Age: 25

The nostalgia about growing older, translated…

That day, she’d watched “Before Sunrise” again, Jesse and Celine met on the train, then, sparks flew, they’d connected, not long thereafter, the train arrived to Vienna, Jesse was about to transfer on a plane toward the U.S., and, Celine is onboard toward Paris, the two tried to avoid the fact that they’re about to part ways and never meet up again, and said goodbye, then, Jesse had a change of thought, asked Celine if she was willing to follow him off the trains, Celine was hesitant, he’d said, “Imagine, that twenty years from now, you’re married, then, slowly, gotten tired of being married.  You are reminded, of all the men you’d missed, and started wondering, if you’d chosen one of them, how different your life would be.”

And, that man you’re about to miss out on.  She and Celine were both stunned.  Like with a ticket to the terminal station, but on the way, passing through an enchanted little town, nobody can guarantee what is there after you get off, and, if you don’t get off, you’re destined to live in regrets.  You’d bought the ticket, someone will be there, waiting at you, at the terminal station, but that colorful small town is so similar to what you’d dreamed about at night.  The closest moment to seeing your dreams come true, and the decision is to happen, in a split second, the train is about to move on, the single second became an eternity, get off, or stay on.

Celine got off.

She saw how she got off, and, tears filled up her eyes.

Two months after her twenty-fifth, she’d realized, that she was, twenty-five.  Twenty-five, that, is a quarter of a century, the wonderful time of the twenties, the uncomfortable post-puberty years.  The adjectives of naïve, wondering, became degraded by the days, the years all of a sudden, started, to show up on her face now, even if she’d had that pair of jeans, and her backpack on, it still wouldn’t change the reality.  That day, the elderly woman who’d sold the food at the entrance of the street started calling her Ms., instead of “Young Lady”, she’d walked on, for a short bit, then realized, that the elderly woman was hollering for her, then, for the very first time in her life, she felt old.

Of course, twenty-five is not really old, but, she’d lost her nostalgic feeling of her teenage years now.  The popular music became cacophony to her ears, blasting from the shops on the streets, and, those young faces with the makeup on, on those concert posters became really strange; as she’d stayed up too late, she’d started to get that headache, before she made the exit of the all-you-can-eat hotpot place, she’d started feeling bloated; and could no longer tolerate the noises blasting inside the box of the karaoke, on New Year’s Eve, she’d just wanted to, get away from the crowd counting down, and head home to sleep.  All of a sudden, she’d recalled how her biology teacher once told of how after age twenty-five, the human body starts to age, back then, everybody sitting in the seats can’t wait to grow up and graduate, back then, twenty-five seemed as far away as growing old and gray.  S who was sitting next to her handed her a note, asking what she’s having for supper before they head off to cram school, like that, is the major issue of the days.

All of a sudden, her entire class are on the way, to aging fast.

How did we get here?  She doesn’t really know.  The loneliness of today had, masked over the loneliness of yesterday, someone jokingly asked, all of a sudden, the entire table fell silent, Eddie Vedder by the bar, still sang on, “I feel angry, but am simplistic, I am, alive……there’s a vanishing road beneath my feet”.

Getting off, or not, the movie always begins right after this decision.  Mathew entered into Isabella and Rayo’s partying mansion, Laura started running fast, Neo jumped into the rabbit hole in the real world, the plot slowly unfolds, life became something else, after you’d made the choice of which way to turn, there’s no turning back.

She doesn’t know what’s waiting after the stop.  The youth of age twenty-five, she felt hurried, that she needed to do something.  The years passed by like the decades in your twenties, time can feel the sadness or the sorrows, every year, is remembered by someone’s songs.  The second month after she’d turned twenty-five, T sent her a song by Kings of Convenience called 24~25, “Twenty-Four is Like a Field with Flowers Full Bloom/ the Desires of 25 Becomes a Ticket, a Way Out/ After the Dreams Burnt Out, there’s still a Gold Light, Remaining in the Residues”.

She thought, it’s okay, it’s okay, dreams are talked of with a flare at age twenty-five, she’d still have that impulse, to get off the trains, and has the courage, to deal with the consequences of not getting anything after she got off; thankfully, she can still feel moved by this sort of lyrics, and can still start to cry, at this same scene in the movie she’d seen a dozen times.

Celine got off the train, “What do we do after we get off?”

“I don’t know,” Jesse said.  The train had left the station, then, their movie lasted, eighteen whole years afterwards.

