Category Archives: Connections

Caring for the Elderly Who Live Alone, Mei Had Been Delivering the Meals for Five Years to Date

Here’s some, good news, to lighten everything UP, in spite, of how everything ELSE had gone to H-E-L-L here!  The kindness, the heart of this woman who’d delivered the meals as she hoped to bring some light into others’ lives, truly amazing!  Off of the Newspapers, translated…

Mei who retired from the office of UBus heard that the Chiayi Christian Hospital is recruiting crewmembers to make the meal deliveries, and she’d entered in; in five years she’d been making the meal deliveries, she’d also, recruited her loved ones to join in too.  She told, the meals we deliver not just gives the elderly persons a meal, but also, the warmth of our greetings to them.

At age sixty-five, Mei told, that as she’d gone to make the deliveries of the meals to the elderly who were in their homes, and some were bedridden, and with the hardships in their household economics, that’s what drove her to want help.

At first, she’d only made the supper deliveries on Wednesday evenings with a senior volunteer with her, then, she took on the entire chain, the lunches and suppers from Monday through Saturday, fifteen packed lunches, and eighteen suppers.  Mei told, some of the elders lives alone, with no children around them, and they don’t live in an environment that’s convenient enough, they truly needed the assistance from the outside world.

the woman, delivering the meal to an elderly woman, photo courtesy of UDN.com

Mei also pulled her friends onboard the volunteer meal deliver crews, to date, she’d gotten five more partners onboard.

she said, a lot of the elders don’t go out, they don’t have many friends either, and they’d looked forward to seeing the volunteers, because the volunteers not just made the meal deliveries, the volunteers would greet them, to chit chat.  And there are the elders who are guarded toward outsiders.  She’d used her time, her patience, her kindness, to deliver the meals to them, and now, they’re all friends.  She said, even though, she’s a nobody, she still hoped to bring some warmth, using her means, giving the world some positive, energies.

And, this is how powerful ONE is!  This is only a woman, who’d started in the meal delivery crews, and in her delivering the meals, she’d noted the needs of the elderly who required this service, and she’d reached out to them, pulled her families, friends, relatives onboard the program, spreading the kindness to others in her life, touching not just those whom she’d delivered the meals to, but also, helped those who volunteered alongside her, to know the importance, of giving to others as well.

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Filed under A Cycle of Kindness, Connections, Kindness Shown, Life, News Stories, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, Stories of Hope

Seeing the Hope in the Life that’s, Not Going, Well…the Bus Driver Who’d Greeted the Student Every Morning with a Smile, the Student: He Saved My Life

Sometimes, all it takes, is those words, “hello”, “how are you today?”, to save a life…the act of kindness from the bus driver, something positive, off of the Newspapers, translated…

The bus driver, Kang in Taichung had been working as a bus driver for six years, and this is the fourth time he’d been awarded the Golden Transport Award”, and the words he’d most frequently said to his passengers are, “careful, hold on, the bus is about to start”, there was a student who wrote, told that he had been overwhelmed with the academic that he felt upset, but the driver had greeted the student with smiles in the morn when he got on, and it’d, lifted up his moods, and changed his, life, “he saved my life!”  Kang told, treating my passengers as my friends, I drive the “Happiness Bus” every day for work.

There are a total of eighteen bus companies in Taichung, about 1,500 drivers hired, there were 8,500 rounds; the head of traffic department of the city of Taichung, Yeh told, that recently, there’d been the major accidents and the bad services, but, most of the drivers are all very, hard working, as they go out.

the driver, passing along something positive to his passengers, photo courtesy of UDN.com

The driver from Tong-Lien Bus Company, Kang believed, that caring is in everyday life.  He’d made the example of how as a handicapped passenger was riding on his bus, he’d taken three minutes to help the individuals buckle their wheelchairs in, to keep them safe and secure, and it’d decreased the time for them to get onto the bus, and normally, the other passengers would not rush him to drive off, instead, they’d tell him, “no worries, take your time”, showing him the kindness too.

