Love in the Forgetfulness

How we’d, learned to grow old together, with as little friction as we possibly can, translated…

Back when I was younger, I had amazing memory, my memory is like a computer, I can immediately make the connections. From before I wed, my husband took me to Hsinchu to get my wedding dress, in the shopping strip, which alley takes me to which street, I’d known, after walking it once, I’d made fun of him, how he’d studied in the windy city, and needed ME to be his tourguide. And now, my originally sharp memories, started, slowly, disappearing.

My husband never had good memories, and had made fun of himself, how all the books he’d read, it’d become, brand new the next time, he can’t remember it; it’s a wonder, that the books he’d checked out of the libraries, he’d read a ton of them over three times. And now, the two of us, “I forget this, and you forget that”, too scatterbrains, living under the same roof, what sort of a spark can come flying? It’s something, that I wanted to wait and see.

Actually, the T.V. commercials already prerecorded down this segment—did you have your meds yet? I think I had, but then, so, I’d, taken another pack, and, I’d found, that discarded medicine pouch in the trash, funny, right? But I’m not laughing, because this happens a lot at my home. I’d forgotten the salt when I made the soups, so bland, so tasteless; added salt repeatedly, too salty, can’t even swallow; the steamed fish with the steam machines, kept to rancid, and I’d, recalled, hey, I’d made that a couple of days back…………we had an assortment of messy moments like these in our lives.

illustration from the papers online…圖/PPANhere they both are, pickign up each other’s slacks…

Although being forgetful is nothing so serious, but, the trials it’d caused, made us not know how to react, and we’d, felt, stressed out. And still, even AS we’d done these sorts of messed up things, we’d never gotten into an argument over it, nor would we, fight. All because we’d come to understand, and learned to tolerate one another, and the forgetfulness that stemmed from understanding, tolerate everything imperfect, and, accept that good memories are a gift, that the heavens loaned to us temporarily.

And because of it, from before when my husband forgot to lift up the toilet seat, I’d nagged him and now, I just, lift up the toilet seat covers up; I’d forgotten to wipe up the floors after my shower, he’d start mopping up the water that spilled out; I’d helped him find the glasses he’d “lost”, then, I’d found, hey, the glasses were, “resting” on his nose, and, we’d, looked at one another and smiled; when I went to the doctor’s office, I’d never remembered my health insurance card, without a word of complaint, he’d, immediately turned the car around to get it. And all of these, seemingly unimportant things in life, without the tolerance or the understandings, it can easily, be a cause of WAR!

I have more of a calculating nature, I’d kept scores, and nagged more, and my husband would often consoled with me, “We’re older now, and, being mobile is a blessing; we can do it, and we shall, and no complaints over it”, meant, that I should just, do more and complain less; and now, the two of us coped with our inevitable forgetfulness, using these words—he’d forgotten, I’d picked up the slacks for him; if I’d forgotten, and he’d, made up for it.

Love is that simple, but you’d, needed a lot of practice on it.

And so, this, is how the two of you finally, learned to appreciate one another in midlife, and, because you two are aging slowly, and becoming more and more forgetful, you two had decided to stop nagging one another, and just picked up one another’s slacks, and that made life easier for the both of you, and, it reduced a ton of tensions that you had had when you were younger too.

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The Retired Volunteer Was Passionate, Became a Second Mom to Children Who Have Cerebral Palsy

Giving back to the community, and helping those in need surely does put that meaning back into your life after you’d retired, doesn’t it??? From the Newspapers, translated…

“Volunteer in exchange for room” is no longer a specialty for the younger generations, the sixty-three-year-old volunteer, Mei-Jing Tsai looked after the cerebral palsy patients, the elderly, not only did she receive the opportunity of “Journey with the Heart Volunteer Program” from Eden Welfare Foundation, she’d also regained that feeling of being needed.

Mei-Jing Tsai worked in the banking industries from before, her husband died early, and her children are all grown up and with their own families now, and there’s just her back home, and she’d become, a hotblooded elderly with no need to worry; seven years ago, she’d started volunteering, she’d volunteered in the hospice ward in Veteran’s Memorial Hospital, as well as on the suicide prevention hotlines too.

