As a little kid, my Nana was my best friend.
Nana is from Taiwan and speaks Mandarin and Hokkein. I only spoke bits of both.
So, food and song became our secret language of love.
We’d sing together in Mandarin. One song, on repeat. It’s called ‘The Moon Represents my Heart’ by Teresa Teng. We’d catch the train into the city together and walk along the Yarra River.
But one day, when I was eight, Nanna wasn’t as bubbly. She hated worrying people.
But, I found out that she had been diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer.
The grey hairs on her head slowly disappeared as she went from one chemotherapy session to the next.
I felt powerless.
Until I found our newest love language: dance.
I’d dance across the hospital room. I liked how my sparkly shoes would slide along the cold, sterile floor. When I danced, I wasn’t scared or sad, I was flying.
I loved how when I danced, Nana would laugh.
I like to think my dancing helped Nana recover. Nana is now back in Taiwan and still in remission.
We Facetime a lot and I’m learning Mandarin.
Because of travel restrictions, we can’t go to Taiwan. But when we do, I can’t wait to sing our song together at karaoke.
When I look in the mirror, I can see my Nana in myself. We have the same eyes and the same sense of humour and we share a love of Taiwanese food, customs and culture.
I want to be like her when I get older. I want to continue to show future generations the love my Nana has showed me.