The Guerilla Warfare of the Traditional Chinese Buns

To satisfy his own father’s taste buds’ needs, translated…

Dad is NO gourmet expert, but he is, a picky eater. His home was back in Yangzhong, Jiangsu, on the Yangtze River, right in the middle of the Yangtze River; people said, that those who live in the northern side of the river loved foods made with flour, those living in the south loved rice, my father, being right in the middle, enjoyed both.

Of the flour made foods, my father especially loved the plain buns, preferring the plain, unsweetened, handmade Chinese traditional buns. My mother was born in Taiwan, cooking the rice, the noodles were, no problem for her, but she can’t make the buns, and so, my father can only, “seek elsewhere”, whenever someone said that there are delicious handmade buns, no matter how far away, he’d made the trips, he’d trekked all over Younghe, Muzha, and Hsintien. And yet, there are, only, the limited few that managed to make their ways into his mouth, and as he’d bumped into the buns that were tasty, he’d definitely buy them in bulk, and would start eating on the drive home.老爸不是美食家,卻十分挑食。他的老家在江蘇揚中,顧名思義就是揚子江,也就是長江的...illustration from the papers online…

There’s the common thread of all the shops that he’d bought the buns from, the owners were all elderly folks, and would take days off because of their health, and, ended up, going out of business, because there are no younger generations who are willing to, carry on the skill sets. And so, these years, my father became like a guerrilla war fighter, looking for the shops that made the buns that fitted to his taste buds.

One Sunday morn as he went out on his exercises, I’d found a van parked, by the side of a nearby elementary school, with a long line by it, those standing in line were ALL elderly folks, and, it’d carried my father’s favorite, plain buns. After I’d talked to the neighbors, I’d learned, that the owner would show up on Sunday mornings, but because the supply couldn’t match the demands, those who got there late normally went home emptyhanded. The very next week, I got up real early, went there, and, holy, there were, over a dozen people standing before me in the line already! Thankfully, they’d only bought a few, when it came my turn, there are, still some left. In the end, I went home with ten plain Chinese traditional buns, then, I’d, driven them to my dad.

He’d steamed one up that very evening, and said it was cheap and tasty, and ever since, standing in line once every other week became my way of showing him my love. With the weather getting warmer, I’d driven instead of walked to the cart, and one day, I’d received a ticket for parking on the red lines, and, the buns for that day was, super expensive, after I’d calculated in the fines.

Here’s that freshly steamed buns, photo from online…查看來源圖片here’s half a dozen…

One day as I drove past Jingshan S. Road, saw a sign with “Handmade Buns”. I’d searched the shop’s name online as I got home, and learned that the shop owner of this place also produced handmade buns, although it’s, a bit pricy, but the good thing is that it has longer hours, I can go there anytime. The very next day, I’d brought some to dad, and he’d nodded in approval, and I’m more than glad, that in this guerrilla warfare with the Chinese traditional buns, I temporarily, won!

So, this, is the act of love this individual showed to his own father, he knew that his father loved this food, and, found a shop that provided it, and, he’d, gotten his father’s approval for this brand new place that made these traditional Chinese buns.

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Can the Family Members Really, Truly, Understand One Another?

Uh, HELL NO, ‘cuz we’re too close, to see each other truthfully, like how the outside world can! Translated…

The misunderstandings of “people can come to understand one another”, is the cause of unsettlement.

When I was in my twenties, there was a girl who’d yelled at me:

“Why can’t you understand me?!”, it’d thrilled me. I’d analyzed the reason why her words had, thrilled me, and found, that this sentence was built on the foregrounds of ‘People can understand one another naturally”.

It’s a “norm”, that people can understand each other, but I couldn’t understand her, and so, that girl felt anxious and was tortured by her own sense of insecurity.

but, if you change the sentence to “People can’t naturally understand one another”, and come to the agreement, that not understanding each other WAS the norm, then, we wouldn’t be stressed out over it, nor would we get tortured by this lack of security we feel toward each other.