Three years ago, she’d learned that the Yilan Home took in people with Downs’s Syndrome, cerebral palsy as well as severely mentally and physically ill residents, she’d gone across half of Taiwan, to care for these “elderly children”. Tsai became the eldest volunteer in the Yilan Home, but she’s full of compassion and patience, and stayed with the patients as they get trained to learn the basics in living.

重度腦麻患者小娟(右)很喜歡志工蔡美瑾,見面常給一個大擁抱。 記者張芮瑜/攝影photo of the womean with cerebral palsy interacting with the volunteer, showing how much she’d appreciated her for volunteering…photo from UND.com…

The thirty-year-old Juan who’s diagnosed with the severe sort of cerebral palsy, her mature mind was, kept locked up by her distorted body, she’d stayed for ten years in the Yilan home, but her families rarely came to visit her; every time she’d missed them, she’d, pointed to the telephone, and Tsai became like a second mother to her, helped her learn to dial the phones.

Juan couldn’t talk, but can point to the cards to communicate. Tsai said, once Juan used her trembling hands to point out “I love you” on the picture charts, it’d made her cry.

Tsai met the Vietnamese nurse’s aide who’d worked in Taiwan for nine years too, her son came to Taiwan to work just seven months ago, but one of them worked in Yilan, the other, Nantou, the two of them were separated by the Central Mountain Range, and never saw each other. Tsai used her spare time from work, to lift her son from Taichung to Yilan, so they can meet up, the mother and son cried and held each other tight when they met up.

“I want that feeling of being needed again,” Tsai told, that the elderly handicapped patients were reliant on the hired staff, and when they see new volunteers, they’d become, very excited, every year coming to the home was like a homecoming, she’d treated the residents like they were her families too, she’d never felt that it was, trying one bit. Next year, she’d wanted go deeper into the mountains, to go to Datong County in Yilan, to accompany the native elderly who’d needed the services more.

And so, this woman is giving back to the community, because she saw a need, and it’d made her feel more satisfied, because that is what helping others brings you, it makes you more fulfilled, it makes our lives become more meaningful.

Listening to Kenny Burrell in My Apartment in Shanghai

There’s, no strong sorrows after the two of you parted, there’s, just, that sense of comfort now, with the help of the music she’d, introduced you to listen to, that, was the only thing that’s, stayed behind with you, from her, translated…

It was, right around the time when I’d checked out and bought Midnight Blue, I’d gotten a text from her, and we’d agreed to meet up where it was, convenient for us both, somewhere in the middle of where we both were, she’d handed me a present, the t-shirt with the same album cover printed, from the Uniqlo and Blue Note series, but because it was too small, I’d, stashed it inside my closets and never wore it.

here’s Midnight Blue from Kenny Burrell, from Youtube…

 

Recently, I was sorting through my closets and took it out, the T-shirt I hadn’t worn enough times clearly, had become, loosened somewhat, I’d tried it on, and, it’d, fitted now, I’d looked closely at the print, that dark purple midnight, with the full blue-colored “Blue”, classic Blue Note.

It was a few days before the Chinese New Year’s one year, a lot of people had already, displaced themselves from the city, I’d asked her why she’d selected Kenny Burrell, instead of Miles Davis or Lee Morgan?

She’d twisted a bit, like shaking off that awkwardness for a long time, then, told me, that some of the songs are fitted best, for when you’re alone in the depth of the night, this was one of the albums (the name said it was “Midnight”). She’d told me when she couldn’t sleep at night, she’d played this album alone in her apartment in Shanghai, and, every time when she came to, her thoughts got trapped by Kenny Burrell’s vortex of guitar, she couldn’t hold herself together, and when she came back, the needle already ran to the stickers, and started making that scratchy sound.

“And”, she’d continued, shifting her gaze to behind me, “I like how guys would keep their heads lowered, busying about their own businesses.”

There must be that look of “I can’t believe it” written on my face, because she’d stared at me for a very long time, there was, probably, a five minute long silence that’s surpassed between us, then, she’d started slowly, that it was her last day in Taiwan, that she’s due back in Shanghai tomorrow, and she doesn’t know when she’s coming back here again, told me to get a weblog account.

