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………

Good Morning, Mr. Tsai!

The daily encounters, seeing the changes in a man who works for your community, translated…

I thought he wasn’t going to make it, but now, I’m truly glad, that he’d, stayed.

I live in a medium-sized community with three buildings, the front gates and the parking lot was guarded by the security guard company personnel, there’s usually that three to four individuals at a time, rotating the shifts.  It’s not at all easy, for the security personnel to rotate in the shifts, so, there’s this high turn-over rate, and nobody can know, when there’s going to be a new face one day.

like this?  Photo from online…

The good security guards are like the sales, if they’re active and sociable, they would blend into the community quickly, for instance, as the members of the community go in and out of the front doors, greeting them by their first names, and seeing the housewives with the groceries, would help them carry the bags to the elevators, and, as they’d received the packages, they would hand them over to you as you returned home………in this sort of interactions, as time goes by, the security guards became more like members of our family.

And, that day, there’s someone new working, he was a bit shy, a bit introverted, followed behind the security guard who’d worked here for a while, and would nod and complied as he heard the man said who is very good.  It’s just, that this new person seemed to have something in his mouth, and we’d had difficulties, hearing his words, and sometimes, when it came his that isn’t so strange that he’d not let the rails down, but, as he’d directed the traffic, he resembled that of a robot figure that were used to direct the traffic from the roadside constructions.

As I worried that if his personality would be fitting for this job, a miracle happened!  That was one morning as I drove out to work, as I drove to the security guard’s office from the basement garage, he’d stopped me shortly.

Turns out, in my blind spot, there came an elderly couple strolling slowly forward.

As he’d made sure it was safe, he’d signaled for me to keep going, at the same time, he’d articulated, “Good morning, Mr. Tsai!”, I’d immediately lowered my window completely, and replied, “Thank you, for your hard work!”

keeping an eye on everything that’s going on…not my photo…

That day, on the way to work, I’d felt, especially lighthearted, because I’d felt glad, that a young man had, survived in the workforce.

So, this man is not slow, he just, takes a bit longer, to warm up, and, that still just showed, what you see, may NOT be the whole truth, so, we need to be sure, that we don’t rush to judgment, before we get the WHOLE story!

Changing Your Minds, Getting Along Better with Your Partners in Life, on How to Get Along with One Another

How to get along better with each other, now that it’s just, the two of you that’s left?  Translated…

My husband and I became like roommates, we’d, kept at our own separate televisions, and during mealtime, I’d, hollered out, “Tenant from upstairs, food is served!”, after the tenant finished his food, he’d headed upstairs, continued watching his basketball game.  And, mealtime and sleep, are the two times of the day, the two parallels we’d become, intersected.

The rule of thumb I’m living by is, not forcing things onto myself, nor onto others.  When we found ourselves in argument, I’d found a strategy, take action, not get angry, or waste ANY energies.  If my husband angered me, then, I don’t cook, it’s not, as if, I’m up for the employee of the month, and, by so, I’m teaching him, that he’s the one who’d lost, offending me, only then, would he, adjust his own behaviors.  He could easily, act stubbornly, wear a soured face, he’s the one getting laughed at, I wouldn’t start nagging him at all, I will NEVER find troubles for myself.

all you’re, left with, NOT my photo…

He’d said I’d talked too loud, but, that, is how large the volume my voice is, and now, whenever friends come, I’d told him, to “duck out”.  If he was insistent on being around, then, I’d still carried on conversation with my friends, I’d already warned him beforehand, it was his own choice, to not head out if he didn’t want to hear me talk.

We all have our different traits, like someone with irritable bowel syndrome, would you, tell her/him, NOT go to the bathroom so many times?  So, that stuffed up type A man, I’d, done as accordingly, I chose, to respect his “irritable bowel syndromes”.

I can, choose NOT to get angry toward the arguments we can’t escape from.  For instance those old issues we’d never agreed on, no need to discuss them, or get stressed out by them.  If toothpaste is a source of argument, then, get one tube each, so long as it’s not life-or-death matters, just let him be.

When I want to shop, I’d called on my girlfriends, when I want to see a movie, I’d find someone who’s also a movie fanatic like me, being accompanied by someone who makes you happy, that, is what’s most important; as for you, hubby, as long as you’d worked those nightshifts as the security guard, I’d be satisfied, why must you demand he take up other roles?

