Looking at the World, with Just One Eye

How someone who’s, blind in one eye, almost blind in the other, made his own life, meaningful, by helping those who are in need, translated…

On this day, we’d, met at a fast-food restaurant.  He’s a busy nine-to-fiver.  Two mornings ago very early, he wore his pharmaceutical delivery uniform to the hospital for work as a counselor; in the afternoon, he’d, switched to a plain shirt, and headed to the 101 to develop the opening positions for work.  But, every time he’d met someone’s gaze, the person couldn’t help, but focus on how his odd looking right eye, due to its, messed up lens.  On that very day, he’d, smiled at people, just as he’d done from before.

At first, I’d thought that his eyes was a prosthetic that’s been, “installed”, as he’d heard, he’d started, laughing aloud, “no, this is real, but, it looked, quite fake too, because my right eye was, completely, blind, I can’t see a single thing.”  And, all he had to rely on, was his, left eyes, and the sight on his left is, already, failing too.

He’d worked as a social worker in a social welfare agency, he’d called his workplace, “meeting place”, his job is to encourage those with mental illnesses who’d, stayed at home, to come to the “meeting place”, worked with them, to work alongside them, to sort through the things in the “meeting place”, for instance, cleaning, key entry, cooking, translations………to help the people gain that sense of achievement they’d, lacked; waiting until they’d had the abilities, then, he’d, helped them find a paying job.

“I think you have a very cool job!”  is that so?  He’d started, laughing, then, told me something he thought was, “really cool”.

Last year, a government agency had an opening for someone who’s handicapped, he’d, taken along two “members” from his office who’d shown great interests in working to the interviews.  And, those who were known as “psychologically ill”, were the members of his “office”.

He’d treated the interviews as exams, he’d, sorted through the “test questions”, and, believed that the interviewer would ask the job applicants: to introduce themselves, how they are going to, overcome their troubles, and, what sort of assistance would they need from the office…………and, he’d, guessed over ninety percent of the interview questions correctly, and, both of his interviewees will start working, I’d laughed and told him, “you have a hundred-percent success rate!”

He’d felt, that the “interview” wasn’t hard, because, all those who are handicapped, became, experts in their handicaps, and, had their own ways, of coping.  He is also, a handicapped person himself, but, I’d found, that in conversing with him, there was, that sense of empathy, that he’d felt troubled, by other people’s troubles.  Because it was his work, he’d, wanted to help the “members”, to break out of their cages even more.

He’d mentioned that he’d helped a case with bad hands, and the person can only type up eight characters with his middle finger per minute, and, he’d, slowly, increased to eighteen characters.  And, although being able to key eighteen characters per minute couldn’t help him find a job, but, because he’d gotten the cares and concerns from a social worker, he’d stopped, blaming his troubles on everybody else and his circumstances, he’d become, a brand new man.

Why did he mention this, unimportant case?

Turned out, although he’d, seemed quite confident, he’s, actually, not, he’d, managed to “overcome” that by finding the sense of accomplishment in what he does; for instance, as he’d found a job for a person, or if the person changed because of him, then, he’d, felt achieved, and, thus, his confidence level, boosted.  Just like he’d said, the handicapped, ARE the experts, of their own, handicaps.

He’d added another, seemingly ordinary image.  One day, he was working at his computer station, a member came over to him, sat next to him, the two of them started, carrying on in conversation.

“What happened to your right eye?”

“I’d become blind because I was born prematurely.”

“Must be really hard on you then?”

“I’m okay, I think, you have it worse than I had it.”

And, the two of them, started laughing aloud together.

This short conversation, brought the two hearts, closer together, and, this sort of a feeling was, hard to put into words, but, it’d, made him get that sense of achievement he’d, sought.

And, because the “members’” conditions are, quite unpredictable, and there were, challenges, everywhere, so, he’d needed to spend more time, to get in touch with their psyches, this made his job unexpected, and it’d, given him, surprises from time to time.

He’d mentioned something he was really proud of to me.

This member wanted to help him find a job opening, because he’d wanted to, help lighten his workload, he was very moved by the individual.  Actually, this particular member had made great strides during this last year.  He’d started helping out around his house this past year, went with his mother to the hospital without being asked, and stayed right by her side, and, although, he wasn’t, at all articulate, but, his actions, showed that he’s, very gentle…………he’d told how the “members” changed like it was, something major.

