The Two Ends of the Roads

Filling up your time after you retired, translated…

There’s this saying, “Study, or working out, either the body or the soul needed to head out on the roads.” I’d loved to read, walking even more. I live on Yenping N. Road Sec. 6, walking forward from my house for twenty minutes was the public library, back, was the riverside park and the weekend floral markets. And I’d gone on both ways on the weekends and the holidays too.

I’d slung that backpack around me, with my water bottle, headed out toward the library, without any hurry, the shops, the cafés, the beauty salons on the way………not long ago, a traditional style cake shop opened, the scent of the cake baking floated out of the shop into the streets. There was a hotpot shop that had a post, that if a child in the customer’s house had three-times made the perfect grades, with the exams provided, the family can receive a serving of hotpot for free, the owner’s heart was commendable, but not long thereafter, the shop closed down, and became a couture shop. Walking down this long sidewalk, looking all around at the shops, the sights, every walk of life presented itself to me, and, I’d, wandered to the front of the library. I’d gotten used to climbing six floors to the reading room, and not taken the elevators, it’s another view here. I’d found a window seat, with a book, a bottle of water, spent my afternoon in peace here, and this, is my secret spot for escaping the noises of day-to-day life.

I loved how open the library is, the serene atmosphere, so peaceful and quiet. As I got bored reading, I’d walked over to the windows, and looked down at the river under the bridge, and shifted my gaze toward the distant connected skies, to the mountains far off. And when I got tired, I’d, put my head down on the desks and napped, and when I felt like it, I’d started, secretly, observing the people in the library too. There was an elderly man who’s really focused, I would see him every time I’d come here, I’m guessing, that he’d reported to the library every single day; there was a pair of young children, who were really focused on doing their review worksheets, without being distracted by everything else around them; there was also that older man who’d fallen asleep, and started snoring too…………… as I became really into observing the goings on around me, I’d felt, relaxed more.

On the weekends, I walked toward the both ends of the streets, to go read or to see the flowers or to exercise, life became more fulfilled because of this habit, like how the roads had, extended into the distances from both ends too.

So, this, is one way to spend your free time after the retirement, you’d gotten enough exercise by walking to all these places, and, you also have the opportunity to observe the goings-on around you, becoming even more aware of yourself, and your interactions with the external environments you are in too.

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Optics, a Poem

Having someone ELSE there, AT the center of YOUR universe, this, is not going to end well at A-L-L! Translated…

We’d Polished Those Lens

Calculated the Curves of Language

Waited, for a Specific & Destined Time

That Light that Traveled Here from Afar

At that Specific Right Angle

like this, and, you WILL get B-U-R-N-E-D!  Photo from online…

Passed Through Those Layered, Transparent Hearts

Burning Me, in that Void, Suspended

That Combustible Focal Point

So, this, is what it feels like, with someone at the center of universe, because you were, lured in love, and yet, after the love is gone, what will you be LEFT with? Oh yeah, I forgot, UTTER DARKNESS, and you’d become, a sure part, of that darkness, because you’d lived your life around that other individual, and, it’s NEVER good, with someone ELSE at the focal points of your own lives…

A Nosy Paramedic

Reasons why these nurses butted in are still NOT just because it’s their professional courtesy, but because they genuinely cared about the wellbeing of their patients! Translated…

“You know why I was willing to get the shots?” my thirty-year old patient with hypertension, diabetes, and sleep apnea, with a suspected cell melanoma asked me. “??”

“As I was admitted, didn’t the hospital tried to get me to get a shot and I’d refused?” “Yeah!”

making teh rouands, checking on the patient…photo form online still

“That day, I’d gone to the basement of the hospital, and bumped into the doctor in the metabolism health department.” “Dr. Jiang.”

“Yeah, that’s her, she’d called me to a halt, took me to her room.” “??”, I was very shocked.

She’d asked me, “Are you a V.I.P.?”, and I’d replied, “of course not.” She’d asked me again, “Are you more of a V.I.P. than the former president Lee?” “Of course not!” “Even as the former president had his insulin shots for years on end, what techniques are you using, without the shots, to keep your glucose under control?” I’d, stuttered, and thought about what she’d said, and it was reasonable, and, as I returned to the ward, I’d told you, that I was willing to get the insulin shots.

Nosy, was one of the most favorite characteristic I have for the medical professions, they’re working as they are working, NOT for the money, but for the sake of helping others, like the elderly hospital manager of Chih-Hong Hospital stated, “Money is only a complication in the realm of medicine.”

That also explained why Dr. Jiang had offered me the extra services as I gone to see him, had the professors to come to look at me, asked the radiology department to check me……a little more here, a little more there, making me feel, that we’d done all we possibly can, not for the sake of making more money, but for the sake of making the patients feel, that the doctors had done all they possibly can, to help us.