Kang started driving the buses six years ago, and there was a commuting student who’d written him, told him that he’d been overwhelmed with the pressures of school, but as he saw him greeting him with smiles, that gave him some hope in his life; in his letter, the student wrote, “Since I met you, I’d been trying to change myself, in the future, I will, strive for being the worker with the best attitude”, “You had not only changed my attitude toward life, you’d, saved my life too on that day.  After so much time has passed, I still can’t forget how warmly you’d, greeted me that morning.”

Kang said, that he’d driven his bus, with the mindset of “I’m operating the Happiness Bus”, and didn’t expect the cycle of kindness that’s started from him.  He’d told, as he’d begun working as a bus driver, his families worried that he may be tiring himself out, but he believed, that he’s paid, just as well as the regular nine-to-five office workers, and enjoyed the interactions with his customers, and, as he was awarded the “Golden Transport” by the Department of Transportation, he saw how proud his father was of him, he was really happy, that “I didn’t let my father down”.

And so, this, is how this driver spread the positive energies he felt in his work, to others around him, and because he carried such a positive attitude around him, those around him, those whom he came to interact with daily, are all going to be, affected by his positive attitude that he carried toward his own, work, and he’d, spread the cycle of kindness out to others.

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Filed under A Cycle of Kindness, Connections, In the Workplace, Life, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, Stories of Hope, Values, Work Ethics

Using the Article of an Old Friend to Remember Him, Who’d Been, Gone

Ways to keep those whom we loved and lost with us, at all, times…the way this individual commemorate her/his friend who’d passed on, translated…

After a friend passes away, what means would you use, to, remember her/him?

Before my friend died from his illness, he’d, already, exhausted all the treatment options, the doctor suggested that he check into the hospice, to help him go through this final passage of his life.  The day before he passed on, he’d texted me while he’s still lucid, “I’m not crying wolf this time, this time it’s for real!”, I’d felt unwilling, and asked, “Are you afraid?”, he’d responded without any hesitations, “no!”, I’m thinking that it was heaven who’d given him that extra a year and a half to prepare himself, so during the time when he was diagnosed to this, final passage, I’d felt, that he’d, accepted his own, fate.

I was like a companion who saw him off on a ride, stood by the platforms with the steam engines running, watching that train about to depart, giving off the steams.  And, just as it’d happened, the conductor finally called aloud using that whistle, told all the travelers, to, get, onboard.  His final message was, “The time is here, do take care, god speed!”, I’d read these words of his right before I got o work, not greeted him like I usually had, “You still alive?”.  And although, I’d gotten used to his not writing me back, it’d still, worried me a little bit.

in memoriam of…

photo from online

Before I head home, a friend told me sorrowfully, that he’d already, gone on that ride.  I got home at night, sat at my desk, sorting through my own, emotions.

He’d submitted the articles regularly, I’d used his pseudonym, found the article’s he’d written online, read the passages of how tried he’d been eight years ago raising his children up, also read up on how his mindset altered as he got diagnosed……and it was like I was holding that conversation again with him then.

Ever since, I’d always looked forward to the half an hour on Friday before I got off work, as I’d started using that thirty minutes, make a cup of coffee for myself, then, head online, to find an article written by him, like he was still in the office, chatting with me, right before we were to, clock out, quietly, I’d, heard him share the goings on of his life, to review over the connection we once shared.

The world does not stop turning as someone we know dies, but, we are able, to use our own ways, to make sure those who cared about who’d passed, are still with us every day of our lives.  And, every week, the half an hour I have with my friend on Friday, always brought the surprises to me, not knowing which article of his I was going to read up on, would I smile, or, sigh.  No matter, this thirty minutes before I clock out from work, is that setting sun, full of the warmth of the radiant colors of sunset.

And so, this is how we can, keep someone whom we cared a whole lot about, after s/he is gone in our lives, by finding ways to remember them, the things that reminded us of those whom we cared about who are, already, gone, to keep those we loved and cared about a whole lot still with us, even after they’re, gone.