And so, as the other person understood us we’d felt glad, that it was, a miracle, that we’d, understood each other, and that would be, an excited and ecstatic moment for us both then.

That way, we’d no longer be stressed out over “we can’t understand one another”, and nor would we feel strained by “why can’t we understand each other?”. Because not understanding each other is the norm, and we’d think more on terms of “how can we understand each other more”, and no longer would we get, stressed out over it, or feel anxious either.

Am I wayward in thinking in this manner?

But I believe, that this prerequisite is very important, because of this, we’d, worked even harder, to try to understand one another.

Some believed, that other than “someone else”, there’s still that “someone who can understand me without me having to say a word”.

“Even if I don’t say anything, there’s another version of me who gets me”…………but, if you’re smart enough, you’d know right off the bat, that no such other person exists.

But, when you’d felt fatigued, beaten, trapped in your loneliness, naïve, and hated life, you couldn’t help, but hope, for someone else with whom “I don’t need to say a thing, and gets me”.

It’s meeting up with someone who’s a fake, but thinking that s/he is someone who’s real.

Take for instance, family, maybe it’ll be clearer for you.

Even as you’d lived for many years, with someone who resembled you, but to you, family members are still “those from outside”.

Stop believing that “because we’re family, we’d, naturally understood one another.” or, “parents understand their own children the best.” All of these, are LIES, or maybe, wishful thinking, hoping, that those we love can, understand us. And although we can all empathize with this, but this isn’t at all, true.

As you were younger, your families wouldn’t be considered as “others”.

Especially for children growing up in love, the parents became “even if I don’t say anything, they can understand me so well”. Or, as the parents became stricter, you’d turn yourselves into “my parents’ robots”.

And yet, as you grow older, when your judgments differed from your parents, they’d become, “others”.

Especially when it comes to finding a job, being in love, marriage, living independently, parents would often “show up” as a forceful other. At this time, both parties would feel that we’d lived under the same roofs so long, why is there such a huge difference in the way we thought, and felt flustered over this.

And yet, that, is how human interactions worked, being different is matter-of-fact, and so, so long as we communicate well, then, we can, reduce that emptiness inside, and can motivate us in positive ways.

Never believe the old clichés like “men don’t get women”, “Women can’t understand men”.

It’s not that men can’t get women, or women don’t understand men.

Men who start believing that “men can’t get women”, after they fell in love, they’d begun to try to understand the women they’re into. Meaning, that as he was a young child, this was, the very first time, that he’d wanted to understand the woman he’s with.

Before this, for instance, as he’d interacted with an older schoolmate in his extracurricular activities, he’d never thought of understanding the individual in depth.

As I went to lunch at a café with an older schoolmate, I saw him not eating any tomatoes, I’d asked him, “hey, don’t you eat any tomatoes at all?” But even as he’d replied, “I hate tomatoes”, I’d not keep his word in mind, “He doesn’t eat tomatoes, remember it!”

And yet, as I’m in love, when my girlfriend told me, “I hate tomatoes”, I’d, naturally remember it.

Which means, that the very first time we’re compelled to understand someone, it’s usually someone from the opposite sex. If it’s a man, he’d normally wanted to understand a woman first, and if it’s a woman, she’d normally first try to really understand a man.

(the above is in heterosexual relationships. But if you’re a homosexual, then, naturally, you would want to understand someone who’s the same sex as you).

Because we couldn’t understand “others”, that is why we say, “Men can’t get women”, or “Women have NO clue what men are thinking”.

And yet, these two sentences were both wrong. It should be changed to “nobody understands anybody else”. In parent-child relationship the child who’s having a first argument with the parents would say, “The adults don’t get children.”, as the siblings fight, “Siblings are still, not us.”

But, compared to the relations of families, most meet their “others” in love, when love started blooming in the teens, or early twenties, we are, driven, to understand someone we liked for the very first time in our lives, and are trapped, in deep emotional pains, and the person who makes us feel that way, is a “significant other”.

I must reiterate:

I believe, that “We can’t naturally understand each other”, this belief can help reduce our own insecurities, and help us understand one another better.

