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an update in four movements

The Huang family newsletter


jan 2021
When we last sent a newsletter, we were on the throes a massive, intercontinental transition, boarding an evacuation flight from Libreville, Gabon, to Paris, and then onward to the US. Now, on the threshold of yet another grand transition, we thought you might appreciate a short resume of our life since then. Thus, here is said update, in four parts.
Premier: COVID!

We landed in the US on June 25 and 48 hours later, Kimberley was experiencing severe fatigue, sore throat, and phlegm. To make a long story short, she was diagnosed with COVID-19 and spent the better of two weeks sleeping in bed. Surprisingly and fortuitously, neither anDrew nor his parents, who we stayed with, came back with a positive nasal swab. Kimberley has since fully recovered except for her sense of smell, which has yet to return six months later.
Kim gets her nasal swab in late June. It would take an annoying 13 days to come back positive.
We spent almost seven weeks with anDrew’s parents just outside Portland, Oregon. (We were unaffected by the Portland protests [boy, doesn’t that seem like a lifetime ago!]) After sending documents back and forth to no less than nine cities worldwide (Taipei, Taiwan; Albertville and Paris, France; Auburn and San Francisco, California; Niskayuna and New York, New York; Washington, DC; Seattle, Washington) we received Taiwanese passports for Nolan and Solène and a spousal resident visa for anDrew, allowing us to board a plane to our provisional new home: Taipei.
Nolan and Solène prep for their flight to Taipei.
Deuxième: A normal life in Taiwan.

Having closed its borders early during the pandemic except to its citizens and residents (which we now all are!), Taiwan has been relatively unaffected by the COVID pandemic. There has been negligible community spread of the virus, as nearly 90% of the only 800+ registered cases have been caught during the mandatory two-week quarantine for all international arrivals. As a result, businesses, sporting events, houses of worship, restaurants, theatres, and (most relevant to us) schools have remained open and fully functioning.
Nolan and Solène enjoying playtime at their school.
Nolan has been enrolled in kindergarten and Solène at preschool since the beginning of September. As anticipated, their Mandarin proficiency has exploded, and it has become their preferred language. Nolan has also taken swimming, ice skating, and French lessons, and Solène a toddler music class. (Because we’re tiger parents like that!)
Troisième: Announcing a new Huang baby!

As nice as it is to live in a country sheltered from the pandemic, it was not the primary reason we came to Taiwan. Rather, the primary reason was to be close to Kim’s family during the birth of our third child. Every birth story is filled with some anguish and frustration, and certainly in delivering a third child in yet a third country, ours is no exception. But we are happy that our boy, Ewen Huang, came out safe and sound the morn of Christmas Eve, weighing 3585 g / 7 lb 14 oz.
Ewen's Chinese name is 黃宥恩 (You-en) and his Korean name is 황유은 (Yu-eun). His Chinese name translates to "forgiving grace." Similar to our first two children, his English name is designed to sound similar to his Asian ones.
Kimberley is now halfway through her 坐月子 (zuo yue zi), her one-month postpartum “confinement” traditionally observed by Chinese women. Unlike in New York or France, however, there is an entire industry dedicated to this in Taiwan; so Kim is staying at a nice hotel that provides 3 meals and 3 snacks per day, regular visits from doctors and nurses, and a 24-hour nursery. Ewen, for his part, has had no problem gaining over a kilogram since his birth.
The many faces of baby Ewen.
Quatrième: uncertain future.

Originally our plan was to move to Australia for anDrew’s one year fellowship at Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Had things gone “according to plan,” we would already be there. But entering Australia has turned out to be quite the obstacle. Nearly five months after submitting our applications, we do not yet have all the necessary visas and authorisations to enter the country, which had closed its borders in March 2020. Even if we do manage to get the paperwork in order, there’s no guarantee that we would be able to secure a flight into the country, as Australia has imposed severe limits on the numbers of arriving international passengers, regardless of citizenship or reason for entry. Additionally, inbound international flights are limited to roughly 30 passengers per plane, inflating individual ticket prices to astronomical sums.

What happens if we can’t make it to Australia? We sincerely don’t know—we never really had a plan B (unforgivable, we know, for a plastic surgeon). Our Taiwanese friends and acquaintances think we would be crazy to leave this insulated little island in the midst of pandemic—perhaps they have a point.

So we do what we’ve been doing: discussing, dreaming, praying, and prepping ourselves for come what may, while enjoying those things precious to us here in the moment.
The family reunites for the first time in the hospital.

And now...for some family pictures!

The kids have, of course, enjoyed spending time with their US- and Taiwan-based families, including 할아버지 and 할머니 (their paternal grandparents), and 阿公, 奶奶, & 舅舅 (maternal grandparents and uncle).
Solène celebrated her third birthday in Taiwan, appropriately dressed in her hanbok while we dined at a Korean BBQ restaurant. Her birthday on December 23 is just one day before Ewen's.
Solène and Nolan enjoy some galette des rois, a traditional French cake eaten to celebrate Epiphany. It was served during a get-together of the local French-Taiwanese association, a group with which we have enjoyed participating.
     
Want to read previous newsletters?
Click here for a short archived list,
or go to our blog for full archives.


(Just as an FYI: you may occasionally receive duplicate newsletter emails from us.)
     
anDrew: docdrew@gmail.com

Kimberley: kimboley@gmail.com
Copyright © 2021 The Huang Dynasty, All rights reserved.

This newsletter is about Andrew, Kimberley, Nolan, Solène and Ewen Huang, and their time in France, Gabon, and beyond.

The Huang Dynasty PO Box 820152 Vancouver, WA 98682 USA
or
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