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Filed under Connections, Lessons, Life, On Death & Dying, Perspectives, Properties of Life, the Finality of Life

GPS for Gays

Let me see, who’s in my vicinity that might be, interested, in hanging out with me here……….oh, I see that blinker, I’ll go there then!  Translated…

The first year of iPhone for me was 2007, my very first smartphone was Sony Xperia from 2012, the prevalence of smartphones in Taiwan back in 2014 got to seventy-percent of the population.  The smartphones combined with the GPS system, with the friendship apps were born, made the physical bodies into geography.  This turned the friendships of gale males upside down.  But, before-Smart to SmartPhones, the transitional phases, there’d been, a very short-lived website: GapMap.  The site is active during the “with the needs, but when the SmartPhones weren’t prevalent enough” back in 2010.  I was still not yet into my doctoral program, still lived with my boyfriend at a suite high up in a building.  My desk was in the midst of that penthouse, and, perhaps, due to the fengshui, I’d not, opened my field of vision, nor my life, wide, enough yet.

One day, my good friend, Doobe told me, that there was a website, GapMap, that I could see those who are…close to where I live—I’d tried register online, the image was like GoogleMap, but, with every person a dot, like the tacks on a map.  And, passing the Fuhe Bridge, there were, the highly inhabited region of Zhonghe and Yonghe, living up to its name of “first class warzone”, the map needed to be maximized, then, maximized, again, to see the gaps between the people.  There was a headshot like a sticker that’s, stuck on my head, I can’t remove it—looking at the face more closely, it seemed like that gay man on the twelfth floor, the one with the French dog.

something that’s like…this! found online

The Fengshui programs told that if the walls aren’t with light, our minds will always and forever be, closed.  And yet, there’s, only limited living spaces in the city.  I’d turned on the GayMap daily, like I was, opening the window, to see a wider, world, to resolve the problems of fengshui of my wall over my desk.  It’s just, that the location of the GayMap GPS, it’s based off of the individuals’ needs, I’d often seen Elvin, Dong, from someplace, hanging themselves above the Hsintien Creek often.  From upstream to downstream, the heads floated, like the ships of an ocean, very interesting, and malicious.  Looked like the people afloat, actually, they’d, swum out of the Red Sea, that was, a way of appearing too.  I’d not cared about cheating a lot, but, going north to south, south, to north, scanning from the origins of the creek, to the exit, it seemed, that I’d, immersed, completely, in water then.

My “field” discoveries ended, with the coming on of the SmartPhones, the friendship apps automatically set up the priorities for me based off of my geographical location in relation to others’, from near to far off.  There’s only a limit to the number of people whom you can see on this trial version of the app, there’s a dense population of gay people in Yonghe, I can’t get my cursor out of Anhe and Shuanghe Boroughs at all—the hands of the goddess that’s blocked up the Monkey King of the digital era.  My friend, Doobe who is out of the engineering majors, told me, that this isn’t difficult, there’s the false GPS system software.  We can be physically in Yonghe, but our minds, Thailand, before we travel abroad, we’d already, set up our location at the hotel we are to check in abroad, and, gotten along with those around us virtually, and, as we physically arrived we are, already, well, connected.  I’m completely taken now, the desks, the walls, and now, my imagination, became, limited.

And now, iPhone got to the fourteenth generation already, and, I’d still gotten reminded time to time of GapMap.  Maybe, it’s more like that gap, opening up this tiny hole in the times.   Can drag it with my hand, or, imagined a false location, I’d wanted to know the gay population in Zhoushan Island too, if there are passionate boys like me in Hai Phong, Vietnam, if there are Dongs who are like me, holding my location above a lake in Vieng Chan, Cambodia………………

So, this is how the invention of the internet, of programs like GoogleMaps, help people stay, connected, especially in this day and age, when face-to-face contact is next to impossible, especially due to the outbreak and all of that, we longed to connect, establish that sense of hey, I know you, “friend”, let’s hang out online, and see what sort of troubles we can get ourselves into, yada, yada, yada.  And these apps aren’t that bad, if you use them in the correct means, if you only use them for the sole purpose of socializing, and connection.