So, wanting to understand someone else is a sort of a drive (like the drives to eliminate hunger, thirst???), and, just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you must fulfill your needs on the first two level before you’re able to contemplate about love, and, it’s because we’re attracted to someone, that, was why we’re, driven to understand everything we can about the person, isn’t it???

The Days I’d Lived as My Daddy’s “Mistress”

Her daddy’s little girl, translated…

My father went with the armies in 1949, floated across the seas to Taiwan, and, stayed single for eighteen years, then, had his children, I was a piece of his heart, and during his weekends home, he’d always, lifted me up over his shoulders, so I can, look at this colorful world from a bird’s eye view.  The elderly woman from the military retirement village, Tu made fun, “Xiang, you’re treating your daughter like he’s your mistress, aren’t you!”, at the age of three, I’d, innocently repeated, “I am daddy’s mistress!”

the precious love between a father and a daughter, photo from online…a daddy and his baby girl 的圖片結果

My father’s “first” wife worked hard, to keep the family budgets, while his “mistress” got served her meals, waited on hand and foot, I’d gotten all my father’s love, before my father took off his army uniform, his voice saying, “Where’s that mistress of mine?” came echoing.

Uncle Lu from Sandong opened up a noodle shop after he retired from the army in our village, the small wonton was my favorite, and, not knowing how the characters sounded, I’d mistakenly sounded wonton as “bastard”, and since then, “I’m taking my mistress out to have some bastards!” became my father’s call as he took me out.

In the first grade, my school teacher made us go on the podium to tell about our favorite foods, I’d told the class, I’d loved having “bastards” the most, and, the teacher as well as the students all opened up their eyes wide and inquired, “what IS that?”, the minced pork, wrapped with the flattened dough, like the clouds, floating in the soups, tasted slippery and aromatic, I’d used my limited vocabulary, and described it, then, my teacher got it, “oh, that’s call wonton!”, and, I’d called wontons bastards for four years on end, and nobody bothered to, correct me!

After school, I’d told my father righteously, the correct way to call the food, and that “bastard” is something you say when you insult someone else that we shouldn’t, say it at all, and ever since, my father changed his words, and “I’m taking my mistress out for wonton!”, my father had the large bowl of wonton noodle soup, and I had the large bowl of wonton soup, with the red bean buns.

Back then, there were only three T.V. stations, other than the cartoons, Mr. Bao, and the sword-fight soap “Bodyguard”, there’s, no other form of eight o’clock prime time soap, and everybody matured later, until in our first year of middle school, did we all learn, that “mistress” was a term, given to a homewrecker.  And, I’d gone home, and gave it straight to my father, I’m not a mistress, I’m your little girl.  And then, my father lost his younger mistress who’d climb onto his knees, and only the wife who grilled him every now and then.

When he said, “Honey, have some wonton.”  I’d told him I wanted to go read comics with my friends, to ride bicycles, to head to the libraries, and the era of eating the wontons, ended, with Uncle Lu passing away, the noodle shop closing, my father got older by the day, and I, busier and busier.

Slowly, he’d, forgotten a lot of things, started hunching his back, becoming bald, turned into, a little old man, and, his empty gazes drifted toward the distances, he’d gotten lost, in his own world now, sometimes, he was in China in his home, sometimes, he’s serving the army in Taoyuan, sometimes, he was helping to build the reservoirs……and sometimes, I’m, nobody he knew.

the special relationship of a daddy and his baby girl…photo from online

Sitting on the chair in the yard, he’d carried that pampering tone of voice, with that smile in his eyes, said to me, “Mistress, let’s go and have some bastards!”, “Sure, let’s go!”, I’d buried my teary face in my father’s knees, I’d returned back to when I was three, when my father, was my heaven and earth again.

So this is the parallel of aging of the daughter, and the father, they were both, growing “up”, it’s just, that as the daughter became more and more independent, the father became feebler and feebler, and now, the woman became his father’s “mistress” for certain, looking after him, taking him to places, like he’d taken her everywhere when she was a little girl too.

