Category Archives: Connections

The Sensible & Rational Sides of a Marathon

A more “scientific approach” to running a marathon here, translated…

I can’t really run, but due to chance, I’d had a ton of friends who are, marathoners.

In order to experience this, I’d, entered into my very first, smaller scale, but beautiful marathon around the Sun Moon Lagoon, and I’d, signed up for the shortest distance, the “Fun Run”.  The group of us used brisk walking to replace the jogging; but I’d, still needed to train for it.查看來源圖片like this???  Photo from online

On that day, I’d gone to train with a group of visually impaired runners to the riverside.  They’d used a rope, with knots tied on both ends, one end on the visually impaired runner, the other on the seeing volunteers, like the three-legged race, they’d moved forward together.  I’d, followed them closely behind, not long thereafter, there’s, this huge distance between me and them, and, before I knew it, they’d, vanished, into the distances.

I’d continued holding my own tempo, with the cold wind blowing across my forehead, sweating down, it’d felt, really, awkward.  There’s, almost no one else by the riverside pass, most of the times, it was, just me, and every now and then, a cyclist would, speed by me, and then, I was left, all alone.  Most of the time, what accompanied me was, this strong sense of, solitude.

And yet, for the visually impaired to run the marathons, wouldn’t it be……I’d, blurted out, “BORING to even think on it!”

“how can you be bored, by ‘thinking’ about it?” in a gathering, the topic of marathon, it’d, sparked up this debate for the two individuals on each end, they’d told me, a ton of imaginations they had of, marathons.

One of the accompanying runners started as an “intern”.  He’d followed a more experienced guide runner to run with the visually impaired.  On the way there, he was, led by the experienced guide, and on the way back, he’d, led.  He’d spoken, with that disbelief in his voice, “The experienced guide told me twenty kilometers’ worth of stories, and the whole path was only, twenty-one kilometers long, oh mine!”  Whatever she’d thought up of, she’d, told me, to her grandmother, to her childhood, to the flowers by the road, the weather, her job………and a turn, before us, there was, this pass, paved with the shades of the trees, and, she’d started, talking about, Mother Nature, what’s meant by “blue skies”, what’s a “green pasture”, what’s a “never-ending ocean”……she was able to, pull out that horizontal pass, and, through it, led the visually impaired runners onto a journey, like the runners aren’t there to run, but instead, to listen to a tale.

I was curious, why did she talk, incessantly?  Turns out, as the visually impaired runner started running, he’d started cramping, and the volunteer chose to tell the tales, to distract him from his own physical discomfort.  If he’d only told of what they’d encountered on the way, it would be, too boring, after all, ordinary people don’t run too fast, and the scenes, are almost, at a standstill; and this experienced accompanying runner, thought of how to get the visually impaired runner, to enjoy the run as he ran blind………so, this, is how fun running a marathon can be!

And yet, not all the visually impaired runners are, blessed enough, to have a companion runner who’s so full of facts to tell.  I’d recalled that many years ago, I’d, gone to chat with a visually impaired runner of an international marathon on this subject, he was very rational, so was his companion runner, he’d, described the marathons he ran as a “battery cell”.

He’d told me, that running a marathon, it’s, a test of how long the battery on you will last, and, you’d needed to, assigned the energies spent on the way effectively.  He’d made the examples, “If your battery is fully charged, the best case scenario is, you’re able to use it, to finish an entire marathon.  Like how it takes a hundred minutes to run a marathon, then, it would be best, if you’d, used one-percent energy per minute that you run!”  You can estimate conservatively, that you’d only needed fifty percent energy to get to the finishing lines; nor can you, overspent, like as you’re half way through, you’d, used up all your energies.  If you’d run faster, how much energy will be spent, if you run slower, how much energy it will, cost you, you’d needed to, recalculate the time needed constantly, add in your physical strengths, and combine it with the speed to which you’re, running with, and use the exact amount of time, to drain up all the energies you may have in you, to just make it, past the finishing lines………

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!  How much, this, represented life itself!

