Langenfeld & Dog

Making the adjustments, to living in a foreign land, until this foreign place felt, more like home to you, translated…

Choosing the hotels, I’m used to living in the cities, or closer to the stations, for the sake of convenience.  As I’d, walked toward the Rhine in Germany, I still, couldn’t decide whether to find my stay in Kohn or Dusseldorf.  My friend suggested, that we should, find a small town close by, we’d already, bought the monthlong fares, we needn’t worry about the charges of the transportation, and, it’d, saved up on the city taxes, and, close to the ordinary citizens’ lives.

I’d, pulled open the map, trekked along the railroad, from Koln to Dusseldorf, there were, two mid-size towns on the east side of the Rhine, one was the famous headquarters of the soccer team of Leverkusen, made famous by Bayer, the other, was one town I’d never even heard of, Langenfeld.  As we got to the middle of our journey, it’s time, that we added in, some sort of a leisure of the vacation, and, without a second thought, we’d, picked Langenfeld.

There were two stations locally, both were on the same linear line, the southern one was closer to the center of the city, and got its name of the city, and it’s, also the transportation center for all the busses in the region.  And, on the northern side of the town, there was another, and, it took the name of the highway that intersected with it, Langenfeld-Berghausen , the app of the railroad app on my cell abbreviated this place as Langenfeld-B, made it look like a spare door, so easily missed out on.

I’d gone out in the morn, walked to the northern side of the town to catch a bus, and on the evenings, I’d, gone to take the bus on the south side, and, although, it’d, doubled my way to the bed and breakfast, I could, have the opportunities to shop locally at the supermarkets.

And I’d selected the south side station at night, other than it being where all the shopping marts are, there’s also a personal reason.  As I’d walked along during the daytime, I’d heard the loud barks of viciously sounding dogs.

The first day, and the second day too, I’d only heard the bark, but didn’t see the dog.  And, although I knew, that there are, NO strays on the roads in Germany, that the barking must be from a house, with a pet, but, I couldn’t, get that image of a vicious dog out of my mind.  Like there’s, a huge breed of dog that is going to, run out at anytime toward me, especially, in the darkness of night, all the impossible, became, a possibility.

The bed and breakfast was a three story building, the top floor, was a special place, a one-person bedroom, with the bath and the kitchens, I’d originally wanted to use it for when my parents came visiting, that the lighting was great, it’s, comfortable too, and we wouldn’t, step on each other’s toes.  And, as my parents didn’t come, I could, rent it out, for some extra cash.

The owner of this B&B is the energetic woman, lived with her four, five-year-old son, she worked two jobs regularly, with a steady boyfriend who’s an architect, the three of them got along very well.  And, as I’d found the place, the family of three were about to head out.  The woman told me, that she’s dropping her son off to spend the weekend with his father, then, she and her boyfriend would go to the Netherlands, to have some alone time together.

On the third day, I’d walked on that same path to the station.  And, I’d, gotten to the station, without much trial, and felt, that something, wasn’t, there, oh, the dog had, stopped barking.  Turns out, as he’d, looked upon me, an outsider, day in and day out, he’d finally, gotten, used to me now.  On the fourth day, he’d, played cute with me, and started, whimpering at me as I passed him by from the other side of the road, like wanted me to go and introduce myself to him or something.

And, I’d finally, gotten a closer look at his features, he was, an intelligent looking shepherd, not as huge as I thought it was, but, we were, separated by the fences, and, I can only, look at it from this side of the fences, we were, separated, by a small garden.

On the last night, I’d contemplated that if I have another serving of cheese and sausage, I shall got NUTS, and that if the dog wasn’t a problem anymore, perhaps, I should, get off on the north side.

The moon was bright, like a silvery plate, very circular, it’s, that season of full moon that came during autumn.  As I’d, walked across the forest, there wasn’t any passing car, the branches and the leaves blocked out the lights, then suddenly, the wind blew down some leaves, made the shadows come alive, and, I’d, felt scared.

