I feel very relieved, as yesterday I finally received the notification from the competent quarantine authorities that next week I will obtain the permit to (re)import my two cats to Taiwan in mid-April.
It’s not yet the end of a long journey that’s started in June of last year, but it’s a very important step after some annoying bureaucratic trouble during the last couple of months.
When my first application got rejected in January for formal reasons, I feared for the worst and got so anxious that I had the immediate urge to call a good friend whom I usually keep updated.
When he picked up the phone, my voice faltered. He comforted me by assuring that I probably wouldn’t have to start the whole process again and that at the end everything would be fine.
It seemed like it all the stress accumulated since the end of March 2020 due to the seemingly endless pandemic with all its terrible consequences for society in general and the economy in particular overwhelmed me.
At the same time, it was the sudden irrational fear that somehow I wouldn’t be able to return as scheduled to Formosa, birthland of my felines and the only country where I have ever felt at home.
The almost three years that I have spent in Valencia my relationship with Max and Leni has intensified. In absence of any relatives here in Spain, they definitely have become my family.
Before I received Max and his brother Moritz, who suddenly succumbed to diabetes in 2015, as a totally unexpected birthday present in 2009, I believed that people buying their pets a tombstone were plain crazy.
Well, after Moritz perished I had him cremated and kept his ashes in my living room until shortly before I left Taiwan in 2018. With the exception of two teeth, I scattered them into the sea at the northern coast, with tears in my eyes.
There’s hardly a day that I don’t think about him and when I see his photo I get immensely sad, especially as I blame myself for not having spent more time with him.
Since I quit drinking for good around the time of my temporary return to Europe, this constant feeling of guilt has diminished, though I’m almost sure it will never go away completely.
Having adopted Leni as a suitable replacement for Moritz, whom Max missed very much, I try not to make the same mistake again and also be much more patient and less selfish.
I just don’t care if others laugh about my supposedly childish behavior. Contrary to humans, animals don’t have second thoughts and their love is unconditional.
They are true, loyal friends and in times of strict social distancing I have learned to appreciate that even more!
Therefore I’m looking forward to taking them back to Asia, where we all belong. After a thorough health check I hope to enjoy the pleasure of their company for many years to come!