(12) 1988

The lock on the door turns, and I dash back to my bench and return to a state of repentance.

"Leeeeeen! Why aren't you with us in the office?"

Like thunder, Ms.Chou's voice lights up the windowless school supply room and my face.

"Come to the office now. I brought your favorite fruits so you better get some before they are gone." She gestures for me to hurry, before adding as an afterthought: "Your mom says you can leave."

At the teacher's lounge, a mini spread of fresh tropical fruits covers the table, but there's no one in here except my little sister, who is currently is working through a guava the size of her head.

Ms. Chou, a.k.a. our "Dry Mom", may be the only teacher at school who speaks with a distinct Mainland accent, having been a military wife and fled China with the KMT years ago.

Straight-talking, optimistic and sometimes overly generous in both kindness and money - she is very popular amongst her peers, even though "mainlanders" aren't exactly looked upon kindly by the native population.

She doesn't talk much about her life before Taiwan, or the family that she left behind -- all of it. Cross-strait communications were heavily monitored under martial law, so until last year (that's for nearly 40 years!) she had no proper contact with her parents, her sisters, or any of her relatives living in the communist state.

Maybe that's why she loves us, because we love her back in equal measures. Not for the fancy candies, not for the quirky gifts, but for her kind heart and who she is to us - our godmother, our protector, our lucky star. 

What are the things that come to your mind when you think of the year 1988? Please share them below with us, or on Instagram comments or DM, or just jot them down in your private diary.

FTB Time of My Life is an exercise to celebrate the things that have shaped our lives. Click here for details on how to participate.

Up next, 1989!

Eileen x