Try to break the stringent rules of your own cognitions, there are more options in life, as the thoughts changed, the problems find a way to resolve themselves.  You need to tolerate each other’s differences, to not cross over that boundary, to find a comfortable interaction pattern that both of you can live with.  War or peace, it’s up to you to choose!

you do your thing, I do mine!  Not my photo…

So, this woman is sharing her years of experience, of being married to her husband, they are quite different, with various hobbies, and, as they got older, they started living like parallel lines, and, there’s nothing wrong with that, so long as the two of you respected the boundaries set by one another, not pushing each other’s buttons too hard, then, you will get along just fine, even AS the kids leave home!

Experience it Yourselves

Changes in one’s attitude, brought on by the many ups and downs of life, translated…

Is marriage a good thing?  I’m thinking, that it’s different based off of everybody’s experiences, and the answer, only one knows.

A couple of years ago, an old friend of mine talked about the ups and downs of her marriage, said that if she could have it to do all over again, she would’ve have chosen to get married; and, a short while ago, she’d talked to me about her daughter, and how well her and the members of her family are getting along, with that look of bliss all over her face.

I’d smiled and asked, didn’t you regret getting married from before?  She’d become stunned, then asked me, “Did I say that?  But, if you ask me that same question now, all I can say, that you need to experience it yourself to find out.”

Like drinking a cup of water, only you would know if it’s hot or cold; the life in marriage, with a mixture of sentiments.  Or maybe, marriage is not good or bad, it all depends, on how you see it as.

And that, is the importance of attitude, perhaps, when this friend came to the writer from before, her child was acting up, and she and her husband had an argument, that, was why she first stated, that marriage wasn’t the right choice for her, but, as the time passes, she and her family got along better, and, she’d started thinking, that being married, and having children is actually, a good thing.  This just showed, how unless you’d, experienced things from top to bottom, you can’t jump to conclusion on if something is good or bad for you.  You must give it enough time for life, to run its course…

Reflections on Myself

All you needed, is this, instant, to help you make changes in your attitude about life, translated…

I’d gone to the flower marketplace to shop a few days ago.  The flower market close to my home was located inside a building, run by the city government.  Now, there are, rarely any indoor-type marketplaces without air-conditioning, and the flower market was equipped with it, like many other indoor marketplaces; every summer, the shops can only rely on the artificial winds from up above, and don’t know if it’s because of this, the business wasn’t doing too well here, and, you rarely see the shop owners smiling too.

like this???  Not my photo…

I took my old pots to the shop I’d frequented the most, they have high quality orchids, and all the flowers are, showing off their colors there, using their beauty, to attract, no matter which plant I’d picked, on the way home, I’d felt that force of life from the flowers I bought, along with the scent of excitement the potted flowers had, meeting their owners.  The shop owner was nicknamed “Captain”, but I’d never called him such, because he looked like a scary man, someone I’d, normally, feared, like if I tried to be friendly, it would, insult him.

I’d entered into the shop, trying to pick out a moon orchid, handed my vase, and had the captain make a floral arrangement for me, he’d immediately told me, that another carrot fern would fit better into my vase, and, although his words were, “What, do you think?”, but his looks told me, “this one is it, no need to doubt me.”

like this?  Not my art…

He was very swift, placed in the shaved up wood dusts, the barks, and other materials, and quickly, found a place for the carrot fern to settle down in.  The captain who’d kept his head lowered at work turned his eyes a couple of times—I’m thinking, that that, must’ve been a habitual move when he was thinking, he’d immediately turned around, grabbed a few decorations, and, tried them on one by one, mumbling to himself.

On the way home, I’d carried that small arranged pot of flower close to my heart, the small wooden giraffe, with the beautiful moon orchid, with a small wooden horse next to it, they’d added that sort of childish innocence to the elegance of my arrangement, from the rarely smiling captain there was, a heart of a child hidden.  It seemed, that I’d, misjudged him from the very start.  And, that made me realize about my observations about people.  For the extra time that I had that day, I’d blocked my stereotypes from coming out.  As I walked, and when I see men or women looking tense, I’d smiled at them, and, usually, I’d get a reply in smiles back.  Later on as I worked out in the parks, the Pomeranian and Shiba inu with their own minds came too, and I’d no longer, dodged them as I usually would, instead, I’d, suppressed my own fears, and strangely enough, they’d, not barked at me; after following their owners off, they’d, turned their heads back to me, as if, to invite me to watch them striding off.