The cardiologist, Dr. Liu was also like that, I have a patient who was suspected of having lung embolisms who’d asked him to do an ultrasound of the heart, most of the doctors had just done the ultrasound, then, typed up the reports, but he’d read the man’s entire medical history records, and checked with me, “you know, the patient told me that she flew business from the U.S. back, not economy class.” He’d even reviewed over ALL of her past scans, and gotten to know her condition like the back of his own hands.

All the nursing staff I’d met, are also just like that too.

As I saw a patient’s chest x-ray had a huge white are, I’d enjoyed asking the nurses, “What do you think this is?”

And the primary nurse would tell me what she thought. When the phlegm was pink and with foams, it looked like lung emphysema; if it’s bright red, then, it’s a hemorrhage in the lungs; if it’s yellow, then, it would be an infection from pneumonia. Sometimes, with the senior nursing staff members like Mei-Huei and Hsin-Ran, they’d told me, that the lungs were probably infected with bacteria, because she’d smelled the special scent that the bacterial gave off.

with the dedications and hard work of people like these, that is what makes our recoveries possible…photo from online…

The nurse from the Guo-Yuan Nursing School found slight things that we shrugged off as a patient was walking, and helped make the correct diagnosis. Huei-Jen in ward 9A told me of a unique way that the patient interacted with the family, which helped us arranged an individualized method of treatment.

Nosy, that, is the characteristics I’d loved about the nurses. Nurse Peggy in 6B, as the patient didn’t come back, she’d phoned the station to ask where the patient went; Shu-Pen was only passing through the roads of Yangming Mountain, and she’d stopped, to perform CPR on a car accident victim; the nurse from MICU, Jia-Yi at the MRT Yuanshan Station, rushed out of the trains, and performed CPR on a visitor who’d passed out………there are, an assortment of stories of compassion, told how the blood of nursing flows through the women I worked with.

Wei-Ting, as a clinical pharmacist, at the start of when everything getting written online, she’d actively asked for the patient’s national health insurance card, and solved the mystery of his kidney failure (the patient denied having been put on any medication, but his medical records showed different).

Medicine, is a special profession, it’s not the normal 9 to 5, but based off of the interpersonal interactions, connections we’d established with one another. The nosiness of the nursing staff, sometimes it’s annoying, but you need to know, that what it showed, is that unspoken, “I care about you”

The medics may not be capable of expressing their cares and concerns toward the patients verbally, but so long as they still cared, this huge system of healthcare won’t collapse.

So, this showed, that although the nurses’ behaviors may be construed as nosy, or butting into the patients’ lives, and sometimes even, invading the privacies, but, they do it out of their care and concerns toward their patients, and we should give them a break, and stop giving them a hard time, as they’re the people on the frontlines, saving lives here.

What If I Want to Be a QUEEN??? The Question that ALL Princesses Have, as They Ride Off into the Sunset

Life surely was, a HELL of a LOT simpler, back in the Medieval times, when men and women just settled in, their traditional gender roles, isn’t it???

What if I want to be a QUEEN??? The question that ALL princesses have, as they ride off into the sunset, and thus, second thoughts, doubts, started taking over, in the princesses minds. What if I want to be a QUEEN? I mean, I’d never needed a man before, I’d grown up, as an independent woman now. Why would I need a man, to care for me?

daddy’s princess, all grown up…not my art…

What if, I want to be a QUEEN??? What if, I’m just, not going to be satisfied, as someone’s princess, what if, I’m, destined to become a queen, and I’m just, settling, as a princess who’s, locked up in an ivory tower, with my one and only BEST friend, my PET DRAGON, who will get slaughtered by some LOSER who made his way up my ivory tower, to ROB me of my youth, huh???

What if, I want to be a QUEEN??? And, I’m just, settling down, as a PRINCESS, who can’t help herself (but, I’m actually, ABLE-BODIED here!!!)? That’s not the life I want, at A-L-L!!!

So yeah, the argument with me continues, until, I finally realize (oh wait, I’d always known it already!!!), that I’m NOT meant to be a “princess” (just like I’d told that elderly man from back in ’08???), that I don’t need anybody to “rescue” me, I’m more of a QUEEN………

 

 

 

 

 

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.

