A Flower for You

The interactions of the generations, still just as sweet, from what she’d, remembered from when her own son was a young child, translated…

Awhile ago, my daughter and her family came to Taichung, the very next morn, they saw the day is sunny and bright, my husband and I took along our two young grandchildren downstairs to the park to stroll.

The winter sun felt especially warm , the blue skies, the gentle breeze, the shadows of the trees, swaying, the intoxicating sun shone on my young grandson’s face, the a little over three eldest and the second who’d just turned two squatted on the lawn, get excited as they started picking up the pebbles and the fallen leaves. Suddenly, the eldest found a small purple flower that’s fallen, he’d found a treasure, had one in his hand, run toward me.

“Grandma, a flower for you.”, I’d taken it from his tiny hands, said, “Thank you so much!”, I’d stared at his naïve smiling face, and, the tears came to me. Because, there was, once, another cute little boy, who’d, brought me flowers.

like this???  Not my photo…

It was, from over twenty years ago, the same blue skies, on a similar warm winter, my five-year-old son and I had an errand to run, as we’d passed by that small community park, he’d, run off. I’d turned to look, he was, squatting by the laurel fig by the sidewalk, just as I’d wanted to go over and scold him, he’d gotten up, with a small yellow flower in his hand, grinning ear to ear, ran toward me, said, “Mom, a flower for you”.

And the days flew by, suddenly, my son is already all grown, and working in a foreign land, we rarely have the opportunity to see one another often, I can only keep my nostalgia to me; and now, another little boy, my dearly beloved, maternal grandson said, “Grandma, a flower for you”. This, is probably, what bliss is, I suppose!

查看來源圖片like this???  Photo from online…

So, the time has changed, so had you, and everything around you, but one thing is still there, the interactions of love with you and your families, and, although your son isn’t that little sweet boy anymore, there’s, another, just as sweet little boy, in his place, to share the moments of life with you, your grandson.


You’re a “Child” Too

Having your husband’s grandmother who’s demented move in with you, and, she’d, treated you, like you were, a very young child, translated…

Grandma, who’s ninety, who lives Yunlin on her own, is becoming more and more forgetful in recent years, she’d forgotten if she’d eaten already, forgot to turn off the porridge on the stove and went out to check the paddies, and kept asking that same question to the children and grandchildren who’d, paid her visits. At the start of the year, my father-in-law lifted his mother to Sanchong to live with them, to allow her to live out the remainder of her years up north.

a four generation family 的圖片結果the four generations all together now…photo from online…

As the children get off school, they’d, head over to my in-laws’ home to rest, and, grandma always needed to ask, “What grade are you in? Whose children are you?” every time she sees them. My children complained to me, why grandma can’t remember things. I’d told them, because great grandma’s been using her memories for a long time, it’d, gotten, old, and couldn’t have any more new information input in, so we need to introduce ourselves to her daily, so she can know us again.

One day, I sat by grandma for lunch, she’d asked again, who these three children belonged to? I’d looked around, at my two kids, said, “these two are mine, where’s the third child?” Grandma said, “you, of course! Whose child are you?”, I’d laughed and told her, ‘Me? I’m your eldest daughter-in-law!”

查看來源圖片like this???  Photo from online…

Every Wednesday is a half day for the elementary kids, my youngest sister-in-law’s sons would come over for their lunches after school. The three boys would get chatty and started discussing the video games, refused to eat their meals, not adding the foods from the plates, they’d, had their meals, served with the video games, not needed any of the foods we’d prepared, and, my mother-in-law often nagged them.

And recently, I’d felt the need, to lose some weight, I’d, stopped the intake of my starches by evening, I’d, carried my bowl, sat down next to grandma, she’d took a look, in my bowl, and used that tone of scolding, “Why eat so little? Are you sure you have enough to eat?”, after my son heard, he’d laughed aloud, “Mom, you’re a kid in great grandma’s eye, you’d gotten nagged at just like I do!”

So, this is, how the family coped with the elderly woman’s dementia, and, because the father-in-law of the woman was fulfilling his filial piety responsibilities to his own elderly mother, that, is why there are, so many interesting things that’s happened in the family, and, because the elderly is demented, that is why, she’d, constantly inquired, just to be certain of things, and, this had, caused a lot of fun and interesting moments in the lives of those who are living with the elderly woman, who are, taking care of her living.

