For Alice

On trying to fit in, with the environment, adapting to a life here, translated…

At my age, I can’t say, that I’d, lived long enough, but, I’d definitely, had had, a taste of everything.

Alice smoothed over the ruffles on the quilts, stuffed her head inside the quilts.  When she was younger, she and her parents had, folded up the quilts together, she’d loved, to get in the middle of it, playing; she’d loved that scent of the quilt, from getting some sun in, the quilt soaked up in the sun, the heat, it’d, seemed to, be able to, chase away, ALL her worries.

ladies who married over to Taiwan from foreign places, photo from online…

She’d married over to Taiwan for a little longer than three years now, after that alienated feeling of arriving to this new place, what remained, was the days as they passed her by.  It’s, as if, she’d, never aged one bit, but the time, it’d, frozen her stiff, in Taipei.  It’s an easy thing, falling in love with this city, there was, this slowed pace of life here.  On the weekends, she’d liked copying the older ladies who’d gone shopping at the local marketplaces, to get some flowers at the flower markets; she loved how she was, walking along, then, out hopped, a brand new shop, it’d, kept her in surprise.

illustration from the papers…人生走到這個年紀,不能說已經活得夠久,但也絕對什麼滋味都嘗過了。 圖PPAN

Alice is the kind of person that wouldn’t reach out to other people on her own, but she was, more than willing, AND able to, put her thoughts in others, be a very good listener, to someone who needed to, pour her heart out.  But, to those who knew her, she’d seemed, so open, so rash, so critical in mannerisms, like it was, a proof of her, working hard, to assimilate into living in Taipei.

Anyways, she’s the kind, that you wouldn’t realize to raise her brows, how she was, a bit, different from before, how she was, trying to cover herself up.  When you asked her where she came from, she’d still openly stated, but she’d normally, NOT told anybody unless she was, asked, “Yeah, I’m from China”.

Or maybe, this is, a label she will never be, rid of, she couldn’t say that she didn’t care, after all, the China mentioned by the papers, the T.V., the radio broadcasts, was, her home country.  But, who cares, about a nobody named Alice?  She didn’t have anybody to rely on, so, she’d worked hard, to hide her accent, learned a little Taiwanese, wanted to, live comfortably, in this city.

As she’d felt the world was against her, she had, no place she can hide, she can only, drive around the city of Taipei, toward the Palace Museum, the Sun Yatsen Memorial, the Freedom Square, along with the old-style mansion in Shihlin.  Anyways, those spots where the tourists from China loved going to.  She’d stood far off, watching a tour bus, felt, that she’d, abandoned her home country, and, her home country also, deserted her too.

from online…

She’d loved watching those tourists from China posing for the cameras happily, and, as she watched them, it’s, as if, her own loneliness, had found, an exit too.  It’s, those exaggerated poses, facial expressions, that are, so very, familiar to her!  She’d watched as she smiled, felt, but felt, that it’s, reasonable, that it’s a good thing, that the tourists were really enjoying themselves, feeling proud, in the photos, and, felt, that her own statures became, out of place somehow.

Alice is, ambiguous like this, if one day, you’d, bumped into her, please do tell her, “Don’t matter if you’re from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or your ABC, or from Singapore, you are, Alice, you fool!”

So, this, is how hard this woman tries to “blend in”, but she always felt, out of place, she’d worked really hard, to assimilate herself into the culture, and, from the outside, those who knew her felt that she’d, “blended in” with the environment in Taiwan, but, she still felt, somewhat, out of place………


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