Category Archives: Friendships

Seeing You Off

The final passage, remembering the woman whom you’d come to know, as your, mother-in-law, from your father-in-law’s second marriage, translated…

Sitting silent, in the back of the church, on the wooden bench, stared at the white coffin, paved with flowers in the shrine, hearing the pastor slowly, told of your, eighty-two years of colorful life; as the pastor described you as being straightforward, generous, it’d, made me cry, and I’d, lifted up my head and smiled, started recalling the thirteen years of friendships we’d, come to share in life.

It was a snowy day in April in Norway, my husband who’d, planned to be single for the res of his life, drove me in his car, and, came to your door, my father-in-law, and his second wife, you, immediately led us in, and, in a panic, started, preparing the snacks, the coffees to serve to me, an unwelcomed guest.  Back then I wasn’t, fluent in Norwegian, I’d spoken in fluent German with my father-in-law, and, it’d, made you, who lived in the U.S. for over a decade object, that you had difficulties understanding us, and, we’d, realized that we had, excluded you, and immediately, we’d, both started switching to talking in English then.

On Christmas Eve that first year of our marriage, you’d, burst the hopes of your three daughters, sons-in-law, and nine grandchildren’s dreams of family union, you’d come to our home, and, baked for us, the traditional Norwegian pork ribs, meat balls, and sausages, and prepared seven types of pastries.  And, as lucky as I in the first time, I’d, scooped up, the only almond, hidden inside the rice pudding, and received, that special award for piggy almond candy.  Underneath the Christmas tree with the Norwegian flag, were the gifts, stacked up, you, my father-in-law, my husband and I, the four of us, sat around the tree, and started, tearing open the presents, the excitement, the joys, it’d, filled up the house.

The summer that my mother, second aunt, and nephew visited Norway, you’d not just, invited them, you’d also, found your youngest who’s my age, along with your young granddaughter, who’s around the same age as my nephew as company, you’d, set up a wooden board in your yard, with the balloons, and started, shooting the darts.  And even though, it’d rained that day, we’d, still, had a ton of fun; to this very day, my mother still talked of the cherries, the raspberries, and currants you grew in your own yard.

On your seventy-fifth, because your body was, ailing, you’d, delayed your birthday celebration in May, but you’d, not told us flat out, only asked, if we’re available to show up in June.  And, as my husband and I arrived, I’d found, that it was, a family birthday celebration your daughter, son-in-law, and grandson had set up for you; we’d, not brought anything, and we were, embarrassed, but you’d laughed and told, that it was because you didn’t want any presents, that was why, you’d, not told us it was to celebrate your birthday.

illustration from UDN.com圖/錢錢

2017 was, especially cruel to you.  First, your best friend who lived in the U.S. died in the spring at the age of over ninety, several months later, it was, my father-in-law, the second love of your life, passed away, in the autumn.  On the evening my father-in-law passed, you, me, and my husband, the three of us, stayed close by his side, until he’d, swallowed his, last breath.  You’d, dragged your, deteriorated health, your, slow steps home; the following day, we took you to the funeral home, to set up my father-in-law’s final affairs, you’d spoken of how you’d, not slept through the night, that you’d, paced around in the living room; even as your kids and grandkids were there, to accompany you, it still, didn’t, take away from your losing your husband.

Within two years after my father-in-law’s funeral, I sat here, in this, same church, heard the same pastor, hosting your funeral.  This pastor was the one who’d, conducted the wedding ceremony of you and my father-in-law thirty years back, he’d retired since, but, two years ago, he’d, made an exception for my father-in-law, spoken on his funeral, and this time, for you too.  You marrying my father-in-law, had once cast a huge shadow for my husband’s not introducing me to his own mother, but, for the eighteen years, the three of you had, died, and all the displeases of the past are now, gone, with the wind.  I’d heard of the news of your death as I’d returned from Egypt, I’d, come, to see you off, I’m so grateful for your kindness toward me, even more grateful, that you were, a “stand-in mother-in-law” to me, giving my families and I, such, wonderful, memories.