As we’d finished eating, and left the fast-food restaurant, some passersby still focused on his right eye that was, awkward.  But, I’d, looked deeply, into his right, the eye that can only, sense, some weak light, that’s, always helped him, see the good qualities of the “members”.  This made me recall the sculptor, Rodin’s words, “There’s no lacking in beauty in this world, but a lacking in the eyes that can, see them.”

And so, this, is how someone who’s, “handicapped” started helping others who needed him to help, and, his job as a social worker is, enriching for him, because, he’d made his own life count, made it, more meaningful, in helping those in need, and, he’s, nowhere, NEAR handicapped, despite his physical conditions one bit!

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Mop & Camera Lenses

This man had, compromised his own dreams, to help take care of his own, aging mother, but he hadn’t, given up on his dreams entirely, and that, is what’s, important!  Translated…

The young man with black-rimmed glasses, curly hair, dressed very fashionably, dragged in his luggage through the doors, with all the camera, filming machines packed inside.  He’d, observed the light in the room, picked up a lens, went outside, then, changed another lens, very skillful, and quite, professional too; but, he also has, another job, he works, in janitorial.

painted by the writer, from UDN.com…圖/阮光民

He’d originally stayed in Taipei after he was discharged from the services, he’d started getting into photography in his high school years, at first, he’d set up a club with a few of his friends who shared the common interests, gone around, collected, the people, and the places, at the same time, marked down his own life too.  Reason why he’d returned to his hometown was because of his mother: once he’d arrived home, saw his mother who’d, worked in contracting janitorial work, found that he saw how aged she’d, become, he was shocked, that in the past, he’d, not noticed this.  He thought, that as he was taking pictures he’d focused on the lights, and, as he’d photographed people, he’d, found a specific moment in time, but, he’d realized, just now, that while he was out, capturing life, he’d, missed his own mother’s life.

And now, he’d worked in contract janitorial, and, if someone locally needed a photographer to document a wedding of a sort of a function, then, he’d, bent down, let go of the mops, and picked his camera back up again.  I’d asked him of his future plans, he’d, given me this, far-away look, because, the lens called the future may be, too long for him.

See how, when reality and dreams clash, people tend to give into the demands of reality, this man had too, but he’d, found a way to compromise between his dreams and reality, and now, he’d, taken care of both at the same time!

The Seaside Town She Grew Up in

Missing her “home”, translated…

Everything about the oceans, I’d, learned from her.

I called her Aunty, she was the daughter-in-law of my next-door neighbor, her body changed from slender when she was younger to fuller figured in her midlife.  The only thing that’s unchanged was her IQ and her slurred speech, she’d often said to me, “I’m not an idiot, why do they all cuss me out?”

“They” meant the neighbors in our village, who’d, enjoyed, making fun of this woman who’d, married over from the oceanside—back then, the family lied, she didn’t say a word, that was why, the match was made, and she’d, married her husband, with polio.

She’d often, pulled up a chair, and sat outside from front door, and, shocked me with the stories, “when my parents were, putting the fishes out to dry, I’d always gone to the beaches, to chase down the small crabs, sometimes, they’d bite, and I’d, bled too!”, as she’d talked about the seas, her dark complexioned face shone of that light, it’d, resembled the fish scales underneath the sun.

a place, like this, maybe???  Photo from online…查看來源圖片

“My dad is coming to see me next month, he will bring me tons of fishes!”, her father was a fisherman, after he had her, and found she had Downs’s Syndrome, he’d, stopped having children, and, in the matchmaking, he’d told aunty to not talk, and, married her, into our, small village, this village, without, the slightest scent of, the oceans.

I’d asked her, do you want to go home to see the oceans?  She’d looked at me, said foolishly, “The ocean in my hometown is, the most beautiful.  The fishes would get washed to shore, and I’d, caught them, and put them onto my front porch.” Then, she’d started laughing, “my dad would inquire, why they didn’t, ring our doorbell?”

Looking at those, shiny eyes, I’d started to imagine, that maybe, she’d, never, actually, left that oceanside village she grew up in after all.

And so, this woman misses her hometown by the seas, and, all the memories she had, of her childhood years there too, and, she can’t go back now, as she’s, already, someone else’s wife, living, so far away, from the oceans, what she knew the best, what she was, most, familiar with in childhood…

The Most Beautiful Ocean in My Mind

Memories, of these, childhood moments which were, wonderful, translated…查看來源圖片memories like this one…photo from online…

That ocean, without the transparencies of the crystal clear blue, without the white sandy beach, nor the picturesque island filled with the trees, but it was, the most beautiful, the warmest, ocean in my memories.