A Hottie in School

It took this woman going home, to realize her own patterns of behavior, and now that she’d snapped out of the vicious cycle of her own pattern of behaviors, she will have, better relationship

As Yun Yeh entered into her freshman year at Hong Kong University, it’d caused a riot.  She majored in finances of the business school there, and almost ALL the male classmates couldn’t wait to set their eyes upon this beauty; an almond-shaped face, delicate features, natural red lips, and milky white complexion, at 5’5, she was very fit, and she’d often worn a light smile on her lips.  The second week she’d entered into the volunteer group to visit the nursing homes, as the news got out, everybody thought, she was, a kindhearted beauty, the best candidate for a girlfriend, and, there were, more men in the business school who became infatuated.

Every time she walked out of the lecture halls, there would be a handful of guys, following her around, some asked her to be in the extracurricular activity they were involved in, some asked her about the assignments, and, some who knew her started asking her out.  Yun Yeh said to them, in her mild matter, and, agreed to go out with them, and, letting them down gently.  In the second semester of her freshman year, she’d agreed to go out with two juniors to supper, one was a handsome classmate of the same majors, Ching, the other, a handsome rich boy, Lin, who majored in international business.  They’d started competing openly.  As Ching learned that Lin had professed his love to Yun Yeh, but she’d not told him yes or no, he’d asked her to the college up the hills in Hong Kong University and told her he loved her in the ancient style bridge, Yun Yeh smiled and nodded toward him.  And the very next day, there was, this extra eye catching couple around the campus.  But what fazed everybody was, in a short month-and-a-half, it was over between them.  She’d still smiled lightly, and he’d, carried his cool flair, worked out at the gym.  The two didn’t mention to anybody why they broke up, it’s just, the other males from the business department no longer fluttered around her any longer.

As Yun Yeh was in her second year, there were the guys in different majors who’d gone to see her a lot, a senior in the electrical engineer major pursued her hard, and she’d accepted, they’d become the pair to watch for around campus, but, in two months, it was, over.  She is, beautiful as she always is, dressed even more fashionably now, just that her smiles, no longer as deep.  In her third year, Yun Yeh got involved with a volunteer trip, the senior from the mathematics economics major from another school fell in love with her at first sight.  This time, she was, more careful, not walked together with him around campus, to cause a discussion by the onlookers.  They’d gone strolling at the parks a lot, then, to dinner.  That very first month was sweet, they’d met up two, three times a week, but after a month, he’d stopped, asking her out, and they broke up at the end too.  Now, Yun Yeh had, stopped smiling, and was often, lost in thought.  She thought, she’d hoped her boyfriend would call her before bedtime to talk, hoped that he could, set up the dates with care, this wasn’t asking too much.  A lot of the other female students asked this of their boyfriends too.  So, what was the problem, of her past, failed relationships?

Toward the end of her junior year, she’d finished taking her last exam in the morning, returned to her dorm, to pack up her things, and readied to head to Taiwan for a self-help trip with her roommates the next day for a week.  Suddenly, her cell phone sounded off, it was her younger cousin, calling from Changsha, in Hunan, said that her mother had a stroke and is hospitalized.  Yun Yeh started crying out.  He’d told her that it wasn’t serious, that it’s only a mild stroke from the reduced blood flowing into her mother’s brains, that she was getting out that afternoon so long as she goes to rehab for the months that follow, she’ll be all right.  Yun Yeh didn’t go to Taiwan, that very day, she’d flown back to Changsha.  On the airplanes, she couldn’t help but cry.  Her mother was her sole support for these last five years, her father died in her first year of high school, her father had a huge business, and left her mother and her with a huge sum of inheritance, and a life with no worries.  As her father passed, she was so sad, but this time, her mother only fell ill, and she’d felt that the skies were, falling, she’d, depended so much on her mother.  Last night, she’d just used video conference with her mother, and she’d told her what foods to watch out for when she goes to the night market in Shihlin, because the stand didn’t use fresh oils.