And so, from this, you can see, that running, is no longer just about exercising the body, you need to make the precise calculations, of how much energy it takes you, and, calculate, and factor in all the possible things that can happen on the roads, which is why running a marathon, is sort of an art, and a science!

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Filed under A Cycle of Kindness, Connections, Helping Behaviors, Inspirational Tales, Kindness Shown, Lending a Helping Hand, Lessons, Life, Observations, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, Values

The Succulents

Lessons of life, these small plants have to, offer to us, and, it’s, an important one too!  Translated…

Don’t know when, raising the succulent plants became, a trend.

One afternoon, I was strolling down the underground shopping strip, and, stopped in front of a small plant, and, I’d, suddenly understood, where that sense of healing that people talked about came from.  Those chubby leaves, resembled the paws of the bear, with the lighting, the soft and thin fuzz, made me feel, extremely, calm and collected.

On the succulent plants, as I thought, the images of those potted cute things came.  The healing sensation culture, made the succulent potted plants became a total trend, turning it, into a brand new sort of merchandise, they’d gotten, posted on the websites.  These plants are regulars at the cafés all around, an assortments of handicraft designs of them too, the potteries.  Real and fake, the fake looked, so very, real, and, how easily, human were, saved, in this mixture of what’s real and what’s fake, and, doesn’t this symbolize how we’re, squeezed too hard daily, that we needed to, look toward this small plant, to find our renewed energies?

At this moment, I stood, before the glass window, looking at the bear paw, in the temperature and humidity controlled room, hearing the salesperson tell of how to care for the succulent plants.  Thinking, that, they’re, both succulent plants, and, could it be, that the ghost plant?

wonders of nature here…photo from online…succulent plants 的圖片結果

In my childhood memories, the succulent plants weren’t as precious as these.  It’s a sort of a food, instead of a decorating plant.  This began, with my eldest uncle who’d loved his plants as if, they were, his own children.  Way before the trendy gardening came, my eldest uncle and aunt already, decorated their yard and rooftop, into small gardens.  In my impressions, he was always, living in dirt.  From when I was younger, I’d, watched him digging into the dirt, in the front yard, he’d told me that he was, loosening the soil by the seasons, so the flowers and trees can, grow better.  He’s the kind of man that would, pluck a flower as he trekked up the mountains for you, to taste the nectars.  Once, he’d had me select my favorite flower by his racks of plants, that I can take one with me.  I’d only recalled that I got very excited, and ran toward that patch of flowers, but felt panic all of a sudden.  Having the conditions of selective difficulty, I’d felt, anxious, of the sudden influx of the choices presented to me.  In this heat, I’d, pointed toward that patch of gray off to the corners.  As I walked near, the greenish purple color of the plant, made it look mysterious, the leaves were criss-crossed, like a dream catcher.

My eldest uncle laughed, “You sure do know how to pick them, this is for eating!”, he’d quickly plucked a few leaves off, ran into the house to wash them up, not long thereafter, I’d, stared at the fatty leaf, hesitant, as I, took a bite, that crisp sound, with the sour and stale juice that came onto my tongue, and, as I chewed it more, the taste turned, sweeter, perhaps, it’d, tasted like the unsweetened bell fruit, with that taste of herb to it.  This discord of the appearance and taste, was impacting to me, “It’d, tasted like the bell fruit!”, my uncle’s smile became a squint in his eyes, nodded toward me satisfactorily, “This small leaf, will grow into many flowers, you got the pick!”  He’d placed the leaf into the palm of my hand.  Looking at the fatty leaf, I’d thought, “nice to meet your acquaintance!”, and that was when I recalled, that my very first cultivated plant, was also a succulent.

It’s, quite amazing, the parent plant stayed in a huge garden with the enriched soil, and the high humidity, did it ever imagine, that its leaves were going to, move into the lanai of a building in the city?  But, it’d, lived up to the expectations, the leaves multiplied.  In a couple of years, the small finger-sized leaves, became this, bush of leaves, a small garden.

