rings true for us, at least in regards to swimming. Just this past August, Tori tried out for her school’s swim team. She made the team and now a few months later, she is back from her first international swim competition in Taipei, Taiwan. She is excited about swimming these days. I am mostly thrilled for her but cant help but feel a bittersweet “end of the innocence” feeling as well. I know that two a day work outs are just around the corner. Well, at least on the horizon now whereas only free play was there before.

Tori and I flew to Taipei with the team the day before the meet and were able to do a little sight seeing. Taipei is only an hour flight from Hong Kong and I was expecting more of the same. I was surprised by the low rise buildings, the green spaces and the much more Chinese feel to the place. Numerous times through our time there, Tori had to use her Chinese to negotiate with bus drivers and restaurant staff as no one around us spoke English.

We learned that the Japanese took over Taiwan in 1895, at the end of the Sino-Japanese War. The Japanese influence is still seen in the majority of the architecture in Taipei. China took back control of Taiwan after Japan’s defeat in World War II. Then General Chiang Kai-shek and his Kumomintang (national) forces retreated to Taiwan after being defeated by the Communists during the Chinese Civil War in 1949.

This back and forth between Taiwan and China is played out in the history of the National Palace Museum. The museum, which houses both art and artifacts, holds pieces from the Emperor’s collection, formerly housed in the Forbidden City of Beijing. The original collection of pieces collected by the Emperors was boxed up and shipped out to avoid capture during World War II. Some was stored in Taiwan where it then was watched over by the national forces. After keeping it in warehouses for years, it was finally decided to display it to the public. The possession of the artifacts is still a debated topic.

From the oldest to the newest, we next went to Taipei 101, the world’s tallest building. Built in 2004, it stands 1, 474 feet tall and holds all sorts of records, such as tallest occupied floor in a building, tallest antenna on a building. Taipei 101’s most well-known record is that it has the fastest elevator in the world. We took the elevator to the top in about 50 seconds, with our ears popping in both directions. Tori saw that the record was actually 43 seconds and when she timed it, the elevator was a little slower. Fast enough for me and a good lesson in time for the start of our swim meet.

Tori did great in the swim meet, swimming 50’s and 100’s of most strokes. The swimmers were put into lanes and heats in the gym and then marched down to the deck. Tori was easy to spot as the little girl carrying a panda stuffed animal to her block. She improved all her times dramatically. At one point, she said “I only dropped 10 seconds on that one?!?” She placed 3rd over all in her age group in the 100 free and got a medal.

But the real highlight came later at the after meet banquet. Tori’s team won first place overall in the meet. The announcer asked the youngest swimmer on the team to come on stage and accept the trophy. A very proud Tori went up and accepted the trophy, raising it above her head at the request of her coach. Adam and Royce were shocked to hear this exciting story and immediately began wondering who would accept the trophy when they were both the youngest members of the team. It seems like that day is a ways off and we have time to figure it out, but at this rate, who knows!


Blogger Dianne Tully said...

Thanks for the great story/update. I love the picture it is mini-Albie!!! Go Tori!!!

10:07 AM  
Blogger alberta1 said...

I guess the second trip to Taipei is old hat and does not get a write up. That's ok I will always remember the fun we had. Grandma

5:04 PM  

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