Looking at a city, from being unfamiliar with it, to becoming, accustomed with it, which way to turn, which way to stop, it all became, habitual, but, the side effects of that was, I’d become, hyper alert of the shapes, and the changes in air, any small movement, can make me jump.  Especially, on a full moon’s night, everything mystique, seemed to be, coming to life.

Thankfully, that shepherd sounded its bark, very low and settling, like it was saying to me, Hey, what are you afraid of, welcome home!

And so, this, is how this person had, gone from a stranger to a new place, to becoming, totally, familiar with it, and now, this place that was, once foreign to her/him, became, home…





These Bald Creatures…

Seeing these rare species in abundance, translated…

On the “bald creatures in Africa”, all that came to mind were, the vultures, but the very first time I got up close and personal with a bald bird, it was, with a marabou stork.

The long beak, the pinkish head and neck, covered up, with the loosely grown in feathers, then, there’s, the white chest, and the black-brown wings.  It’s said, that because of how they were, scavengers, they had little to not feathers on the head, to prevent from getting messy, that it’s, best to keep themselves cleanly that way.  They’re, bald to the point of being logical, not a sight for sore eyes at all.

photo, courtesy of…

The marabou stork staring into space, it’d looked like, a portrait, painted of a noble person.  Although they’d felt, that they weren’t something rare, due to the world wide web, and yet, it’d taken me, a total of THIRTY years, to, finally see on in person, and it’s also, the first time I’d, heard of its, name, seen the way, it’d, appeared.

After I’d left the national park, we’d met back up again, in the cities.  Such extravagance it was, there were, sighting of these huge birds in Nairobi.  But I’m thinking, in the cities of my own country, there are such rare species of creatures living there too?  And, I’d, felt that need, that drive, to keep the species around for someone, for another, thirty more years too.

And, this, is what you came to, as you saw the species of birds, and, because of how rare it is from your own home country, that is why, you were, so excited to see it, but, it’s, normal for these animals to be all over the places locally, and, you’d, realized, that there are, so many ordinary species that we take for granted in our own home countries, just like these, marabou storks.

An Ancient Town

Very vivid imageries in this one, translated…

From the vinyl records, the cassette tapes, to the middle age wear and tear, getting worse.  These past few years, we’d started fixing them up, adjusting the colors, a series of digitalization was occurring every single day, and what’s already fixed, became, more realistic, but it’d, caused me to lose my coarse grains, my sense of wild and free that was within me when I was younger.

The scenes turned dark early, I’d, carved out an arrow on the cherry tree out front, pointed toward the direction of the straw mattresses inside, the kimono, blew in the breezes, the small fire and the small cups of tea, exchanged the lamplight of the sun setting.  The snow spoke gently, on the tip of that pine needle, sometimes, it didn’t say a word, just melted away.

something, that looks like, this, maybe???  Photo from online…

And so, this is very picturesque, you see in a Japanese style garden, with a small house, with the kettle of tea, broiling on the stove…

Traveling to Germany to Perform in a Choir Exhibition

The choir diaries, translated…

Due to chance, at the latter half of July, the choir I sung with had the opportunity to go to a local church in southern Germany to perform.

On the day of the concerts, there was a tourist outing, the lunches were provided by the home competitors, after we’d had our chow down they’d invited us along to shop around and to have some coffees with them, but we’d, turned them down.  Because by the time the luncheon was over, it was already two in the afternoon, and we’re onstage at seven in the evening, and we had yet to check out the auditorium where our performances will take place, that we may need to adjust our formations, the way we’d rehearsed, the gift exchange, supper, and changing into our performance attires………clearly, we’re, already, running out of time, we needed to take every second that we have to get ready.

As we’d gotten off the busses, the church bells from the distance sounded off the welcoming calls, we’d felt moved, like we were being, worshipped.