What My Dear Wife Told Me When She Divorces Me

A visit to his sons’ nanny had roused up so many memories of shared conversations with his own wife, translated…

I rang the doorbell twice, the steel door from the first floor, slowly, opened up, like it’d, taken the orders from some unheard signals. I’d climbed up those, familiar steps, realized that don’t know when, the third floor residents had, changed their doors. Without having the time to breathe, or sigh on how my manopause had, finally hit me, I’d found, that Mumu was waiting by my fifth-floor home outside.

“Ah, I’d told you I’d come to your house, your wife told me it wasn’t, necessary, said that you could drop by after work……”, Mumu said.

I’d taken that back of salty glutinous balls, on the way home. Saw how Mumu had, made the meat-filled rice balls at the marketplaces, wrapped with a layer of newspaper, to keep the foods from getting wet, and put it all inside a red-white striped plastic bag so I can carry them home with ease. In the evening of the basin of Taipei, when the temperatures dropped to below ten, I’d felt, that warmth from my hometown down south.

Mumu, was the nanny of my two children. At the start, to find a nanny, my wife became like an octopus, and, used her three hearts, and searched for the passions of the nannies she’d interviewed; plus those three levels worth of neural control tracking system, to see which nannies had the licensures, with the mind for business, but without the hearts; then, used the suction plates to cross-compare the testimonies of everybody she contacted, in that era where Facebook was still in the making. Then, the final touch: chose a sunny afternoon, to pay the nannies an abrupt visit to see how they’d reacted.

Before I’d entered into the top three nannies of choices, I’d rung the doorbell, and started screaming at the top of my lungs, “Ahhhhhhhhhhh, I thought I just passed by, so can I come in and see you, about the child I need you to look after, yes, now, would it be, convenient for you? Thanks.” I’m not really sure, that if that was, from my wife’s French horn playing days as a teenager, that it’d, caused her breath to be, son long winded, or if it was from her being a mother.

“How would you know it’s her?”, I’d recalled asking the question. In the end, she’d found Mumu, who wasn’t even, licensed as a nanny, but who had what counted the most, to us, two ANAL parents, a heart that loves and cherishes a child. It’s, instinct, my wife’d, told me.

I’d carried the bag of handmade meat rice balls, on the way home. Suddenly, I’d recalled how when my sons were still quite young, as they were being nannied in Mumu’s home, don’t know what got into me, but I’d asked my wife, “If we get divorced later, and you and I can only take one child with us, who will you choose?”, that was like that brain-dead question of “who are you going to save, your girlfriend or your mother if they’re both, drowning?”

My dearest wife told me, that when she divorces me, she will choose to take our eldest. Don’t know why but she’d become, extremely, concentrating. “Why?”, back then, I’d asked the question with that serious manner, but later, I’d felt, that I was, being stupid. “The younger is healthier, he’ll do find with you as his caretaker. But the eldest is not as healthy, he has asthma, I could look after him better.”

On the evening of the Lamp Festivals, it was like Christmas came early, it’d, reminded me of how I need to count my blessings, and be grateful for what I’d been given in life.

And so, this is the man’s mind, and, it’s all hypothetical that this stupid question was blurted out by this man earlier, and, the wife’s thoughts were more considerate, and, visiting the nanny of his two children had reminded of how important the women in the writer’s life are, and surely, he would, appreciate them more!

A Fast-Food Junkie

It had taken, a woman with the STRONG hands, to finally, slowly, put an end to this junk food junkie’s “addictions”, but, every now and then, he’s still, allowed, to have his favorite sorts of foods, of course, she’d needed to, “sign off” on it first! Translated…

My younger brother, he’s amazing in everything, only that his food choice. For others, they’d have stringed pork with their bowls of rice, and he’d paired his bowl of rice with chocolates—this combination, sends chills into my taste buds just by thinking about it, but, he’d, enjoyed his choices of food paired together, based off of his taste, in our home, where healthy eating style was a focus, he’d, made a passage, paved with junk foods for himself.

