Connections with an unknown strangers on a flight, how the affinity extends to afterwards, translated…
In September of 2019, I’d rushed back from Vietnam, there was a Vietnamese girl sitting next to me on the plane, silently, reading.
“Hi, are you traveling in Vietnam, young lady?”, I’d broken the silence after the meals were eaten. “No, I’m from Vietnam, going to Taiwan to study!” as she’d spoken, there was, that thick, accent. Because the nurse’s aide we’d hired was also Vietnamese. She’d shyly introduced herself , “Hi, I am Yu-Hwa, I’m not that fluent in Mandarin!”
I’d started talking to her slowly, and she’d, slowly, opened up to me. She was the Asian descent, grew up in the poverty stricken farm, her parents worked really hard, carried the bricks, raised the fowls, helped with the planting in the fields, everything. More than a decade ago, her mother, in order to better the economics of their home, came to Taiwan, and worked for nine years as a nurse’s aide, later, she’d encouraged her daughter to attend the university in Taiwan.
illustration from UDN.com
She’d been separated from her own mother at the tender age of eight, she’d often cried when she wasn’t being watched by others. Her mother worked hard, buying up the estates, the livestock, and a cab for her father too, sacrificed too much already.
“Dad drives a cab, didn’t make that much, so on the weekends, I’d worked as much as I could, that way, I wouldn’t need any money from my family,” my heart went out to this young woman, she’d shyly told me, that this was the first time she’d told her story to a random stranger. I’d patted her on the shoulders, said that being in the same city, we’d come, to share this, affinity.
By the time the flight landed in Clear Springs Hill Airport in Taichung it was already nine, I’d decided to give her a ride to her school with my husband, it could save her more than a thousand dollars N.T. in cab fares. We’d exchanged contact information, and told her she was welcome to visit “grandma and grandpa” anytime.
Later, Yu-Hwa went to visit a couple of times with her classmates from Vietnam, and we’d become, more acquainted. At the start of 2020, MERS-CoV started, Taiwan was in stage three alert, and, it’d, messed up the order of many people’s lives. The outbreaks halted our gatherings, and yet, we’d, not shared any less of the connections once, she’d called, told me that her classmate had contracted the virus, that she was in the at-home quarantine, we’d swiftly, delivered the needed foods, the medications for her, and we didn’t feel relieved, until we’d learned she was, okay.
A lot of things canceled, she said she’d lost her original part-timing opportunity too, we’d worried about her livelihood, and comforted her at the same time, and we had our friend find her work sorting the mails at night, and it’d, helped her solve the problems of running short on the money needed.
Due to the outbreaks, Yu-Hwa hadn’t returned back to Vietnam for two years, and missed her families. We hoped to give her some warmth as she needed. When you’re alone and helpless, if there’s someone there, offering you the encouragements, even if it doesn’t solve your problems, it’s still, a positive, energy.
In June of this year, as parents, we’d, attended Yu-Hwa’s graduation, and we were, moved. She’d told us, that being in Taiwan for four years, because of the outbreaks, she couldn’t travel around, but, there’s, that thickness of the connection with the people she’d met in her life here, and we too, cherished this, amazing connection of us, similar to that of grandparents and grandchildren’s.
And so, this is on how you’d, connected with a random stranger, and it all started with a simple conversation on that plane, and, the connections that got started on the flights, extended to until they got off, and continued into the young woman’s college careers, and, I’m sure, that it will keep on extending onwards.