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Filed under Connections, Homosexuality, Interactions Shared with the World, Interpersonal Relations, Life, Observations, Properties of Life, The Observer Effect, Utilizing the Internet, White Picket Fence

Rewriting the Scripts of Her Own, Life

The twists and turns of this woman’s life, that’s led her down that hard road, and now, she’s, finally able to live better, with a brand new love in her life here, after her husband back home cheated on her with another, the story of a migrant worker, translated…

We’d hired two separate nurse’s aides to help look after our mother, one from Indonesia, the other, from, Vietnam.  They were both amazing cooks, kind and gentle, like our families, we’d, gotten connected and close with them both.

Li who’s from Indonesia was only twenty-one, with her parents, her husband, and a son back home, she’d come to Taiwan to find a better way to provide for her families, I’d seen her on the phones, wiping her tears away, it’d impacted me to see, how young she was, and she’d, already, tasted the bitterness of being separated from her, loved ones.

On the weekends, everybody returned home, Li would fix the dishes from her home country for us to taste, sour, and spicy, crisp and appetizing, those who loved the spicy foods will totally love it. What was impressive was, she’d learned to cook the Taiwanese foods well, and my mother had nothing but good things to say about her, she was full of confidence, as she’d told us, that after she returned to Vietnam, she will operate a small diner, to take the business of the Taiwanese tour groups especially.  Li’s husband, every time as her payday came, would rush her to wire the amounts back home to him, I’d thought, that she needed to prepare herself, and advised that she saved some of what she’d earned here in an account of her own, to not wire everything back home to her husband, in case.  “It’s fine, I trust my husband, he is planning on building a home for us, he needed the amount to buy the lot and the materials to build up our home.”  Other than buying the coffees, the magazines, she’d not spent any other amounts, and what’s she saving up for?

illustration from UDN.com

As her term is about to finish, Li’s heart is already home, she’d looked forward to going home to the families, and we all, wished her the best.  But not long afterwards, she’d called us up crying, her husband had long betrayed her, started a new family with his new love, and gambled all the amounts she’d sent back to him to nil.  She’d given everything for family, and in return, she’d, gotten, beaten down, bruised, she’d become, so uprooted, not known what she’s to cling on to to keep on going in her own life.

She’d ended her marriage with her heart broken to pieces, the kids are placed with her own mother, and six months later, Li returned back to Taiwan again, started working at a factory unit as an operator, the factory was close to my home, and she’d come visit us on the weekends.  “Treat here as your own family home then.” I’d recalled the experts’ words listening to the pains of others, accompanying them as they pass through the hardest parts of their lives, that’s, the best sort of console to those in need.

I’d told her, “life is made up of ups and downs, what you’d weathered through, will eventually become experiences to you, do not let the sorrows, the heartbreaks, to kidnap you forever, rather than holding a grudge and giving yourself a difficult time, just, learn to, accept it.”

My neighbor, Mr. Jiang who’d come to my house often to chat, would bump into Li every now and then, he’d lost his wife, she’d, lost her, marriage, they’d shared that common loss of love, they’d looked to each other for that common support of shared experiences of life, but Li’s failed marriage made her fear it.  We’d encouraged her to let go of the past, to pursue her own, happiness.

As Mr. Jiang accompanied her patiently as she slowly healed up, the two married two years afterwards, and because he didn’t have any children of his own, he’d wanted to get Li’s children to live in Taiwan, to give one another a complete, home.  Li’s scripts of life had been rewritten by her, and she’s now, living her, brand new, life.

So this, is how this woman weathered through the trials of her failed marriage of her husband cheating on her, divorcing her, and finally finding that one true love, with a man here, and this still just showed, that fate is kind, to all who wait, that eventually, things will work out, the way it’s, supposed to.