Weird, how as we aged, we’d gone from a leaf from the ghost flower, into a bear claw crassula?  From when I was younger, I’d believed, that life will be like a ghost plant, with the goal, worked hard, under the sun, and, get enough water, I will be able to, bloom, grow, leaf after leaf, after leaf, and successfully, bloom.  But, the reality was like the wind, slapping you across the face.  And after awhile, we’d, slowly, grown, into a viewing plant that’s, fearful, of getting hurt, used to, hiding ourselves, inside that transparent glass container, trading in our protective colorations, for cuteness, sitting in our, isolated, universes, preserved ourselves.

very different in appearances, but, same in “nature”, with the strong will to survive, in the harshest of all conditions!  Photo found online…

Sometimes, life is like a cruel desert, turning us, into, a cactus.

I’d often forgotten, that beneath that healing image, the cacti, with the needles, are a member of the succulent plants.  From succulent, into prickly, that soft fuzz no longer in existence, replacing them, the prickly needles.  The flesh, through the grinds of the days, became calluses, but, the calluses, the thorns, used their stubbornness, wrapped up your heart that’s, softest and most fragile, most, easily hurt.

Hey, did you ever see a flower of a cactus?  Oh yeah, it blooms too.

I’d once, owned a round and stout, cactus with the shorter thorns.  Days into years, its plain looks made people think it’s, nothing more than a décor. Yet, one spring, it’d, started, budding around, with a small light hidden within.  I will, never forget that morn, as the sunlight shone slanted onto the lanai, and, there appeared, a palm-sized flower out of the cactus.  Bright yellow like a fire burning, but, thin as the wings of a butterfly.  The petals soaked up the sun, golden, in full bloom, shown its deepest, gentleness.

At that very moment, all the memories of pain, walking through all those summers, became, light as a grain of sand.

And so, this, is the lesson that people can learn, from these plants, surely, they’re, not easy to care for, but, if you look after them well, they will, show you a side of life that’s, quite inspiring, and teach you, that weathering through the seasons of life, is something as plain as living from day to day.

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Seeing the Love without Boundaries from a Foreign Spouse

How the kindness cycled around, from the Front Page Sections, translated…

Last week, I’d gone to a free clinic session for the foreign worker fishermen, because most of the fishermen were from Indonesia, so there was a translator alongside me all the way; I’d had the spare time, and struck up a conversation with her.

“I’d seen you every single time in the free clinics, you’re always smiling, very kind and gentle, you’re, a rare gem!”, I’d commended her.  “Doctor, you thought too much of me, they’re my countrymen, floated across to Taiwan to work, I’m glad, that I can, be of some sort of minute assistance.”

I’d asked her where she came from, “I lived in Jakarta originally, my father is a catering chef, with an unstable income, and there are, too many mouths to feed, and so, in my high school years, I’d, married to Kaohsiung, hoping, to make some extra money, to wire it back home, to help with my family, but………”, she’d taken a very long inhale, continued, “not long after we were wed, my husband was diagnosed with oral cancer, after three surgeries, countless electrotherapy sessions, he could no longer work”.  What made her situation worse was, as her kids rode together on a scooter to visit their father at the hospital, they were hit by a car, her daughter was injured severely, in the I.C.U., her son with fractures, and needing surgery.

Back then, she was looking after her elderly in-laws on her own, her sick husband, and her injured children, she felt hopeless.  But thankfully, her parents in Indonesia wired some money for her, and her eldest sister who’d married to Malaysia flew over especially to help her out too for three months; more importantly, the national health insurance coverages, it’d, helped her out with the costs of the treatments; she’d worked as a translator at the agency during the daytime, at night, she’d gone to school, to hone up on her Chinese skills, her son part-timed through school, they were, just, getting by.

“Actually, the Taiwanese people are quite helpful, I’d met a ton of those who were willing to go out of their ways to assist me, by just being there for emotional support, or those who’d, offered to help me with my finances.  I’m grateful, and in order to pay them back, I’d, signed on these sorts of voluntary work, to make what I can do useful and helpful, and this time, I’d, brought along my children who’d healed from their injuries to volunteer also, to make sure they will note, the love that’s, without the borders in Taiwan.”