Back when I was younger, because of my father’s work, my mother and I would go to Hualien to find him during the summers and winter breaks.  In my memories, I’d often, wandered around where we used to stay back then, and gone to play with the large breed dog that’s wandering by.  Back then, I’d, looked forward to the weekends the most, because my father would drive my mother and I, pass through that tunnel made from the trees, to arrive to the beach together as a family.

memory, like this???  Photo from online…

That sea had that deep indigo color to it, there were, the small fishing boats parked by the shorelines.  The sea breezes came at me, and I could, smell that light scent of fish, hearing the gentle sounds of the calming waves, hitting the shores.  There were, a ton of pebbles, with the various sizes and shapes, a ton of, colorful rocks too, I’d loved picking the ones I liked out with mom, and we’d feel, satisfied by it.

One day, dad wanted to take me, who couldn’t swim back then, into the waters, I’d gone toward the oceans, with him, leading me.  With the waters getting deeper and deeper, it’d, almost passed my neck, and, I can only, touch the ocean floors, with my big toe then, and I’d, felt, very unsettled.  But my father, held me tightly, with his, firm hands, taught me how to relax myself, “Don’t worry, daddy’s here.”

I’d forgotten, how many times I’d, gone to Hualien already, and forgot, how many of those, beautiful pebbles I’d, picked up along the way.  But, what etched into my mind, was how I’d, rolled up my pants with my mother by my side, along with my father’s, “don’t worry hon, I’m here!”

So, this, is what you remembered the most, how firm your father’s loving hands were, how he was there, to support you, when you’re, most scared, and how your mother was there, picking up, those beautiful, multi-colored, childhood memories, that you two had, taken home with you…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The War on Quitting the Diapers, Potty Training My Son

Potty training is SUCH an important milestone!!!  Translated…

My youngest son is three, it’s time, I’d, potty-trained him, and so, I’d, started working on a “quitting diapers” war pact with my husband for him.

My husband asked my son first, “Do you want to wear the underwear with cartoon cars on it?”, my son nodded excitedly, then, we took him shopping for his new underwear, so he can choose the pictures he’d liked to wear.  After I’d, washed the underwear, and hung them out to dry, came the SECOND phase.  I’d asked my child, if he’d wanted to, try on his new underwear?  Looking at his favorite patterns of car and airplane, he was still, a bit hesitant.  “let’s try and pee inside the toilet, and if you can manage that, you get to wear your new underwear!” at first, he had troubles, getting use to it, he was on the verge of peeing, he’d stood over the toilet, and didn’t DARE to go, and cried that he wanted his diapers back.

查看來源圖片positively reinforcing the behaviors, photo from online

 

In the beginning stages, my son would from time to time, not get to the toilet quick enough, and, wetted the floors of the bathroom, or, rushed over to the toilet, stood above it a long time, and, nothing.  In the end, my son had, finally, let down his guards, and bravely, peed, into the toilet, and, as the softer underwear was put on him, he’d started, comparing, he’d found, that the fabric underwear, felt way better than the diapers.

Once, he’d accidentally, peed outside the toilet, he’d, felt so ashamed, and disappointed, looked up to me and asked, “Does daddy pee outside the toilet too?  How about grandpa?  And Uncle?”, I’d told him, “EVERYBODY had peed outside the toilets by accident!  You will be, JUST as good as they all are.  Peeing is something that’s, liberating, don’t be afraid, if you, get it outside.”

In the third phases, we wanted to train our son to poop into the toilet, and, as he’d complained on how uncomfortable his diapers felt, and refused to go to the potty, I’d, worked my persuasion on him.  He’d asked me, “Did daddy poop on the toilet?  Grandpa?  Uncle too?  How about Octopus, and Elephant?” and, he’d, role called every male in the household again, and, he’d started concerning himself over the potty training of all the animals too.

I’d asked my son repeatedly, day in, day out, “Do you want to go to the potty?”  Kept my patience, as I stayed inside the bathrooms with him, and, in no more than a month, my son finally, quitted his diaper.  And now, he’d become, very precise in going to the potty, even as he was sleeping in the middle of the nights, he’d, gotten up, with his sleepy eyes, stumbled, to go to the potty too.

illustration from the papers online…圖/無疑亭

Seeing the last case of diapers still in storage, I’d thought, “Thank god, this is, the LAST case of it!”  My youngest son is finally, evolved!