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Filed under Because of Love, Connections, Fate, Infidelities/Being Unfaithful, Life, Perspectives, The Fate of a Woman, Wake Up Calls

Connected with the Books, the Affinities, Continued on

How interesting, the affinities worked, how we don’t even realize it yet, but, in our futures, we just might (just might), get, reconnected, with someone we’d, lost contact with, but is, thinking of, translated…

One day after I was retired, Manto called, other than the chit chats, she’d inquired, if I recalled a boy who’s nickname was “Swallow” who was in my class, that if she could, give him my number or not?  Those faded out to gray memories, suddenly, became bright again.  He was my teaching assistant for my Chinese class, very cleanly looking, a perfect, gentleman, interacted with me very well.

turned out, that Swallow, with whom I’d lost contact with for long, had that smooth ride in life in school, and in his career path too, got married, had children, is, a member of the “Success” group of life.  As he’d settled down in his life, he’d start4ed, searching for me in the high school social networks, and the internet, wanted to, reconnect.  A couple of years passed, and he’d not, found me still, as he was giving up, he’d found a blog that’s mentioned my book, he’d contacted the owner of the blog, and got reconnected with me.

On the day we were reunited, Swallow took his wife and young, got up early, set out from Taoyuan, headed to his hometown in Nantou, to find the yearbooks, then, rushed, all the way to Taichung.  Opened up the yearbook, we’d started, identifying the individuals in the photographs then.  This group of guys, are now, working in their, separate fields, I’d, silently said a prayer to wish each and every one of them, well.

The meet up was joyous, we had a ton of things to talk about of the past, but, eventually, it came time for us to part, we’d agreed to meet up again some other time, Swallow drove in the nights, back to Taoyuan.  He’d driven four hundred kilometers in a day.  As I watched him leave, I’d lifted my head upward, and gave a thanks, how blessed I must be, to have, a student who kept me in his heart all these, years.

I’d taught Manto’s class on my second year of teaching, I’d married and had children, she’d brought the baby clothes on behalf of my class to give to me, she’s smiling, and gentle, and courteous, it’d made my husband’s family have nothing but good things to say of her.  As she graduated, she’d drifted up north to work, and, I’d not left the small town.  The two of, lost contact, like two ships, adrift, in the different paths of the seas, finding our separate docks to enter into, to depart from, to find shelters in, to drift away from.  And yet, no matter how many years had passed, I still see her in my mind, smiling, on.

Ching-Han is my best friend for decades of time, I’d had to go and visit and stay with her every time I’d headed up north to Taipei to visit.  That time, she’d stacked up her newly published book in her house, told me, “if you have students or classmates who’d visited your home, do give her/him one volume.”  Ching-Han is passionate, and very personable, the classmates, the students, all loved, hanging out in her, home.

Manto and Ching-Hang were neighbors for long, because of Manto’s daughter getting engaged, she’d taken the pastries to give to the writer.  They’d chatted for a bit, before Manto left, Ching-Hang went back into the den, took a book out to give to her, Manto looked down at the book, saw the name of the writer, so thrilled, “She was my high school instructor whom I’d wanted to, reconnect with for a very long time!  You know her?”

“Searching all over the world, and, finding it, in, plain sight!”, that’s how, affinity worked.  Maybe you don’t believe it yet, but, you will one day, eventually.

And so, this is, so, coincidental, I mean, what ARE, the chances, that this woman met up with this writer who’s friend IS her high school instructor whom she’d wanted to call up, but had, lost, contact with?  That just showed, how strange these, affinities worked, and, sometimes, you don’t even realize this, but, you’re, already connected with someone whom you want to call up, but lost, contact with, because that, is how affinity, work, in the, strangest, ways.

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Filed under Connections, Interpersonal Relations, Life, Memories Shared, Perspectives, Properties of Life, Values

Friends for, Life

Being blessed with someone who offers you the assistance you need when you need it, who’d, become, a sort of a, guardian angel in your life…translated…

Back in the eighties the interests for the loans were as high as eight-percent, earning only $3k per month back then, I’d, gotten to buy the million dollar estate with the down payment of only $150,000N.T.s; took out two total mortgages, and gritted my teeth, to make my monthly payments, I only had a couple of dollars for my meals then.  Several years later, the housing costs rose to an all-time high, the banks told us we could take out an second mortgage, with the interest of just thirteen-percent, that this will reduce the monthly costs, although this was, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but, we didn’t have any money left on us.