Yun Yeh walked out of the airport, didn’t see her cousin, but someone called out to her, it was her high school classmate, Li Yuan, he and her cousin both studied in the University of Hunan.  Li Yuan took her suitcases, smiled and said, “Your cousin told me to come because he couldn’t.”  His smile was so bright like the sun, a bit, burning.  “Stop wearing a sour face, your mom’s fine, she’d wanted to come with me to pick you up, I’d stopped her, and told her to rest up at home.”

As Yun Yeh got into Li Yuan’s car, he’d chimed, “You know how happy it makes me, to be able to pick you up?”, she’d felt this heat in his expressions and voice, suddenly, Yun Yeh realized, that it’s this sort of warmth that’s made her melt every single time, is she, going to, repeat the same cycles this time as well?  Li Yuan reached over, to help her with the seat belts.  She’d told him, “Thanks, I can manage.”  He’d nodded and smiled, didn’t mind, and that, was when she’d realized, that it wouldn’t hurt people, if she’d, turned them down.

Yun Yeh turned the locks on her doors, her mother walked out of the bedroom, she’d run over and hugged her mother tightly, her mother felt stunned, and surprised, that, was the very first time, her daughter had ever, hugged her.  Her daughter asked flustered, “Mom, how are you?”, the two of them sat on the love seat, Li Yuan sat down on the single.  Her mother held her hands, told, “I woke in the morn, felt my left side go numb, a bit dizzy on the left of my head, and so, I got on a taxi and went to the emergency rooms.  The doctor said it was only, a minor embolism, that the blood made another way around, it’s no big deal now, don’t worry about me, child.”  She’d wrapped her arms around Yun Yeh’s shoulders, “I’ll make you something to eat, spicy dumpling soup, Li Yuan, stay for it too!”

Shame started growing inside of Yun Yeh, she’d said in a muffled voice, “Mom, stop working so hard, be a fitting patient, I’ll go and steep some tea.”  She’d entered into the kitchen alone.  As the kettle was boiling, she’d understood suddenly, that her mother was that surge of warmth that wrapped around her, as she started dating, she’d, transferred this sort of mode of interaction, demanded that the guys she’d dated to pay attention to her, to care for her, she’s the one, who’d, turned herself into the kind of girl that every man disliked.  It’s time, she broke out of the pattern of behavior now, in the future, as she started dating again, she needed to, become, more independent.

So, it took this woman coming home, to visit her mother, to realize how she was, subconsciously carrying the expectations of how carefully her mother looked after her and imposing it onto the guys she was dating, and now, as she realized this, she is going to have a better chance, of having longer lasting relationships in life.

Waking You Up with My Love Every Day

Wake up, sleepy heads!!!  Translated…

On their days off, my kids would always sleep in until noon, and, I’d suspected, if they all, inherited my dozing off genes—whenever there’s the opportunity to, we’d all fallen asleep, and, nothing can wake us up.

As for my “sleepiness”, I got that from my dad, and maybe, it’s because of how hard he’d worked during the workweek, every time the weekends rolled around, pops would not only get up late, and, after his lunch, he’d managed, to doze off until dusk, and, nothing (the phone ringing, the children playing loudly), or even, an earthquake, can wake him up.

the gentle touches of a father…photo from online

I don’t pale by comparison to my dad, the most trouble dad ever had was, waking me up for school in the morn.  Not only did he need to use all his limbs to pull me out of bed, and he’d had to, force me out of my bedroom, then, mission accomplished, otherwise, in a blink of an eye, I’d, fallen over, and fallen asleep once more.  In order, to get that one extra second of shuteye, and before bedtime, I’d finished up my homework, prepared my backpack for school in the morn, and put on my socks and uniform, so I can just, get up and go the next morn.