This is, a mother, noting the growth of her young son, and, potty training is SUCH an important milestone in everybody’s life, and if you weren’t trained using the positive reinforcements, it can, DAMAGE you for life!

The Rainbow & the Wind

The thoughts of a father, watching his young child graduate from the kindergarten years, translated…

Children’s smiles are rainbows.  As the rainbow appeared in the skies, it would always cause people to lift their heads up in awe, in the busyness of the day to day, bringing that small sort of a bliss.  And, children’s smiles have the same effects, as my children started playing coy in my arms, laughing brightly, suddenly, all my weariness would, subside, and I’d, started, enjoying this rainbow that’s, slowly, blooming open within my arms grasps.查看來源圖片an important milestone in their lives, a rite of passage, photo from online…

The children grow up so quickly.  As the gentle winds of their lives grazed my face, I couldn’t help, but want the breeze to last longer, and, I’d, reached out to grab a hold onto them, but, I’d, found my children’s younger years, slipped, through my fingers, suddenly, disappeared.

As my son was in his graduation gown, passed through the arch set up by the kindergarten, entered into the auditorium, we still couldn’t believe, that our little boy is grown.  What was more amazing was as the speaker for his class, he was, so full of confidence, with the forceful voice, and, made the hand gestures for the rainbows—thanked his teachers one by one, described what he’d learned in the years of his kindergarten education, and in the end, he’d, bid all his good friends farewell, and wished them the best, this was, totally opposite of how he was, jumping up and down, couldn’t stand still for one second, seeing how he’d worked so focused, to get this done so well, I’d felt, so proud.  And, it’d finally made sense, what we saw him do at home, he’d been, mumbling quietly to himself—so he was, preparing for the speech that’s made at the graduation ceremonies.

The kindergarten was thoughtful, in setting up the offering of the teas to the parents, with the graduates bringing cups of teas to serve to the parents down on one knee, later on, the parents and the children hugged and said I love you.  In the rituals of a matter of few short seconds, it’d taught the younger children to understand the kindness the parents took, to raise them, although it was, more symbolic, and the children may not really understand the purpose of why this was done, but, I’m sure, they will one day, finally understand the purpose of these behaviors.

illustration from UDN.com…圖/Tai Pera

“How do We/Own a Rainbow/How do We Embrace/the Summer Breeze…………”, as the kids finally sang in chorus the song, “Fulfillment”, I’d felt that sourness crawling up into my nose, I’d, steadied my hand with the camcorder, hoping, to capture this, final wind of my son’s before he enters into elementary school.  The end of the graduation ceremony, the children released the balloons in their hands, and the balloons, took flight, symbolizing how each child is carrying the blessings of the parents, and the instructors, to start on the next stage of life.  I want to tell my children, other than wanting to travel with you guys for a long time, daddy is also very grateful for your company.  I hope, that all the children, in this world, can keep that heart of fulfillment forever, and be able to bring that scent of happiness that resembled the rainbow, or, treat each other as the rainbows in their lives too.

And so this, is this father’s wish for his children, seeing them graduate from kindergarten, ready, to embark on the next stage of their journeys in life, and this is an important milestone in the lives of young children too!

I Just Love Older Men

Finding the man who suited her the best, translated…

Being a Capricorn who matures very early, I’d not gotten close to strangers since when I was a young child, I’d wanted, someone I can, look up to, someone who can, push me to strive, a tall mountain, as my steady support—yes, I am, into older men!

查看來源圖片a pair like this, maybe???  Photo found online…

Blame it on my first love, my ex was so into playing the arcades, didn’t study, didn’t CARE about his own future, other than having the good looks, he had, NOTHING, which made me decide, that an older, a more stable man would be, better for me.  For most, the older men ranged from between thirty to thirty-five to me, it’d meant someone who’s established at work, steady, stable, and with a good taste in life; and the most important man in my life, “uncle Bear”, he’d set up his own business in his twenties, bought the house, the properties, good at photography, knew the arts, listened to Bach, made the most tasty coffees, very understanding, for me, that was, an entirely, different world.

Some say, this is the Electra Complex, but, which romance isn’t based off of complimentary traits?  I saw the life I wanted, in the older man, and understood what youth meant to them; and, I shall, cherish this relationship as I go along, my first taste of love, will be imprinting on his life experiences, we make, the perfect match!

And so, this is what you’d figured out, that the men your age are way too immature, and so, you started searching for men, who are, older, and you’d, found a good man who loved you, knowing what she wanted, was how she was, able to find love.