Every now and then, he’d told me mysteriously, “hey, sis, how ‘bout let’s go visit the elders today?”, then, the elders he’d visited are either, Colonel Sanders, or Mr. Duroyale Ice Cream, and, as he’d had his chow-down, he’d said, “These elders are, very lonely, we’d not just had to visit every now and then, but also, throw in some cash to help them live better too, that’ll surely make them very happy.” His methods of talking of junk food, made my way of food, less salt, less sugar, less fried, less oil, sounded sinful.

查看來源圖片the man’s selections from before, image from online…

Several years ago, we’d gone to Japan as a whole family, and, after having several meals of ramen, dumplings, and sushi, my younger brother suggested, “Let’s have some tastes from home tonight!”, and, we couldn’t understand it, we were just about to, ask him if we’re headed over to China Street for some stewed meats over rice, or noodle soups?, then, he’d, added, “That familiar and homey place—Mc~~Donald’s”, I’d become, so totally, dumbfounded, thought, that this dude’s scent of home, was way too CHEAP, and yet, McDonald’s everywhere, so, everywhere is, his home.

My younger brother’s life with junk foods, got terminated by my sister-in-law. It’s just, that every now and then, they’d, gotten at it, on how he’d, snuck out for it again. But, I suppose, that’s how they kept their love going! Her husband went from a “fast food junkie”, and got turned into a “recycled junkie”; and, although his wife knew it wasn’t, healthy, but was still, willing to, compromise a bit, for his happiness. And, their days passed, between the war of chaos between a small bag of French fries and a plate of broiled veggies, they’d loved, and gone to war, and continued their lives together.

and now, after he’s, married…such, a HUGE difference, isn’t it???  Photo from online…

So, nobody was able to, reform this fast food junkie, until HIS own wife came along, and now, although, his mouth still watered as he thought of the junk food he’d once had his hands on, but, he was, willing, to compromise and eat less of it, for the sake of pleasing his own wife. How a woman, can reform a man!

Trips Alone

Being an avid observer, of the surrounding environments, the life of a people-watcher, translated…

Because of work, I’d needed to have roundtrip travels from Hualien to Taipei and Taipei, to Hualien, in order to save up the fares, I’d often taken the “transferring commutes”, taking the double decker busses for some way, then the trains. This waiting and transferring, transferring and waiting, sometimes, I’d felt tension, and I’d, gazed out the windows, and suddenly, felt very relaxed, like it is, a sort of a miniature “trips alone” out of my ordinary life.

like this???  Photo from online…

In the process of my commute, I’d often initiate my “small theatre” mode, guessing at which seat I would be, given, would it be window seat, or aisle seat, would I get to see the sea? Or that I’d, start to observe the passengers all around me, from their ages, to what they’re wearing, to what games they’re, playing on their cell phone, the images from their FB homepage (am I being, too observant?), their LINE conversation (am I, breach someone else’s privacy?), listening in on the conversations (can someone call the police on me for that?)………all of these, are the points of origin of my imagination, I wanted to know, who the person who was, sitting closest to me was?

For a while, I’d even gotten so nutty, that I’d had to get the seat on the first row on the busses, that way, I got to, observe the driver at a close distance, and, his name would be, right up overhead, in front of me! In the age of Google, you will leave behind, an electronic footprint if you log online, and other than just imagining people’s lives, I get to, cross-check the facts, and, I’d often, lost control, in the one-hour ride, to the point that as I got off, and thanked the driver, I’d, actually became, genuine.

查看來源圖片like this???  Not my photo…

And so, this, is being a people watcher, and this person enjoys it, because, there are, NOT many other alternative “forms of entertainment”, so, he’d found fun, in observing the world around him, and, this trip alone became, more interesting, instead of just, watching that clock in the stations, wondering, when the busses or the trains will finally come and take you away!

Willing, to Walk Down the Aisle, for You

Finding her one true love, someone who’d, stayed by her side, through sickness, injury, who’d still, cherished her very much, translated…

My Tears Felt Heated, as They’d, Rolled Down My Cheeks, and I Couldn’t Find Any Words of Extravagance to Say…

Not Made a Scene, But, Very Memorable

One evening, my boyfriend and I stayed in the hospital wards. Because of the day that followed he’s scheduled his day off, he’d asked my parents to head home to sleep. Then, he’d, slowly, taken out a set of household casual wear from his black sports backpack, with his toothbrush, towel, then, laid them out, neatly and flattened, on the limited surfaces available to him.