My younger siblings were all in school then, after I’d married, my parents didn’t get my wages, my own families are tried hard enough economically already, they could not afford to help me out.  At this time, a coworker who’d transferred recently to my office at work, who was about to retire in just a year, after learning my hardships, without another word, loaned me $450,000N.T.s, to pay up the high interest loan I’d taken out for my home.  I wasn’t related to her, and we’d only, just met, her kindness, I shall, never forget for the, rest of, my life.

And, this older woman became a guardian angel to me in life, learned that I was having a hard time making my ends meet, she’d found an assortment of reasons to go to the grand meals with her, she’d packed a huge red envelope when I had my children, and, as I needed the remodeling of my home, she’d called up the skilled workers whom she knew, so I can get the discounted rate, when I was having legal troubles, she’d had her own lawyer, to help me out.  Bought the books, which helped me get certified in the exams, guided me to earn an equivalency degree while I worked, she’d helped me have a smooth ride in work.

illustration from UDN.com

After she’d moved abroad, I’d written her letters, and told her of how my life was, how my children were growing up, starting out on their careers, starting their own, families, the births of my own, grandchildren too; I’d thought, that she may have forgotten as she grew older, but, she’s always made the international calls, and wrote me back.  As she’d come back to Taiwan to visit her families and relatives, she’d not forgotten me, bought an assortment of new toys, gifts, with the names of us as recipients, to bless us with her, love.

We are thirty years apart, and raised in completely opposite realms, I’m from a poverty stricken background, a kid who’d, come up north to make a life for myself, she was born with the silver spoon, with the maids, the servants at her beck and call.  I can’t ever, pay her back for her friendship, can only, take her around the country to visit the places whenever she’d made her trips back.  As I’d received the calls from abroad from her, it’d always, made me cry, growing up in my mother’s physical and verbal disciplines, I’d never, felt the love, I’d missed her, and loved her, like she was, my blessing in life, other than giving me the encouragements, she’d also, reminded me, that I can ask her for help in anything, to treat her like she was, my, family.

All the words, it can’t, describe the kindness of this wonderful friend, how she’d, become, my best, blessing in life, looking after me, helping me, made my life, rich with her, presence.

And so, this, is how you feel, so grateful for this friend’s assistance in your times of needs, and, having a friend like this, sure is, a blessing, and you are, more than, blessed by her in your, life.

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Filed under Connections, Life, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, Values

Singing with the Masks, On

The connections, we must keep, with our own home countries, no matter where we may drift to, to have the supports from our brothers and sisters, translated…

A dozen years ago during Mid-Autumn Festival holidays, under the push of my girlfriends, I, who’s tone-deaf, decided to sign up for the New Immigrants Care Association’s signing competitions.

Flipping through the song book of all the oldies, can’t find a song I know I Chinese.  As I’m stressed out, I suddenly recalled my days of work in Canton, the broken Cantonese I’d picked up back then, why don’t I, sing that theme from that soap, “There’s Love All Around Us”, the song that’s been performed by Liza Wang Ming Chuen? 

Because there’s only a short time until I’m due to perform, I’d taken advantage of the time when I’m riding out on my scooter, sung underneath my mask, thinking, that nobody will hear me, no matter how out-of-tune I am.

on the day of that, karaoke sing-off! Photo from online

On the day of the competitions, although I had the lyrics down pat, but my voice was cacophonous, thankfully for my girlfriends, who’d given me a purple dress to put on, and I’d added a scarf to make up for my lacking in singing skills, plus all the other competitors will kind enough to let me win, and the judges were, hard-of-hearing, I’d gotten the best dressed award!