Just as we’d suspected, the adjustment of the formation, and giving the home teams their presents, it’d, taken a lot of our time, plus we had yet to calm ourselves of the excitement of the morning travels yet, we didn’t perform as well as we hoped during rehearsal, and we’d started, feeling the stresses, thankfully, the leader of the choir and our singing instructor turned down the local teams’ offers to hang out, otherwise, we would’ve, totally messed up big times at our formal performances.

The temperature was comparable to Taiwan’s, between 33 degrees Celsius to 35 degrees Celsius, but without the air-conditioning, it’d become, difficult for us to handle, so from the rehearsals that started after a little past two after the luncheon, to the end of our show, everybody was, sweating like crazy, but we’d all, pushed ourselves, to adapt, that made me so proud of us.

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

At seven, the church bell sounded off loudly again, the performances started for real now, the first half was ours, of the six songs, there were four of which we’d sung as a whole choir, and two that were sung by the males and females in the various voice ranges, with an assortment of song choices, the quick-tempo “Taiwan, an Island of Treasures”, the softer, “The Mountain, in the Nothingness”, the strong and forceful, “Don’t Keep the Goldfish at the Bottom of Your Glass”, the ballad, “Memories”, the majestic “All the Flowers in Bloom”, there were, songs in Taiwanese AND Chinese, and we’d sung Beethoven’s Ode to Joy in German as the ending song.

As our performances were finished, everybody in the audience gave us a standing ovation, the applause sounded continually, even until we got off stage, and returned back to our seats, it’d made us all very excited, and moved.  What’s more encouraging was, the instructor told us, that this, was the best performance that the group’s given in all the years combined.  And, everything we’d weathered through, the hot weather, the sweating it out like crazy, it’d finally, paid off.

Later on, the German choirs performed the bottom half of the show, they’d sung mostly hymns, they were, younger than we were, and, kept their eyes on the sheet music as they performed, which was what we’d not done, this was, something we’re, most proud of.  In the end the two choirs performed “Looking Toward the World” together, with our conductor conducting, in the chorus, we sang the first and third, while the German performers did the second and the fourth, we’d sung in Chinese, they, in German, on our separate choruses, this was our instructor’s idea, it’d, made the song even more majestic, it’d made the German group who were against this awe over it, such a perfect ending for this show.

We’re not a topnotch choir, just ordinary people who loved singing, with the average age of over sixty-five, before we flew out, I’d once said to myself: we’re flying to a foreign country, although it’s a mid-sized town we’ll be performing in, so long as the auditorium is packed up, not an empty seat in the house, we’d, found success, and we had.

Later on, in the restaurants, plazas, train stations, by the lakes, under the ancient castles, came our “flash mob” performances too, and we’d gained the German’s applauses, and they had nothing but good things to say about our performances, we’re, so very happy!

As we returned, the German newspapers printed out our performances in the local church.  We’re from Taiwan, and the world finally saw us!

And your huge success is still due to those endless hours of rehearsals you’d had before you went to Germany to perform, and, because you and the members of your choir were fully prepared, that is why your performances gained all the attention, and it had, put Taiwan on the map, for Germany, at least!

The Education from Back When, Thoughts from the Wilderness

An outing of this father and daughter before she goes off to college, what the man was reminded of, translated…

The first time I took the MRT to the Taoyuan Airport, I’d taken the purple route, the straight route, and on my return trip, I’d tried the blue route, that passed through all the stations.

I rode on the MRT with my last year high school daughter, imagined, that we are, on the way, to her getting a higher education, the rails in the air was a bit, unsteady, there wre those, who were awakened from their sleep because of it, and rode to the terminals, and stood up and flew off, like those birds, made of glass.

The stations and the trains are purplish blue, imitating the colors of the Nitalva, with the common name of Taiwanese whistling thrush, the calls were quite, distressing, like how the car slammed on the brakes in a sharp turn, like the policies of education right now.

A7 Kinesiology University, A8 Changgang Hospital………we’d, walked to the Chi-ching Lake, there was the god of the earth in a statue, smiling at me in the middle of the lake, with the smokes rising from the small temple’s chimney, the doves, the ducks, ran around, and flapped their wings, like how messy the situation is currently in Taiwan right now.