That sense of security I received from my boyfriend, was like a serene, but strong kind of an atmosphere. In the six years, we’d, talked about any and everything. I’d once told him, that “in our relationship, I hoped there would be, no secrets”. So, even as we had a fight, we’d, made up on the day of the fight, I can’t feel right, sleeping with the secrets and my own tears.

But, perhaps, it’s due to his family background and his personality traits, that he’d often needed to, have some quiet time for himself first, then, sorted through what he’d needed to say to me. But, I wouldn’t allow it, and, perhaps, I’m, a bit, stubborn. But, slowly, he’d, grown, accustomed to my rules, and learned, how to express his anger towards me.

“Play a song for me!”, I’d, leaned on the bed, and made a suggestion.

“Okay!”, he’d, squinted his eyes, and, was in full smile.

A familiar tune started slow, it was, the “Wedding March”. After a few measures, pop music started playing, then, Andy Lau’s voice, “I will, for you, put on that white gown; I will, for you, walk down that red aisle; I will, build a roof from love for you, to block out the wind and the rain, to carry on in conversations, to make some teas, to play that game of chess, so long, as, you’ll, have me in your life.”

My boyfriend loved Andy Lau, and, as he’d gone to the karaoke, he’d always played and sung the songs by Andy Lau. I got to the point, of having had enough of Andy Lau, and joked, that he was, so full of, cliché, “You should be, the youngest fan of Andy in the whole universe, but, same years as my dad!” But, he always replied with full confidence, “He’s handsome, inside AND out, an idol to me, forever!”

The Most Important Part of My Life

“Walking Down the Aisle, with a white wedding gown, you’re the most beautiful promise of my entire life, I’d, made a pact with you, to count up the stars, and, all your tomorrows too. Walking in the bliss, that bell started, ringing, you are, the most beautiful decision in my whole life, I’d promised to give you all the happiness in the world, in the days in the future, I shall, love you, even more.”

This song, I’d heard, more than hundreds of times, but, being put under anesthesia, and, entered into the bottommost layer of my own dreams, and, drifted along, in the depth of that ocean repeatedly, after I was awakened, being called back out atop, at this moment, I’d, looked at that man, who’s, dark-skinned, with that light in his eyes, smiling like a fool, I’d, had that impulse of, “I do”.

It’s him, he’s, it! I’d wanted, I am willing! And that never-before sense of belonging, that, was what that felt like.

A lot of people say, “marriage is impulsive”, I’d, felt that amazing feeling, of having love rushed, into my head, it’s, so amazing, truly.

illustration from the papers online…圖/江長芳

My tears came down hot, my heart pitter-pattered, I couldn’t say a single word of extravagance. The two of us, stared at one another, and, neither one of us can see each other clearly now.

The past six years, played like that picture show, how we’d met, dated, fallen in love, had our fights, communicated, traveling all over Taiwan, introducing one another to our families, graduating, start to work, enlisting, getting involved in long-distance relationship, fight, traveling abroad, giving one another encouragements, getting injured recently, so many times, we’d, said the most awful of all things to each other, and, several times, we could’ve, broken up. But, six years, we are still, the most important part of one another’s life. This long road we’d, traveled to where we currently are, it wasn’t, the least bit, easy that’s for certain!

“Distance is not a problem. Love wouldn’t become fragile, because of the distance, people would.” the line of one of my favorite movie, “Café on Sixth Alley” stated.

Because our hearts had been true, and, we’d both, cherished what’s happened to one another these past few years, and, even IF we’re displeased with each other, we’d, just put the distances between us, cooled down a bit, then, talk it all out, then, we were, able to, get closer again. Through these fights we’d had, we’d, understood one another even more.

Turns out, the moment that I let love go to my head, wasn’t at the very moment our eyes first met, but, what we’d, weathered through, after all this time. People often, needed to, get to a certain point in their lives, to figure out the meaning of it all.

“Babe……I love you so.”, after the silence of a little over a minute, as the music was, about to stop, I’d, opened up. I’d, opened my arms, wanted him to hug me, he also, got up, walked, toward me. In the end, we’d found our ways, into each other’s arms, and, we’d, cried together.