So, this, is how someone gets nostalgic after seeing a movie, and, maybe, from before when you first saw the movie, you didn’t feel as much, but, as you’d aged, your life experiences became enriched, and so, this time after you saw the film, you’d gained a little something deeper.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star–Dedicated to a Friend

Translated…

Just Accompany Me Up to Here Then

I No Longer Need to

Sort Through the Ashes of Our Once Deep Love

The Doubts of that Slightly Heated Year

Still Followed Me Around

With the Corners, Still Sharp too

Just Accompany Me Up to Here Then

I’d Forgot

My Age

The Lost Roads I’d Traveled as a Child: My Name

My Gender, that Old Tree, as Well as the Feelings

All Came Back, One by One

Just Accompany Me Up to Here Then

So I Can, Model an Expression

Like the River Banks

 To Use the Dreams of the Great Big Harbor as My Pillow

I’d First Bore Witness to Your Leaving

Then, I’d Come to Understand, the Meanings of Strong Liquor and the Long Distance in Travel

I’d First Encountered, the Coldness of the Winters

At the Road We’d Parted Ways

The Snow Slowly Fell from the Skies

Just Accompany Me Up to Here Then

I Believe, that Your Umbilical Cord is Now

Connected to the Stars’

 Each and Every Night, You’d Burned Yourself Up a Little, as You Believed

That the Beach of That Year

Had Become the Shooting Stars

From the Smokes We’d Left Behind

A scent of nostalgia was “felt” here, and, the poet is probably feeling that strong sense of loss over his youth, and, he’s not that old, but, he had an old soul…

Taking Up a Spot–for a Friend

Translated…

In the Summer Afternoon, the Sound of Thunder Got Louder than the Cicada Calls

The Rain, Seeped in Through the Cracks of the Door on the Back

The Lightning Illuminated the Color of Your Shoes

Hoped that Every Time Works Out

 That I Can Remember More Things About You:

Hairstyle, Glasses, the Name on Your Test Papers

We’d Played that Game of Musical Chairs in the Lecture Halls

But My Steady Gaze Won’t Get Blown Away, It’s Passed Through the Adolescent Years

Passed Through the Rains and the Thunders, Ended Up Here

Not Wanting to Give Up, Pretended that Nothing’s the Matter

The Whole Week, This, is the Moment Which I’m Thinking the Hardest:

Notes, or, Water Bottle?

Don’t Take Over, Don’t Get Too Greedy

The Small Storms are Brewing in the Pacific

 You’d Followed the Known Path, Slowly Approached

I, Still Turning, in This Set Location, in the Highly Heating Up Thoughts

At Least There’s No Storm

Will it Get Stronger

In the Dizziness, the Blueprints of Desire Enlarged

Gaining Speed, Absorbing the Hesitant Moisture

Stalked by the Twists and Turns, the Rain Poured Down Hard…

Don’t Take Over, Right Next to It

A Small, Glowing Seat

The Thundering Rain Came and Went Quick

Don’t Forget, that Call of the Cicada

In the End, Still Too Careful

 I, Who Had Never Been Found in My Seat

Seeing the Summer, Putting Its Shoes Back On, Ready to Depart

Before the Possible Moistures Met up

We are, Two Eyes of Typhoons, Who Were Very Close to One Another

That Passed Each Other By

So, this, would be how a could-be love looked like, you’d saved that seat for someone you feel something for, but, the problem is, the other person never even saw you, call it a crush then…

The Story of a Blanket, on Filial Relations

Translated…

My youngest brother came over the other day, to visit his bedridden eldest sister-in-law, I asked him, “when you were in high school, when you’d moved to Taipei, the eldest sister-in-law gave you a blanket, do you still have it?”

He looked confused, that was, fifty years ago, he’d already forgotten about it, plus, he’d moved a couple of time, he didn’t know where the blanket had gone.

“I’ll look around for it, if I find it, I’ll deliver it back to you then.”

“It’s not the blanket I want, it’s to tell you how much your eldest sister-in-law had taken care of you guys.”

I’d told him the story of how this blanket came about, “When I was married, my mother-in-law’s best friend gave her this made-in-England, wool blanket, with the traditional English prints, my mother-in-law gave this to her daughter.  After we were wed, your eldest sister-in-law couldn’t bear to use it, just kept it stored away in the closets.  Because you’d gone up to Taipei, to high school, without the transportation means, you’d decided to move up to Taipei, your eldest sister-in-law worried that you will have a hard time, adapting to the cold and wet weathers of the winter seasons, she’d given it to you, to keep you warm.”

As my youngest brother heard the story of that blanket, he was moved, “I must tell my eldest sister-in-law thank you in person.”

As half a century slipped on by, my wife and I are now, elderly, and, we loved to take out the old times to recall.  On the stages of life, there had been never-ending instances of ups and downs, and, as the best friends all made their separate exits, we’re still surrounded by our families, we’re not at all, alone or lonely.

So, this, is how a blanket had kept the family connected, and sometimes, it takes something so miniscule, to keep a family connected through the years, and, this kind of connection is hard to find these days, as we’re all, way too busy, in our separate lives here.