Thinking back to it all, it was, like a, dream

So, this, is how you stay connected to your fellow countrymen, by getting involved in the activities, doing what you all loved doing together, singing, and it didn’t matter if you were out of tune, the important thing is that you’d found the support from others who were from your home country to connect to, living in this country you’d moved to live in.

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Filed under Connections, Life, Observations, Overcoming Obstacles, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life

A Renewed Friendship, from Retaking the College Entrance Exams

How the fates separated the two of you from before, and somehow, reconnected you two later on in your, lives…translated…

“A river runs by my door, with the hills out back………” there’s nothing that Jing and I loved more, than to climb onto the rooftops, to count the clouds, and sang together, this nursery rhyme.  There is the Daja Creek before the village where we live, with the Basien Mountain behind, with the hot springs, called the beauty sauna, birthing out the friendship we’d come to share.

We were acquainted, even before we were, born, our two mothers, during their afterbirth month long recovery, supported each other with breastmilk for two girls who had a ton of, appetites.  Climbing the trees, to get the bird nests, catching those frogs in the rain, fishing for those tiny shrimps in the rivers, and, watering the holes on the ground where crickets dwelled, the children in the mountains aren’t differentiated by genders, we all played in the wilderness, we are, wild, just the same!

We were in the same class in school, played together, either that I take my bowl of food to her home to eat, or, she’d, taken the empty bowl to my home, to get some food in, we’d, lived, next door to one another, there’s no need to, differentiate.  I have a younger sister by three years, she, a younger brother, by two years, both were, tag-alongs, tried to follow us everywhere.  And, escaping from being tagged along became, the afternoon game in the summertime of, we-spy.

We had fun in the days attending the schools in the mountains, by third grade, Jing told me that her father was transferred by the police station to work down south, where is south, can we get there by walking?  I’d handed her a slip of paper with my address written on it, told her to, write to me when she arrived in the south.  The two of us, at age ten, held our hands tightly, with the tears that won’t stop flowing out, pinky promised, to never forget each other.  So, that’s what, goodbye, tasted like, you will always, remember that certain someone, that makes your heart ache.

By third grade we’d started, writing to one another, with the phonetic spellings and the drawings, like the exchange diaries, we kept writing to one another until our final years of middle school.  Once, a letter with “return to sender” came: no person by this name.  Jing had, vanished.

The letters that got returned again, and again, made me tasted the bitterness of goodbye once more, and this time, we didn’t even get to, say goodbye.  In my schooling career, I’d never met one like her, this best friend of mine from childhood, she was, one of a, kind.

I’d not gotten into the university of my choice, and I’d, stepped down, and started in an all women’s, community college, I’d, stayed for a whole year in the cram schools then, and could, NO longer have my father, pay for my, tuition any longer.

Didn’t get into the ideal school of my choosing, didn’t get in the dorms, can I be, blessed with, any, worse, luck?  I’d found a lower bunk in the army retirement village of a room with, three other, roommates then, the charges are $1,100 per month, without the utilities.  After I’d, set down the things I’d packed, the bunk above mine, became, occupied as well.

“Hi, I’m in the first group, nice to meet you”, I’d, extended my arms out of, friendship.  She’d turned around in a hurry, “oh, hello I’m in the second class, please to meet your, acquaintance!”, then, our eyes locked and we’d, stared, and we’d started, hollering at the same time, “it’s, Y-O-U!, where the HELL did you go?”  she’d fisted me, and I’d, beaten her.  The second semester of my last year of middle school, we’d moved too, and so, the letters she’d sent me, weren’t, received, and now, we’d gotten, even.

We both, took the retests, and, came to the northern part of the island, and, became, roommates, we’d, started, living together.

How strange the affinity is here, the two of you parted from before, and yet, by fate’s hands, you’d, met back up again, and, you are going to, hang on, tighter this time, to your, friendship, to never lose contact with each other again!

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Filed under Connections, Fate, Interpersonal Relations, Life, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life

A Vietnamese Girl

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

how these strangers became, like families to one another!

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.

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Filed under A Cycle of Kindness, College Life, Connections, Interpersonal Relations, Kindness Shown, Life, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life