And so, this, is on how strong the connections of strangers who became, families are, and this still just showed, how if you’re kind to your daughters or sons-in-law, they will, reciprocate, and love you like you were, their own, parents too.  This is quite rare, to see a stepmother-in-law and a daughter-in-law get along so very well together.

Leave a comment

Filed under Connections, Expectations, Family Dynamics, Family Matters, Friendships, Lessons, Letting Go, Marriages, Memories Shared, Observations, Parenting/Parenthood, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Story-Telling, the Finality of Life, Values

Regarding the Extracurricular & the Camps

Getting involved, in non-school related activities here, translated…

My youngest was headed out early in the morn, because the camp from her major was starting, as a freshman, she is very enthusiastic of all the activities hosted by her major.  I remembered, that, we’d, headed out before light for her last thing too, in the nearly zero degree icy cold floor of the CKS Memorial Hall, rolled around on the floorboards, it was her salsa club of her high school, she was responsible for coordinating a “recital of her younger schoolmates.”

My youngest started dancing from her kindergarten years to date, dance had become, her favorite.  It’s just, that her school teachers mentioned how if she’d worked too hard on her “hobby”, it may, cause her grades to slip, but she’d, asked us, not to worry, “the extracurriculars are important rites of passage, just let them give it all they got for this!”  but, I’d, found my daughter, with that lack, of enthusiasm, turned out, she had, dropped her activities, because she’s still, trying to figure out what she’s good at academically, she’d told us, “I’m more than certain about dance, and anything else, is not good enough for me.”  Until her final year in high school, she’d, transferred from the sciences, to the social sciences, and now, she’s, in the major she has great interests in, communications, and, she’d, danced every day, and now, she’d, gone out early in the morn, for her summer camp activities.

查看來源圖片the assortments of activities, not related to the academic…photo from online

My eldest and I, were both into the extracurriculars in our high school years, I’d, gotten involved in two groups, one was for vanity, the band, the other, school paper.  Being in band, I’d, played the trumpet, without much talent, just so I can, put on that marching uniform that made me shine on flag day, and, walking across the podium before the President’s Office.  As for the school paper, it was, where my heart lies, I’d, let my own, writing talents, poured out.  I’d recalled, how hard it’d been that I had, worked, on every topic, how I’d, gone to the shopping marts, to find the old photos, to do the interviews, and published my not-mature-enough writings, wanted to pour all of my doubts of the world, my feeling lost for my future, along with my dissatisfaction toward school, all out in the open.

I can no longer recall how the periodical had, turned out, but, my grades, slipped, and, that became, a F-A-C-T.

I’d found a university that I really don’t hate to study in, but the major I was in, it wasn’t anywhere near my interest profile.  And, by then, editing the periodicals, no longer, satisfied my mind, maybe back then, love was, taken up half of my mind.

And yet, because I’d, lost love, I’d, decided, to go for the president of the club, to let myself, embrace this major I’d, found myself to be in, tired, to learn to be a, leader.  And so, the memories of my college years, were revolved around the freshmen orientations, the camps, the seminars, the book fairs, the competitions.  I recalled all the guest lecturers I’d invited, remembered all the shows we’d put on for the freshmen orientations, recalling that freshman ball we hosted, remembered the singing and skit competition I’d, set up, remembering being in the trainees of the officers of the clubs of the school too, along with how I continued being the team counselor as I went into my senior year.

I’d once not wanted to graduate, because I loved being a student too much.  And, the best memories of being a student, are from, the extracurricular activities, as we’d, entered into the groups on our own, there’s, too many connections there.  Like how I watched my eldest get too excited as she’d, started, editing the footage, like how I imagined my youngest happily, leading the freshmen, because she’s, finally, a sophomore.

查看來源圖片volunteer counts too!  Photo from online

Some had found their significant others in the extracurricular groups, like my eldest brother and sister-in-law.  A lot of people found what they truly loved, like my youngest and I.  Recently, I’d, edited a periodical of a bookstore, and, I’d, found my passions there, and that, was when I’d, recalled, this, was what I loved, doing back then.