Her husband may not be well-educated, or made a lot of money, but she’d, loved Taiwan like it was her home country, as the trials came, she’d, taken them all in, no complaints, no regrets, she’d, utilized her spare time, to hone up on her skills, to acculturate herself into the local communities, and knew to give back, she is, the model citizen for all of the foreign spouses that’s for sure!

And, this, is how this woman was, driven by the cycle of kindness, she was shown kindness when she was in need, when her family had problems, she’d received help from all around her, and that was what drove her, to give back now.

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Sisyphus in the Subways of Paris

The help from unknown strangers, that’s, made this woman and her daughter felt warmed in the hearts, translated…

I’d come to understand how Sisyphus was feeling. As I took two suitcases with the illustrated books, standing by the subways of Paris, faced with the dozens of steps heading upward.

Going against gravity, is already, a challenge in itself, let alone, when I’d needed to, push a huge rock that’s, way oversized, way heavier than my own body weight. And so, Sisyphus kept, pushing uphill continually.

Ahhh! I’m, after all, luckier, than Sisyphus, someone offered to help me out.

A graceful woman with silvery hair, used her wrinkled hands, stated in English, that she wanted to, help me out, and, grabbed my small suitcase to carry. I’d understood, that the moment she’d, lifted it up, she’d, be regretting it, because, it was, filled with books, weighed, just like the rocks.

But, why had, this kind hearted elderly woman offered me the helping hand? Because there was a middle aged man who saw her hauling a suitcase as she’d, stumbled up a staircase, and gave her a helping hand. And, she’d, gone down the steps, emptyhanded, and turned around and saw me with great difficulties, climbing up the steps, she’d, immediately, “paid it forward”, and, lifted up the suitcase, that was, apparently, heavier than she was.

I’d naturally, used my English and French, to tell her thanks, but it wasn’t, necessary, but I still had a bigger suitcase in my arms, and, this “evergreen marathoner” had, surpassed me already.

And yet, this pushing the rocks upward, with me, as the last leg. Or maybe, I hadn’t, found where to put my strength to best use yet, I appeared to be too foolish, and, an onlooker can no longer, take it, another younger, more fashionable woman, entered, into this race of mine, and, took the large suitcase I was handling, away from me.

Ah! What, is in this thing? All her friends, started, dissecting my case with their eyes from the various angles, and finally, they were, able to, lift up, that huge rock, then, lift up the legs, push up the steps; lift up the legs, push up the steps………as for me? With nothing in my hand, I’d, used both English AND French, to cheer my helpers on.

I’m, way luckier, than Sisyphus, the rock didn’t roll back down, as it was about, to reach the heights, and, all of those “competitors” who were involved in this race of mine, stood on the top of the stairs, with tears in the eyes, waved goodbye to me. And, my youthful daughter stood, panting, by her large suitcase, with great confusion, watched, this skit that had, happened in the subways.

The two of us, kept sliding the three large suitcases along in the subway of Paris, and, discussed how incredible our adventures were. As we just turned the corners, holy! Stairs! Stairs! Stairs! It seems, we’d, added, a second show, of the “Trials of Sisyphus”!

And so, from this you can see, how helpful, these strangers were, to this mother-daughter pair, and, without the strangers’ kindness, this mother-daughter pair, would’ve, NEVER been able to, carry their two large suitcases up that first flight of stairs, and yet, after they’d passed this first hurdle, there comes, the next one…but, the kindness of the strangers who’d, offered them a helping hand, can’t ever be forgotten that’s for sure!!!

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What? I’m Korean!

Finding out why, and, letting go of that feeling of being betrayed, realizing, that what the adults in your life did, was what they thought was, best for you, translated…

Ever since I could recall, I’d lived alone, with my mother in Korea, we’d never spent, a day apart. Later, I’d come to Taiwan to study, to marry, to have children, and settled down in Taipei, with my mother there, by my side. But, shortly after she passed, my former classmates from Korea sent me a weird news: there were, a couple of Koreans who were, desperately, searching for me, and claimed that they were, my relatives.