I’d not let her know, that I’d just bought this vinyl today, on the way back, the cover of that album became like a watermark, stuck to my mind, on the upper left right, Kenny Burrell lowered his head, played on his guitar, looking, kinda, nerdy.

Every time I’d taken out this album, I’d recalled that shirt, along with the cover of the album that’s, filled up with the blues, and, that nearly, complete empty street in Taipei.

That evening, this album was under my arms, and, trekked alongside me, through those, empty streets, but don’t know why, perhaps, it’s because I wore the matching shirt, or the cover of the album, it’d felt, warmed underneath my arm, like there was, a surge of warmth, gathering there, and, it’d, helped me, fended off the cold winds.

As I came back to reality, the needle had, already, gone all the way around once on the record, I’d recalled my own thoughts on my way back that day, it’s, a clarity, that strangeness of the separation after the saturation of things, with that semi-transparent feel to it.

And so, this, is how this particular music, had accompanied you through this particular passage in your life, and, maybe, it’s because of how this woman had introduced you to the music of this person, and, you’d, loved her more or less, that, is why, you’d kept, listening to the record of the man, because, it’d, struck a chord with you.

A Unique Collection

A unique way you mark the passages of your life, that’s, different from everybody else’s, translated…

Strolling down those streets with shops on the sides, there are, assortments of clothing, with the various materials too, and, they are made everywhere, here, China, Japan, Korea and U.S., etc., etc. Of them all, what’d attracted me wasn’t the prices, nor was it the selections of the various shops, but, the tags that showed where the clothes were made from.

a collection of cloth tags like this???  Photo from online…查看來源圖片

And, all of these tags seemed unimportant, but, looking at them more closely, there are not just the names of the company or brand printed, the type fonts used were also, quite unique as well, everything from the cutesy cartoon styles, the ladies collections, the rock-n-roll trends, or the black and white simplified styles, I’d loved each and every one, they’d, made my eyes alit.

And, after awhile, although I’d buy the clothes that would fit me right, but, if the tags had, attracted me to them, then, I’d, started, itching again, and, my desire to buy would hike up too high, and sometimes, without even thinking, suddenly, I’d been drawn to buy the item, because of the designs of the tags, like I’m, made of money.

And, as I’d gone home with my “winnings”, I’d not change into the new clothes immediately, instead, I’d, snipped off the tags, and started looking at them front and back, I’d even sketched them onto my notebook, then, placed them like treasures, inside that beloved iron tin box. After a few years, I’d, accumulated a lot of the tags, and, the tags stacked up, into this, mobile catalogue, and, as I saw the tag, I’d immediately gotten reminded of what the item looked like, and how I’d felt at the moment of buying it. As I looked, that sense of joys came, and I’d found, that from when I was little, I’d, collected stickers, then, bookmarks, and now, the clothes tags, even though it’s nothing to others, but to me, it’s, a sort of an emotional outlet for me, that satisfaction that comes with owning, and, it’s absolutely correct, that I have, a obsession for collecting these items.

Every time I’d tidied up my room, and started flipping through the tags I’d collected, and, I’d, also taken a walk into my own past, and, I’m grateful, that this collection of the unique had helped healed what I’d lost, and, kept track of the memories over the years. In the future, I shall, collect more of what’s unique to me, and, reminisce through them all one by one.

So, this, is how you make your scrapbook, not by photos, but by the tags of the clothes you’d bought, and, it’s a unique way that you’d found, to keep track of what mattered to you in life.

The Smiley Curve

A lesson her middle school home ec instructor taught her, that’s not a part of the curriculum, which she’d found useful, and grateful over, in her elderly years, translated…

As winter started last year, I was overcome, with a sudden illness, hospitalized twice, and after the trials of the surgeries for a few months afterwards, finally, I’d, gotten better now. Thanks to the Goddess of Mercy, the doctors, the nurses, as well as, my families.

查看來源圖片training to smile…photo from online…

Recalling how I was, playing with my grandchild as I usually would, then suddenly, I’d felt my stomach turned, vomited then had diarrhea, and, as my loved ones rushed me to the E.R., they told me that it was a gall bladder stone that blocked up the ducts, causing the inflammatory response. This shock had, made me come face to face, with the uncertainties of life for the very first time in my life.