Treating the Son as a Lover, and the Husband, as My Son, on Couples’ Relation

Translated…

From before, when Fa asked us, a group of friends of over twenty years out to dine, we’d started talking in secrecy about whether or not Fa is having trouble with his own wife again.

After we’d arrived at the restaurant, and the foods were finished, everybody started hearing Fa rant.

“Do you believe it?  There are rows of vitamins in my drawers in the kitchen, to up the brain power, adding calcium, iron, etc., etc., etc., all from my wife, for her son, I couldn’t even have a piece.  Finally, I’d come home, from a hard day’s work, there was a table’s worth of foods, all of my son’s favorites.  My son is already in middle school, and yet, every time at dinner, my wife still looked at him, with loving eyes; she’d chauffeured him to and from classes, scheduled his life, everything, for her PRECIOUS son, she doesn’t even pay any attention to me…”

Actually, this, was not the first time that Fa had complained.  Before they’d had their son, they’d argued so awfully to the point of almost divorcing, and, in order to improve their relations, Fa’s wife at the age of a high-risk pregnant female, had a son from in vitro, and, at age forty, she’d had him, and, this temporarily resolved their long-term broken relationship.

What Fa couldn’t deal with after his son was born was, that his wife “mistook her son as her lover, and her husband as her son”, everything right or wrong, she’d judged it from her son’s perspective, and, everything that needed done, Fa had to do on his own.

This time, we’d all gathered with Fa, for the sake, of trying to talk to his wife, to NOT go overboard, to at least, SHOW some care and concern toward him.

Actually, the real “well-rounded interaction between parent and child” should be BUILT, after the husband and wife are well together.  Don’t know how much longer Fa can put up with it, and, none of us knew, when his wife will finally find that balance between her husband and her son.

But, hearing Fa ranted about things, it’d reminded me, who’s also a mother and a wife, “we must teach our children right from wrong, and, spoil our husbands every once in awhile”, in this delicate relationship, we must work out a way.

This, just shows how IMMATURE men are, they’d demanded ALL our attention, and that, is NOT enough, when we’d spent too much time on caring for OUR young (hello, hello, hello, they ARE HALF yours, you DO realize that, don’t you!!!), you get jealous of us, NOT paying ENOUGH attention to you?  What are we, YO MAMAS?  This just still shows, how IMMATURE MEN are!  And yeah, maybe the wife from above had gone a BIT overboard, but hey, her son was really hard to come by, you DO realize that, don’t you???

The Boy Who’d Flunked His College Entrance Became the Champion in the World Cup Coffee Competitions

When one door closes…translated…

When I received the “Championship Trophy for the WCE World Cup Coffee Competition” back in 2014, my grandfather who loved me the most is on sickbed.

Being the very first grandchild, my grandfather treated me like I was a treasure.  I’d heard my elders told me, that when I was younger, whenever my grandfather had the opportunities, he’d snuck to the kindergarten, to watch me through the gates.

Once, in the belief of “Everything is LOWLY, Education is Everything”, I’m the only one, who received bad grades, who couldn’t get into a good score with my test scores, but, I thought, that a degree isn’t as important as what I’d learned.  Once, I’d told myself, that I don’t want to be a well-behaved pet, instead, I wanted to be a wolf that roamed wild and free.  Later on, I’d found “coffee”, my prey.  Once, my grandfather had told my parents in a relaxed manner, “as parents, we shouldn’t restrict the kids’ future, just show support.”

And now, with the championship under my belt, I’d run home to Yilan, to share the glory with my beloved grandfather.  Everybody told me that he was out of it, had blurred speech, and, nobody could understand him, but, the moment my grandfather saw me, he’d slowly told me, “Chuan-Chuan…go forth!”, although his voice wasn’t steady and weak, but, I’d still heard these words real loud.

I’d squeezed his hand real hard as a reply, and that, was the very LAST blessing from my grandfather to me.

Do What Brings You Joy

I grew up, in a farming town in Yilan.  At the start of my fifth grade year, the fields were filled with raucous, the adults were busying, with the harvest, I ran to my grandfather, asked him, “What can I do?”

He smiled at me, and told, “If you want to help, you can drive the Steel Bull till…”

I’d replied, “Okay, when I’d grown up, I shall return to this land, to help grandpa out.”

As my grandfather heard, he’d become nervous, “No, no!  Just helping, you must do what makes you happy.”

From before I’d heard, “People can be imperfect, but must be unique; if you can’t even be unique, then, you will be forgotten.”  Deep down, I’d wanted to pursue a different life, to create my own values.  Both my parents were public office workers, but, I’d made up my mind, to go into business, a very long time ago, to use my own way, to sell what I make to others, to work hard, for my own life.  Just like my grandfather had told me, I need to do something that fits to my own interests.  Gladly, they’re all very supportive of me, although I’d bumped into walls, stepped into potholes, my parents still believed in my future.