The sun spread out all across the lakeside pastures comfortably, there were, the picnickers there, some sitting, or, lying themselves down; this was the Memorial Day long weekend today, for the sake of remembering those, who’d, finally, lain themselves down.

walking along a passage like this one, maybe???  Photo from online…查看來源圖片with the flowers, already, fallen…

I rode along on the Airport MRT with my daughter, and packed my own handmade rice ball wrapped in salted seaweed, it wasn’t a springtime outing.  Anyway, the sun felt so well, like it was, only eighteen years of age.  We’d walked a long time, and, the roads, approached us, without any doubts on their minds.

This was in April, the Chinese fringe trees were in full-bloom, with the cherry blossoms, withering away, the new buds were coming out, there wasn’t, a fallen leaf that’s, complained.

The airport MRT route passed through the mountains, the Tung oil tree, the green filled up the air.

And so, this, is what this father observed from their surrounding area, as they test rode the airport MRT systems, and it is considered, a rite of passage for his daughter, because next year, she’ll be away from home, in college, and, on this day, the father felt a mixture of emotions, his daughter is growing up and leaving home, and, it was on the day, that those who’d, sacrificed their lives for others is to be commemorated each and every year.

The Two of Us, Aging, Visiting Places Together

Going to places locally, to make more memories of us, something we can do, after we’re, retired, and living off easy!  Translated…

“Honey, let’s travel for the summer!”, he’d made fun of me.  “I just got my retirement pension slashed, how will we find the money to go?”, I’d smiled and told him, we can’t just, squat at home, we can walk over to the Bagua Mountain trails, or go visit the scenic areas close by.  He’d nodded, told me it was, a great idea.  And so, we’d started, these travels together.

like this???  Except they’d, gone into the city together…photo from online…查看來源圖片

“It’d been a long time since I was last here, there’s actually a trail for us to hike on, it’s, so amazing!”, my husband became like a wide-eyed child with wonder, strolled on the trails, it’d made me laugh, and, the other hikers started looking at us.  As we walked, we’d thought, hey, why not head into the city of Taichung too, and, we’d, alighted the bus, and, twenty minutes, we’re, in the metropolis of Taichung.  Hey, the train station that resembled the freeway systems was so new to us, we were, like first-time visitors, looked around here, and there; we’d, alighted the bus again, to the malls to stroll, the assortments of new products on display, caught our attentions, he’d found a red and white checkerboard shirt, and bought it, I’d made fun, “You are, fashionable, aren’t you?  You’d not talked until you were five, everybody called you the fool, but, being a fool as a young child doesn’t make you a fool as an adult, does it?” he’d laughed so hard he couldn’t, stand up straight.

We’d found a fast food shop and took care of supper, and passed through this, wonderful day.  In two more days, we’d, planned to go to Chiayi to have their famous turkey drizzled over rice, and buy a box of eggroll that Chiayi was known for too!

And so, this, is a great idea for retirement, after the two of you retired, you two can drive out to places you’d already gone to, to see if having a brand new outlook, that’s different from before when you’d visited can give you something new, it will, add the flavors, to your ordinary lives that’s for certain.

The Train, to Urumchi, a Poem

The sights out of the window, on a train, translated…

The Trains Entered into the Tunnel

There’s Light in the Black

At This Time, Another Car Passes

Those Flashing by Windows

I Saw a Reflection of My Self

The Train Sped Toward the Setting Sun

like this, maybe???  Photo found online…

The Shadows of the Mountains, Sharpened

As I’d Put My Face Close to the Window Facing the West

I Could See the Golden Ray of the Setting Sun

It’d, Bumped into My Glasses

The Deep Blue Clouds Diluted Inside the Stomach

The Railings by the Side of the Rails

With the Barbed Wires

Preventing Summers from Escaping by Jumping the Fences

So, this is the sights you noticed and saw from a train, and, the train must be speeding towards some distant regions of the world, for the skies to be so opened up, that you can see everything under the sun!