My Grandmother’s Tears

The strengths of a mother, in the love for her own son who’d escaped from China for a better life, translated…

She’d Hidden Her Tears So Very Well, Talking to Her Son in His Forties, Whom She Hadn’t Seen Since His Mid-Teens, I’m More than Certain, that It’s Not She Didn’t Cry, But that Her Tears Run Dry………

She’d NEVER Cried a Single Tear in Front of Anyone

That, was a voice they’d waited a lifetime to hear: “Eldest brother, it’s me, Shenling, this time when the eldest sister-in-law came to visit, she’d brought home a ton of gifts and money, we all missed you very much, and hope that next time………”, “Eldest uncle, it’s me, Red………(sob), the followed by the baritone voice, “Ming, when you have days off, do remember to bring the kids home to visit us all.”

Nearly twenty, young and old, men and women, including the nephews that my father never even met, and the only one who’d maintained the stature was my paternal grandmother. She is eighty-five years old, a life-long smoker, didn’t need her glasses as she threaded the needles. She managed to hide her tears so well, talking to her son who’d left home when he was just fifteen, and not seen for forty years on end, I’m more than certain, that it’s not she hadn’t cried, but her tears already, ran dry already.

My father was born in the beautiful, mountainous Guanxi, born in 1927, he was just in time, for the two turbulences of his time, at age fifteen, during the winters, he’d gone to Liouzhou with a classmate, to answer the calls of Chairman Chiang’s “A hundred thousand youth soldiers”. Just as he’d enlisted, as they were on their returns home, his two friends missed home a lot, planned to call home, and think about enlisting, my father recalled what my grandmother told him, “Ming, there’s nothing we can give to you at home, the only thing I’m proud of was that you’d taken the sturdy mind, and the determinations to weather through the hardships of your life. Remember, no matter where you go, you must, make your families proud.” But, enlisting is a road with no returns, he’s already on his way, he shall not make haste. And yet, for a young teen of only fifteen who’s never left home, the day of homecoming is the day of victory, this seemed, a bit, cruel. My father’s tears were dried up by the years, and, waited for forty whole years for his homecoming.她從未在人前掉過一滴眼淚那是等待多年的聲音:「大哥,我是顯林,這次大嫂回來帶...illustration from the papers…

My father was once my grandmother’s good helper, every day after school, he’d gone to chop up the firewood, and rushed before the supper time, hauled the firewood down the mountains to sell, and even if a bundle only went for ten cents. As my grandfather failed in his business venture, he’d vanished too. My grandmother sewed the shoes, raised chickens, tended her vegetable gardens…………but in that era, where it’d become hard for everybody to fend for her/himself, the smaller businesses didn’t last, and, they’d needed to go around the neighborhoods, to beg for a handout to keep the families fed. But, my paternal grandmother never shed a single tear.

Sewing Her Nostalgia, as Well as Her Tears, into the Handmade Shoes for Her Son

My older cousin, because he’s the eldest grandson, he’d gotten to spend most of the time with grandmother, knowing that she’d owned a treasure chest, that she’d taken out and cried to nightly, especially to a photo inside, every time she’d stared at it, she’d always ended up crying. She’d cried so very hard, over the son she’d declared was dead in front of everybody in the villages. Some asked her to erect a tombstone to prove it, “having the parents burying their offspring is already an act against filial piety, why must I announce it to the world?”, then, she’d taken off the stick that bunned her hair up, claimed that she shall kill herself in ramming her head into a tree, thankfully, someone stopped her from it. The villagers pulled back my grandmother who was in tears, and my father was relieved of the curse of being “buried in an empty grave” too.

I’m sure that what saddened my grandmother more, was how easily she’d put on an act, but how hard it was for her to find her son back. That man whom she’d carried inside of her for ten months, the one who’s closest to her heart, her eldest, is he, still alive? She’d hoped, that he would have arrived at the other side of the straits, and living his life now.

The days that followed, at dawn, my grandmother would head up the hills, started tilling up the land, planted the taro, the chestnuts, the yams………carried her homegrown produces down the mountains to sell, the roads were paved with sharpened pebbles, and they’d cut through the soles of her shoes, it’d made her bleed. And, that land wasn’t fit for planting, didn’t give her nearly fifty percent of returns, and, even as the harvest came, the thieves would harvest away all the produce overnight. She’d sighed toward the skies, but never felt defeated. For the sake of her family, she was willing to, walk on the roughest roads. Every evening as night came, she’d worked hard, sewing up the shoes, and every year, she’s always made an extra pair and put it into her treasure chest, that handmade shoes, she’d used her memories, draw and redrawn, altered, then dissembled, she’d managed to sew her own nostalgia for her son into the pairs of silky soft shoes.查看來源圖片homecoming, not my photograph…

Forty years flew by, my grandmother who’d waited for almost half a century managed to get herself up, although she’d lost the support from her husband, and she managed to stand erect and tall in the cannons, and faced the trials of getting hit by the bullets at anytime; even that one of her child is missing, she stayed strong, for all the other offspring who’d needed her.