Every kid in my family did extremely well in school, only me.  And, everybody in the family all believed, that in order to become something you MUST do well in school.  Actually, I’d had the opportunity to get accepted into an amazing technical high school, but my elders wouldn’t allow.  After the redoing of my last year in middle school, I’d gotten into Yilan High School.  That, was my first choice, with limited people who are excellent, and still, as the college entrance results were posted, everybody ELSE from my high school class were accepted, save for me.

Mom asked me if I wanted to go to cram school, I’d replied, “Why must I go to college?  I can earn money, as a manual labor, can’t I?”

She’d asked, “You want to do manual labor?”

I’d replied, “Yeah, Yong-Ching Wang didn’t get a high enough education, and he’s still an amazing entrepreneur”.

She was stunned, then replied, “But, there’s only one Yong-Ching Wang in all of Taiwan.”

But because I’d set my mind up, on being a manual laborer, my parents can’t talk me out of it, and, allowed me to apprentice under a plumber/electrician of my father’s generation.  He’d done a ton of manual labor work, and, one of them was the remodeling, rebuilding of a local school, and, I’d gone over to work, and, I’d gotten paid $500 N.T.’s a day.

I’d worked on the odds and ends, ran the errands, like buying the workers their lunches.  After the entire day’s work, I’d learned, that “working” meant just giving in the physical senses, with absolutely NO creativities, abilities, or imagination needed, and, even as we’d rested, we’d slept in the messy environments.  I’d finally realized, that “laboring” wasn’t my interest at all.

Used the Wisdoms from My Life, I’d Gotten into the World Cup

After I’d come home from my first day at the construction site, I’d hollered, “It’s so gruesome to work!”

Mom said to me, “You can’t complain of it, back then, you were the one who wanted this, and, you’d already, agreed to it, you MUST work until the construction is completed, when the owner of this project got the work, he’d already calculated how many people he was going to hire, you MUST be responsible.”

Yes, that, was what I’d promised, so, no matter how hard it was, I’d still, BITTEN down hard, and completed the tasks.

This part-time work opportunity gave me a TON of influences, I’d realized first hand, to NOT quit half way, that I couldn’t back down, when I face a difficult challenge in life.  Compared to before when I’d spoken so tough, working manual labor had given me a warning, I’m truly grateful, that this man of my father’s generation had given me the opportunity to learn that.

My parents once told me, “You must first make a name for yourself, then, to work with others, if you can’t even stand on your own, people wouldn’t know how or where to help pull you back up.”

I’d kept that close to my heart, so, at the start of my starting my own business, when I’d met a hardship, I’d known, to ask for assistance, put out a ton of messages, the smallest being finding a coffee machine, and the biggest to finding someone to co-own my shop with me.  Compared to those who waited for the resources to be handed to them, I’m more active in the searches.

I’d entered into competitions, beaten a lot of other excellent baristas, and, in the end, I’d made my way, into the World Cup.  And now, whenever I’m introduced, the title of “World Cup Bean Champ” is added, and, this title is just as special, as being the “only one who didn’t get high enough to get accepted into college”.

Fate is already set, the elders of my family, in the important period of my coming of age, added the different wisdoms and experiences, like how a captain directs where a ship is sailing, leading me toward, the right directions.  And, some of these values seemed unimportant at the time, but, had great impacts on me later on.  I’d never asked them why they were giving me these wisdoms, but, I’m truly grateful that they had.

And this still showed, that working hard is the KEY to success, and to NEVER give up on your dreams, just keep working toward that goal, set the steps you need, to get there, and, follow through, and, you will, be successful, in your own way too.

Understanding My Broken Heart

I can’t understand, why, you’re hurting so much, heart?  What’s wrong?  It was, really hard, understanding my broken heart, because it doesn’t tell me, exactly, what, is wrong with it, it just, ached inside of me, nonstop!

Understanding my broken heart, it’s hard, because I didn’t have the whole picture, I’m only seeing fragmented pieces of what actually happened, and, it’s hard, to piece them all, back together, the broken pieces, so I can have a better view, examine, what, exactly, happened to my broken heart.

Understanding my broken heart, how, when you won’t even talk to me, tell me what’s wrong with you, so I can, mend you back up? What, do you want from me!  Understanding my broken heart, it’d taken, so much time, but, I’d finally, lost that impatient mind, sat down, with my broken heart, heard it, tell the tale of how it’d gotten, shattered, and, as the words came out of this broken heart of mine, I felt, its pain, and I’d cried, then, my broken heart, mended, on its own.

Turns out, all I needed was, listen, to that voice inside, and just, accompany my broken heart, NOT hurrying it to heal, and, everything will turn out okay…