How’s that possible? Am I, zoomed in, by the international scam artists?

From before when there was only a small circle of Asians we’d associated ourselves with, there’s, that invisible sense of pride from being Chinese, that was, that sense of superiority of being Chinese, not wanting to be with the Koreans, we were, living, on someone else’s land, but felt, that they were, second class citizens. This weird belief, showed the most when someone is arguing with an Asian person, when we only needed to blurt out, “You looked like a Korean!”, it was, the biggest sort of insult to the individual, and, the person you’re arguing with will totally get outraged when you’d called them that.

korean children adopted 的圖片結果like this family???  Photo from online…

Growing up in this sort of an atmosphere, I’d only begged to pass the Korean language exams, and, every other course in high school, I’d made straight A’s, only Korean, I’d scored toward the bottom; and, my communication abilities was just enough, for me to use when I go shopping in the marketplaces.

When the Korean who’d come met me to show me he was related to me, he’d provided the adoption papers, and photos of me as a young child, mailed everything to me, and, all of those, “evidences” proved, that I was, a Korean, heads down!

Isn’t it outrageous, thinking that I was, Chinese all along, and then, I turned out to be, Korean? This was, the biggest kind of irony. I refused to admit that I was, Korean, I hated that classmate who’d, exposed me for who I was, and I’d, hated my birthmother, for giving me up for adoption.

After six months’ worth of struggles, my second eldest sister kept making those international calls to care for me, and, repeatedly, sent the presents to my husband and my two children, and my heart finally, started, to disarm itself, and finally agreed to, meet with them.

In the city of Suwon, I’d finally, met my five sisters and my younger brother. All these middle-aged uncles and aunts, as they’d, described of the hardship and trials they’d weathered through in life, I’d not heard a single word of complaint, their persistence, optimism, passion, comparing to my own prejudices, my aloofness, my dissatisfactions, made me so ashamed I wanted to find a hole to hide in.

What right had I, to hold my prejudices against Koreans? And, why can’t I understand, the pains and hardships my mother who’d carried me for ten whole months, and know how trying it must’ve been, for her, to give me up for adoption? Had it been not my birthfather’s death when he was way too young, had it not been my mother being too young, and needed to remarry, had it not been for my second eldest sister crying for one whole weeks at my adopted mother’s home, and got “returned”, and I got sent up for adoption, my fate would’ve been, so totally, different, how could I have gotten to live as an only child, cherished, sent to Taiwan for my college years, to become a teacher, to meet a good man, and marry and have children.

korean children adopted 的圖片結果or this???  Photo from online…

And now, both my mothers had passed, but the love they had for me, was enough, to last me, my whole life. Toward my birthmother, other than being grateful, there’s, that extra understanding; for my adoptive mother, other than, being grateful, there’s that sense of, missing her forever!

And so, it’s all due to fate, that this had, happened, and, back when you were a child, you may not understand WHY it was, that you were, given up for adoption, and perhaps, you’d carried the resentments toward your birthparents, for giving you up, and your adoptive parents, to keeping the truth from you, but, as you got older, and started your own family, you’d, realized, that given the situations of your past, all those adults did what they thought was, best for you, and, you’d become, grateful, for having everything that you have in life…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Adoption, Awareness, Because of Love, Childhood, Choices, Connections, Cost of Living, Lessons, Letting Go, Life, Perspectives, Socialization, Things Left Behind, Values

In Love with Batik

Made a fool of himself, because he’d not gotten to know what sort of an attire the batik was! Translated…

On the weekends, the Taipei Main Station became a gathering place for the migrant workers. Seeing those Indonesian migrant workers put on their Batik (printed cloth, dyed with wax), I was reminded of thirty years ago, as I was, sent to Jakarta to work, I’d bought two suits, to be like the locals!

batik 的圖片結果a sample of the cloth…found online…

I’d found the prints that were, plainer, the colors, not so bright, and I’d felt very crisp, wearing the Batik. The only regret I have, was that I’d not, have the opportunities, to wear it out to show it off.