 

The waiting for an entire lifetime came to an end the price was: my grandfather died in an unmarked grave, my third uncle died of consumption. And yet, if the past decades were call the darkness of night, then, my grandmother’s steady and stable voice, will be that rising sun, out of the horizons over the seas, I suppose.

So, this, is how much a mother missed her son, and, she’d allowed him to go away, because there was NO future for him back home, and she knew, that by sending him away was the only way he could live on, and that, was why this woman sent her own son off, despite how much she’d wanted to keep him by her side. The love of a mother is still, the strongest thing in the world here.

Friend, Long Time No See

Bumping into an old friend, and all the memories of your younger years just, all came back, translated…

I accidentally bumped into a classmate of mine from the elementary school years, Hsieh. There weren’t any reunions since we graduated. And it’d been, thirty years since, and, as we’d bumped into one another, “we’re both middle-aged men and women with the bellies now”, we’d made fun of one another.

“Oh, I think you’d not changed at all, you’d been chubby since you were a kid”, Hsieh added, and her words had, roused up ALL those long-forgot memories of my younger years.

“Do you recall once as we were practicing volleyball with the team at school, sudden, there was, a draft…”, before she’d finished talking, I’d hollered out in excitement, “I thought I was the only one who still remembered!”

That day, the sudden draft caused the dust and the dirt to turn into a dust storm on the fields, and, we weren’t worldly yet, and had all, hollered in excitement, “Look a cyclone!”, the few volleyballs on the ground were, rolling all over the places, and this “cyclone” had carried up the hats the students placed by the side of the volleyball court.

Watching those orangy-yellow caps turning in the wind, we’d all become, dumbfounded, treated the hats as people, we’d screamed, “Help! Help!” and the hats were carried off, about a dozen meters, causing this huge ripple in our simplistic elementary school years.

“But, I’d remembered the most, that we were all practicing sports, and you were singing by us, ‘let me tell you a secret place………’ then, the cyclone came.” Hsieh’s memories roused up mine too. Back then, I was nicknamed Fatso, but because they’d needed extra players on the team, so I got called up. And, the practices every morning wasn’t what Fatso was supposed to do, but, unfortunately, I can only help pick up the balls, and used my own way, to self-entertain.

“I saw you on the papers, I’m really glad for what you’d accomplished and what you’re doing now”, Hsieh turned the subject, and I don’t know if I was mistaken, but I think I saw a hint of sorrow from her eyes.

“Reading the news, I knew you still lived in Shulin, and that your parents were gone. I remember, that once a couple of us went to your parents’ shops, and Mrs. Yao gave each of us a bowl of shaved ice, with the toppings filled to the top…”, Hsieh seemed to have been even more immersed in the past now, each word she’d spoken, was with fuller emotion.

“You know, I actually stayed here too, and now, I’d, moved back home. It’s weird, how we’re, living in the same areas, and, this place is so small, and yet, it took us a whole of thirty years, to bump into one another.” What I was thinking of, as I heard this from her, got taken aback, I’d feared, that I may have, roused up something in the past for her.

“What are you doing now?”, I’d inquired, I’d wanted to switch to a more manageable topic, so we can carry on in conversation.

“Nothing much, I’m a housewife, I didn’t go to college, unlike you.”, ‘d recalled, that in the elementary years, she’d always made the high grades, and gone on behalf of the school to compete in a drawing contest, she was, multi-talented; don’t know if she’s being humble, or that she wanted to divert from talking about herself. As she talked, the wrinkles from the corners of her eyes would become this deep groove, I’d tried hard, to picture what she looked like as a child in my memories, that naturally curly hair, with a somewhat noble look, like the Sweet Girl from the cartoons—what had happened to through the years, and in her life, that’s, made us, into who we are right now?

“You loved to sing so, and, became a mime.”, I recall how we both fought for the first-place title of the singing competitions, we were both nervous, both wanted to win, there was a period, when I’d hummed, “I’ll wait for you by the docks, there’s a light drizzle coming down…”, I’d really wanted to ask this newfound classmate from my childhood, “You’d loved to draw so much, do you still draw now?”, but I just, couldn’t manage it out.

“We’ll see one another more then, old classmate!”, Hsieh, with her shopping basket in hand, and patted me gently, I’d held her wrinkled hands tight, it was, warm, and firm.

I think, everybody has her/his own stories, the way they coped with their separate lives, with a story of our own, it’s just, that it goes, without telling.

So, this is, bumping into an old classmate from your elementary school years, and, over twenty years had passed since, and, you are both, no longer who you were back then, so many things had, changed, you’d weathered through the separate storms of your separate lives, to get to where you currently are in life right now…