Yes, I have, a reflective window, as I bumped into someone, my guards were, automatically up, and became this, watch towers.  But, as those things and people passed through my mind, they’d gotten, distorted, and no longer transparent anymore.  I’m thinking, the openness I’d longed for in life, probably, lies in, me removing this block in my mind.

So, it’s a wonder, how picking up some flowers can have such an immense effect on you, isn’t it?  You’d started, seeing things from an alternative angle now, and, you’d realized, that you were, locking the world outside, not letting anything get in, and that it’d, caused you more harm than good, and now, you’d finally, decided, to lift that block away!

Accommodations, a Short Prose

Learned something from his last relationship, so he won’t make that SAME mistake again!  Translated…

He and she shared a bowl of shaved ice, they were able to pick a total of four items, they both picked two.  Although they’d not talked about it before, but, they’d selected the food items that one another hated.

But later on as they moved in together, this sort of understanding went missing; he’d always repeated the actions that ticked her off, and she’d kept reminded him of the past memories he’d not wanted recollections over.

And, the result of not being able to come to an understanding, breaking up was, the only viable option.

On this day, he’d taken his new girlfriend, walked into that same shaved ice shop, he’d mentioned to her, “let’s order our own separate plates, because what I liked, you don’t.”

So, this man had learned something from his past relationship, and, he failed to realize, that the things that he loved, which his current girlfriend (the second one???) hated may become the cause of their breaking up in the futures, because he still had a LOT to learn about love, oh, and he lacked the foresight too!








A Great Bottom-Half of Life

Changes in pace, after the retirement, starting to enjoy the daily goings on of life now, translated…

After I’d learned to make vinegar, the drinks I served in the summertime became the homemade varieties, sanitary and healthy, completely fitting to the Do-it-Yourself spirits.

The days without having to watch the clocks, I’d given my small compact car which I drove for no more than five times a month to my younger sister, and become a commuter, and, relied on the busses, my two sturdy legs, as well as the bicycles, still managed to go all around, helping to reduce the carbon output.

so many options out there, which to pick???  Not my picture…

Waking up early in the morn for my morning run, I’d loved running in the rice paddies, and, as the farmers set up their stands to sell the homegrown produce, I’d bought from the farmers directly, guaranteed fresh, and, as I took the produces home, the morning dews are still on them.

For breakfast, I have a glass of homemade blended soymilk with nuts, the multi-vegetable/fruit juices, or the multi-grain drinks, and the energy for the rest of my day relied on this, I hadn’t frequented the breakfast shops in a long, long while now.

And, as the rice paddies close to my house stopped growing the grains, they would switch to planting the vegetables, the radishes, the potatoes, and at this time, the ladies would start pickling the radishes, making the sauerkraut, hanging an assortment of different dried vegetables out, other than salt and the sunlight, there’s NO other additives.

Going to the libraries to check out books became routine for me, I’d loved reading literatures on animals, and would immerse myself in the world of lions, elephants, jackals, wolves, tigers, leopards.  In the animal kingdom, only elephants and dolphins cry because of their feelings, the new alpha male lion would kill the other baby lions, that way, all the females would be in heat and he would be able to mate with them again, and, the eagles would wait until their fowls leave the nest, then, clean out the nests, and the human mamas’ boys who can’t leave home ought to take the examples from the birds, the animals’ shows of emotions, is comparable to the emotional expressions of humans

As I was younger, I’d loved dressing up to the nines, eating gourmet foods, and I had worn the colors of the seasons on the makeup on my face, and, as I marched through half a century, I’d let go of these worldly baggage one by one, started living differently.  Those books I didn’t have the time for, I’d started, reading them now, and found my long-lost interests back again, and I’d, gotten into cooking, retrained my able hands too.

pickign up on the hobbies here, not my photograph…

With the silver strands in my hair, reflected upon the sweat from my exercise, the daily life from the fifties, are ordinary, fulfilling.

So, this woman is, finally settled, at the age of fifty, she’d started, living a brand new way, more relaxed, started picking up on the hobbies she used to have but never had the time for when she worked, and that is a fully packed retirement for her.