Back then, there were, more and more Indonesian trading companies set up in Taiwan. We are, a shipbuilding company, with a lot of clients, and, we’d gone to the airports, twice, or thrice per week to pick up our clients. And, shortly after, in order to fulfill the needs, China Airlines started having the no-transfer flights from Taipei, but, the flights arrive at eight at night. Here comes my chance, I can get off work, go home, take a shower, change into my Batik, and go pick up the clients.

And maybe, our skin color was lighter than the locals, that, it’d made us, stand out, that some of the locals would see us, and look back, and smile at us. Then, I’d, noticed, that there was, a female police officer by the gates, who’d looked at me, and smiled lightly. I can’t be uncourteous, I’d, nodded in acknowledgement toward her too, and smiled my gentleman’s smile. Then, after awhile, every time I arrived, she’d always, flashed that smile toward me, and sometimes, she would really be, grinning, ear to ear towards me. And, the female coworker close by would give her a nudge, encourage her to come and talk to me.

here’s a person, wearing batik, from online still…person wearing batik 的圖片結果

Then one day, as I’d, entered into the corridors, before I could stand up straight, I saw her, walking straight toward me, and I can tell, she was, blushed. My heart rac’ed a bit, but, I’d, warned myself, getting sent to Indonesia is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for work, NOT for romance. I have a beautiful wife, a cute son at home, this, is unacceptable.

That female officer walked toward me, said lightly, “Sir”.

Wow, she spoke Chinese.

She’d gotten closer to me, and said, very lightly to me, “Can you, not wear the pajamas, to the airports?”

So, this, is something that’s, interesting about culture, because you’re, in a different culture, and, the way they dress, is different than what you’re used to, and like this man had, bought the batik, which was originally supposed to be used a pajamas, and he’d, worn it out…cultural differences, is what we all need to, watch out for when we enter a different country from our own!

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Keep the Love Flowing

The cycle of kindness, also rolls down continually, from one person, to the next, we need more stories like these, especially at this day and age! Translated…

The rain came pouring down on my exercise walk, I’d rushed into the breakfast shops to hide out, the shop owner’s mother in her seventies ushered me in, and she’d, taken out a yellow raincoat from the closets, for me to put on, her act of kindness had, warmed up my heart.

As the rain slowly dissipat4ed, as I was, about to, return the raincoat, she’d started telling me the funny things that happened to her while she was on a trip to the eastern side of the island. A couple of years ago, she’d gone to Hualien to travel during the New Year’s holidays with her family, and, the trip was a spur of the moment thing, and, she’d only worn the short sleeves and shorts, and, the cold fronts made everybody shiver, and so, they can only, run back into the cars to hide, they’d not gone anywhere.

And, a woman who was standing at the side of the road saw, she’d immediately gone home, brought a ton of clothes for them to choose from, waited until the seven, eight adults and children had, selected the thick coats and smiled and said their thank yous, they’d wanted to ask her address, so they can send the clothe back, but, the woman turned them down. She’d told them, that her kids are all grown and lived elsewhere, that the clothes were just, taking up space in her home. And, every time after that, as the family saw the clothes, they’d always, smiled on it, and, remembered the kindness from the woman, who’d given them the coats to wear.

In order to keep the love flowing, the breakfast shop also gathered some donated clothes for the comers to borrow, other than keeping the shop connected with the local communities, it’s, a way of repaying the woman for her kindness. As I’d heard, I thought, maybe I can write this tale down, or maybe, by chance, that kindhearted woman that the family met in Hualien will see, that her kindness had become, a cycle already.

And so, this, is how some random act of kindness had touched so many lives, and, by passing the kindness to the strangers that came to the breakfast shop, the owner is keeping the kindness that was shown to her and her family flowing, and we need more stories like this in the world we live in right now!

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