“If I’m covered with scars all over my body, and no longer pretty, will you still, love me?” I’d sounded, flat, like pretending to be cute, then, I wouldn’t, receive the answer I was, fearing the most.

“Just let us get use to it together.”, he’d replied, in a calm and collected manner, so natural, like, he’d, contemplated on it before.

I’d started, smiling from the inside now.

Although I don’t believe in forever, but, I have the courage, to believe, that every moment of bliss we’d come to share, is true.

And so, you’d, found this man who loved you, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer, for better, or for worse, and it’s really hard, and, through the trials of your life, he’d, stuck by your side, and, you’d, found a gem, someone who will, love you, unconditionally, regardless, of anything, because he loves you!




Our In-Laws from Germany

the union like this one, maybe???  Photo from online…查看來源圖片

Seeing the newlyweds, and the parents of the groom, expressing their love to one another, translated…

With her head of blonde hair, smiling so radiantly, with that sky-blue, red collar dress, she’d looked, very much like a cartoon character out of a Northern Europe animation—and that was, the first impression, our in-law, Emma gave to us. As she saw us, rushing up from Taipei to pick her up, she’d, immediately, gave us hugs, and kisses on our cheeks, and, it’d, lowered that unsettlement of not knowing how to interact with an elder, it’d, made us connected. Hugging is truly, the way, to break the ice between the various cultures that’s for certain! As for the father-in-law, Emma’s dad, he’d, acted, more reserved, I suppose, it’s something to do with his profession, being an attorney and all, he’d worn a light smile, and nodded, to acknowledge us, in a white suit, he’d, resembled Gandalf in Lord of the Rings!

That was the very first time my wife and I’d, gone to a wedding in Europe, and it was, a German-style wedding too, my youngest sister-in-law, Ping, and Abbey Bear is about to walk down the aisle. The loved ones flew in, from all over, my wife’s second eldest sister and we were, “representatives from Taiwan”, we’d taken over ten hours’ flight, from the Netherlands, to Hamburg, then, drove to gather at Copenhagen, six hours away; Abby’s mom and dad took Abby Bear’s classmate’s ride, came from the Sylt on the west of Germany.

with the bride and the groom togehter, pouring itno the same glass!  Photo from online…

The very next morn, the huge group of relatives gathered, to head to the location of the wedding, city hall, and, it truly was, like in the movies, all the way there, we’d, received blessings from strangers. And of course, the happiest was, no other than Abby Bear, for he’d, waited, more than three autumns, to make this forever promise.

Since we’d arrived from Denmark, we saw Abby’s mom leaning close to Abby’s dad. Abby Bear told us, because his mother wanted to cherish every single moment she has with him—Abby’s father was diagnosed with an illness similar to Lou Gehrig’s Disease, couldn’t sit a long time, and, his neck became, weakened too, and so, as they’d heard that Abby Bear was getting married, they were, too excited. As the wedding ceremony draws to an end, hearing the father announcing that Abby and Ping were then, husband-and-wife, Abby’s parents were, grinning ear to ear, like they don’t have, any regrets anymore.

The joyous atmosphere of the wedding extended all the way to the outside of the plaza outside city hall, Abby Bear’s classmate poured the champagne, and, at this time, Abby’s dad, who’s actually, very uptight suddenly, led his friends and families, to sing that folk song in German, to bless the union, they were very moved, and, it’d, moved all the tourists who’d trekked across the plaza. This wedding was like that strong shot of morphine for the two elders, Abby’s dad who’d been sick a long time looked very alive, and, Abby’s mom, looked deep, into his eyes, like they’d, just, fallen in love together.

The westerners’ show of their love for each other, was totally, different from the Asians’. Seeing how Abby’s dad danced around with Abby’s mom, looking deeply, and lovingly into one another’s eyes, it was, such a sight of joy. But, as I’d, looked back toward my wife, she too, was, gazing at me, using that same way too; the way her curled eyebrows looked when she smiled, it was, comparable, to Abby’s mom, and, thinking of how I still have this, teenage girl who’d, loved me, and looked upon me with that sort of admiration, what else, can I ask for in life?

And so, from this experience of a wedding abroad, you’d realized, how the westerners’ show of love is quite different from the easterners’ show of love, but, love is felt, no matter which way you chose to express it.