As I was bedridden, I saw my own reflection in the mirror, my cheeks slid in, that look of worry crawled all over my face, plus the effects of gravity, deepened those lines that the years left on me. I’d felt, that I looked, old, and, I’d, curled up the corners of my lips, started, smiling in the mirror; suddenly, my face looked, up, this fifteen-degree angle rise, made my eyes and brows looked happier too.

Then, I’d, recalled my home ec instructor from middle school, she’d always worn a grin on her face, she was, loved by all her students. Once she’d taught us to make a traditional Chinese snack, and, other than teaching us the techniques, she always wanted to instill that positivity in our lives. The students were all very motivated, and, as the dough floated in the fryer, with the fire, slowly, turned golden, then, pop, so aromatic. She’d told us, “Does it not look like a smiley face?”, we were shy and students, we’d circled around the pot, and, sucked in our saliva, smiled and nodded toward her.

or, like this, perhaps???  Not my photo…smiling into a mirror 的圖片結果

The attractiveness of smiles is unimaginable, to this very day, I’d still remembered how my instructor showed her canine teeth, smiling so sweetly at us. This smile had, awakened me, that life is everchanging, happy, that’s one day, regret, that’s also, one day, why not, just grin, making ourselves feel at ease, and, it’s, equally, pleasing for the outside world to see us too. In my elderly years, I’d, hoped, to open my heart up, and, face my beautiful future, with this, “smiling curve”.

And so, this important lesson that your home ec teacher from middle school had taught you all, you’d, finally understood what it meant, in your elderly years, but, it’s still, NOT too late, because now, you’ll, have that optimism to face whatever comes your way, as you remember, how easy it is, to turn that frown upside down into a beautiful smile!

My Eldest Sister

Growing up in an era of hardship, and this, was the result from the sacrifices that their eldest sister had, made, translated…

“Your eldest aunt came to Pingdong, and yesterday, mommy took her to Tainan to offer the incenses to grandpa and grandma, I saw her, patting their urn, said she’d wanted your grandma and grandpa to feel the temperature from her hands, she’s, really, a wonderful daughter.” I’d left this brief message on my family’s group page, and it’d, moved all the kids.

Awhile ago, my eldest sister who was eight years my senior came south, I’d become, the host, drove her around, to Wanluan to have the pork’s feet, and bought the layered pastries that was so famous from there, along with, other delicacies of the locale, seeing her with her satisfied smile, I’d felt, very well. “The eldest sister was like a mother”, that fitted my eldest sister’s life completely.

illustration from the papers…圖/黃鼻子

After mom married dad, who was the eldest son of his family, she’d had seven daughters consecutively, and, in the era of sexism in the 1950s, my mother felt the pressures from the relatives. Since I could recall, my mother always had bad temper, and, all of us, sisters, just, stayed far out of her way. As my eldest sister started her middle school, commuting to Hsinying from Yenshui, my mother always asked her to make a trip to the shops, to not press the family to pay up what we’d owed the separate shops, and so, my eldest sister made the wish, to help out with the household finances when she was very young.

Right after middle school, she’d not continued her education, left home, and started working, had her share of hardships, only hoping, to help the family pay up the debts that we owed. And, for a long time, all of us, family who are only able to rent the residences, in her hard work, we’d not only paid up all the debts, we’d, accumulated some savings, and bought an apartment up north.

查看來源圖片five sisters, photo from online…

What impressed me the most, was how I’d gotten into the teacher’s college and Tainan All-Girls’ High School, and, probably because I’d read too many romance novels, I’d dreamed about attending the regular high schools, to head off to college, to live a colorful life, and, bugged my parents, to give me my dreams. But, back then, we’d just, made the down payment for our home, with the installments that awaits all of us, although my eldest sister had, promised, she’ll, take care of my tuition, in the end, considering the economics, I’d still, gone to the teacher’s college, that had the scholarship programs. And back then, there were two students from my classes who’d done really well, who’d gotten into the Tainan All-Girl’s High School as secondaries, but didn’t go, because of their family backgrounds, and started working at the factories up north. Thinking about it, how many girls were, slaughtered, during that era in time.