And, as I’d become a parent myself, naturally, it’d become, my duties, to wake my child up in the morn.  But I was lucky, to have, married a good man, he’d gotten up, at the alarm sounding off, and waken me up, then, went to get the kids.  My eldest was okay, but my younger one, seemed to have, gotten it from me, he wasn’t at all, cooperative.  This made me recalled, how hard my dad must’ve had it when I was younger?  I’d recalled, that my father always had enough patience, to make sure I get waken up, must’ve been trying on him.

time to get up, baby girl!  Not my photo…

Maybe, not wanting to get out of my bed in the morning was a way that I’d played coy, my way of, enjoying that special love from my father; and now, as I’d gone past midlife, I’d started, carrying this thought to my heart, I’d, come to realize it all too late.  I will, take advantage of our meals shared in the futures, to tell my dad who’s had that difficult look on his face, “It’d been trying on you, thank you, for waking me up every single day, dad!”

So, it wasn’t until this woman became a mom, did she realize, how hard it was, for her father, to get her out of bed in the morning, because she has one child who’s exactly like her, and, this made her appreciate the kind gestures of waking her up, of making sure she’s ready for school in the morning that her own dad had done in her younger years.

The Changes in Dad

Making an adjustment to one’s own beliefs, and making a change for the better, translated…

Dad’s been visiting the furniture shops a lot lately, turns out, he’d wanted to switch the double bed in his bedroom that he’d shared with mom into two single beds.  Sleeping separately from mom, was a huge breakthrough for him, who’s very traditional, and, it’d, surprised us all.

A few years ago when my dad started getting ill, mom started wanted to sleep separately, because both their qualities of sleep weren’t so well, and they’d needed the sleeping pills to help them sleep at night; and after my father fell ill, he’d become, emotionally unstable, would get up a lot in the middle of the nights, causing mom’s to sleep even worse.  And, fearing dad’s bad tempers, she’d, kept everything in.

In order to help mom out, I’d found an excuse, to shop for the drapes, to change up the settings of their bedrooms, hoping to make them both more comfortable, but, it didn’t help at all.  Perhaps, dad found my signal, that was why, he’d made this, unexpected decision; although mom said it wasn’t that big a deal, but, she’d looked, softer now.  The changes in dad, it’d made us realized, that he can, be a gentle man too.

So, the gestures of love of this man toward his wife, finally came, and, because the man realized, that he’d, kept his wife awake through the nights, and, that was what probably caused a lot of their fights, and, sleeping well is the key, to a healthy lifestyle, and so, this man made a change, to help improve the interactions between his wife and himself.

The Bliss from Knowing that You’re Cherished, on Filial Relations

Because you’re kind to me, and I shall, be kind to you in return, how peace is found, in this household, translated…

My mother-in-law’s feet ached for a long time now, but, she’d not liked going to the hospitals, would rather have the patches all over her feet, and limped around as she prepared the meals.  Since my father-in-law became bedridden, my mother-in-law had a much heavier burden to carry, causing her feet to start aching; after my father-in-law passed away, my mother-in-law started having troubles moving around and about.

And so, my mother-in-law left the cooking to my husband’s eldest brother who’d never been into the kitchen before, she’d sat by the doorway of the kitchen, and gave him step-by-step guidelines of how to cook, how to make the soups, fried the fish.  That day I’d gone back to my mother-in-law’s to visit, saw that she was not in a good shape, I’d, persuaded her, finally, to go to the hospitals with me, and, she’d started on the monthly treatment programs.  During which time, my husband’s eldest brother went from couldn’t differentiate between salt and sugar, and not knowing if the produces were cooked completely, to becoming, an excellent cook.

a mother and daughter-in-law so close, not my photograph…

Every time I’d visited my mother-in-law, she’d always had my husband’s eldest brother head to the markets to shop for our favorite produces, and wouldn’t let me help out in the kitchens, and had me sat beside her watching the Korean soaps, and discussed the storylines with her.

Seeing how unsettled I’d become, my eldest brother-in-law consoled with me, “You had a hard time, taking mom to the hospital already, I’m a great cook now, do have more foods.”  I’m more than grateful toward my eldest brother-in-law as well as my mother-in-law, for making me feel cherished.

So once again, this is how love IS reciprocated, this woman treated her mother-in-law, took care of like she was her own mother, and so, naturally, the mother-in-law reciprocated the kindness she felt from the woman, and treated her as if she were her own daughter too.