And, of us sisters, my eldest sister was the most petit, when my mother was still alive, she’d told, that because since my eldest sister was in the elementary years, she’d helped carried us all, younger sisters, that’s what, kept her, from growing taller; plus as she was developing, we were, poor, and my parents couldn’t give her the food that helped her grow taller, and it’d, hurt, thinking about that. I’m more than grateful, that we were, lucky enough, to have our eldest sister, who was like, a second mother to us, as siblings.

And so, during that era, everything was hard, and, the eldest children in each families were often, forced to give up their dreams, to help out the families, and this, was exactly what the eldest sister of this family had done, and, her siblings appreciated her for it, now that they’re, older, and understood more about life in general.

Adding from One to a Hundred, a Treasure Map of Memories

Hated himself, for being too ignorant, and, he respected his own mother even more than before, translated…

That evening, I was riding on the MRT on my way home, the mom sitting opposite was teaching her young math using the math textbooks, and, the memories slowly, came back to me.

Key in the Numbers One by One Slowly

I grew up in the army retirement villages, my father was a former serviceman, a retired veteran, my mother was native Amis, they’d married through matchmaking, without the basis of love, they were, twenty-one-years apart. Because of how they didn’t share anything in common, the differences of their backgrounds, their value systems, they’d, fought a lot.

In my elementary years, my mother worked the graveyard shift at the electronics factory, in order to get a raise, she’d, signed up for the head of her crew’s examinations. One morning, I saw a graded math test, one of the problem was 1+2+3+4+5+6…+97+98+99+100=?, without thinking, I’d known, that the answer was 5,050. This was a famous question, that’s been tested and tested repeatedly on the students. But, my mother got it wrong.

“How did you get this?”, I’d inquired her.

“I’d used a calculator, and keyed in the numbers one by one slowly.” Don’t know how long it took her, to get the answer, and perhaps, she’d, keyed in the wrong numbers on a few, she’d, gotten the answer wrong.

圖/倩illustration from the papers online…

I’d looked at that exam more closely, she’d not answered the problems on close to half of her exam, and, it seemed, that adding one to one hundred took her too much time.

“Did you get the promotion?”

She shook her head.

“Why did it take you this long, and you’d still, gotten it wrong?”, I’d, blurted it out, can’t believe that the problem was so easy, and she’d, still gotten it wrong. Besides, this problem doesn’t need any calculating.

As my mother heard, she’d, fallen silent, only smiled bitterly toward me, then, marched back to the kitchen.

I Seemed, to Have, Understood Something

Later, my father learned about this, and he’d, called me, and, beaten the CRAP out of me. He was so angered he was, shaking all over, pointed to my nose, screamed aloud at me, “The reason why you’re going to school, is because your mother worked all night, to make the money, don’t you know that? What right have you, to MAKE fun of her? Everything you have right now, your mother gave to you!”

So, that day after I left for school, my mother cried silently.

And I’d become, dumbfounded, with all the bruises and bleeding over my skin, stared at my father, then, I’d gotten that wake up call, of how an ingrate I had been, I’d only viewed things, from my own perspectives.

I’d cried and hugged mom to show her how sorry I was, she’d cried, and smiled, patted my head, said it was okay. From then, it seemed, that I’d, understood some things.

And, it’d been, almost thirty years since, and, I’d recalled the incident from time to time, and, felt compelled, to go back in time, to KILL my own ignorant self.

And now, my dad’s gone to heaven two years ago, and my mom, hair all white, played with her granddaughters, and, waited until I’d visited her back home, she’d, cooked a TON of dishes I loved, and, nagged me on what I needed to be more careful over by the day.

“Mom, do you know how old I am already? Stop worrying, besides, I’m, too fat already, I need to be on a diet already!”, and, although as I’d turned her down kindly, I’d felt that surge of warmth inside of me.

I sat on the MRT, looked at the mom and her cute son sitting opposite to me, I’d called my mom.

“Mom, is it okay, that I come home for supper tonight?”

And so, it took this man until his midlife years, to finally understood why his father punished him so severely when he was a kid, and, he’d known how much his own mother had, given to his family and him, and appreciated how much love he had growing up.