And so, these extracurricular activities in college, they’d not, only enriched our schooling careers, but it may also, point us, toward the directions of our, future jobs too, and so, don’t be too worried, when your own young got too involved in their extracurricular activities, besides, the university years aren’t about making the grades, it’s about, discovering, who we are!!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Choices, College Life, Connections, Friendships, Hobbies/Pasttimes, Lessons, Life, Memories Shared, Observations, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, Socialization, Story-Telling

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!

2 Comments

Filed under A Cycle of Kindness, Awareness, Because of Love, Cause & Effect, Connections, Friendships, Inspirational Tales, Interactions Shared with the World, Interpersonal Relations, Kindness Shown, Lending a Helping Hand, Memories Shared, Observations, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, Stories of Hope, Story-Telling, Teaching by Example, The Education of Children, Translated Work, Trends

A Memory-Filled Garden

Translated…

On the lanai, the mother-of-pearl plant grew to the size of large emeralds, started, glowing.  The devil’s ivy, climbed all over the racks, as they pleased, and, no matter how I’d trimmed them down, they’d still, grew tall.  All of these plants were from my friends, seeing that they’re blossoming, and I’d recalled how my friend had passed; the grasses and the flowers would eventually, wither away, life is too brief.

A decade ago, I’d almost died too.  Back then, a car that came out of nowhere from my alley, it’d hit a student without a motorist’s license, his motorcycle flipped upwards from the ground, and, hit me hard, that I’d become unconscious, as I was about to head off to work.  I’d waken up in the emergency room, the young man told me, “had it not been that the motorcycle had released most of its power, skidding around on the ground, you couldn’t be as you are right now.”  But, I’m still covered with injuries, with the signs of a concussion too.

I’d limped, to my place which I’d rented for just one month, back then I’d thought, if I’d died, my belongings would naturally get spread to others.  Reexamining my own life, I’d have a clean conscience, no bad memories, just that I’d been living for just myself, left NO moving moments for others to savor, and so, my life wasn’t fulfilled, it could even be called impoverished.

And so, I’d started showing cares and concerns toward elderly whose limbs became stiff because of stroke, I’d flipped through the books for them, filled out the forms, and showed cares and concerns for their mental wellbeing.  Since then, I’d kept countless small pieces of potted plants, including the mother-of-pearl plant.  A friend had even invited me to her place, took me to her backyard, said to me proudly, “Take a stem of whatever you want, and plant it at your place!” her husband came out, and helped me picked, he’d pointed to the plant that was right before me, said, “This one, see how fat it is.”  We’d become like children, running to and fro, and, zoomed in on the easier to care plants, at age eighty, they were very energetic, their eyes glowed, and they filled up the garden with laughter.

And now, their house had already been remodeled, and the male head of the house had passed away for many years.  The crape myrtle, camellia, osmanthus, and Jamaican sunset, are all gone now, only the devil’s ivy, still showed a strong life force.

The friend who’d given me the Indian sedum had passed two years ago, looking at all my potted plants, the fun moments we’d had back then came flooding back.  I’d wanted to give him this beautiful garden view, but, instead, they’d helped me create this wonderful memory instead, only beauty surrounded their death, and no sorrows or sadness.

And so, there’s NO sadness, no sorrows, for the friend’s passing, there’s only the good memories that all of you had shared, what better way, to remember the love you’d felt for someone…

 and no, this was still not taken by me!!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Connections, Friendships, Interpersonal Relations, Life, Loss, Perspectives, Socialization

Walking Out of the Darkness After Losing My Marriage

The growth of a woman, translated…

My close friend, Hsin-Yi and two girlfriends’ floral shop opened, a few of us, their close friends, made the time, to give them the congratulations.

We saw how in the small space of the shop, there were so many colorful bouquets, potted flowers, and fashionable pots, plus the professional floral arrangements too, with the explanations of the concepts, it’d made us all happy for her, that she could, get from underneath the dark clouds of the loss of her marriage, and find her strength again.

Three years ago, after Hsin-Yi’s husband had an affair, she was in pain, but, for the sake, of giving her daughter a complete home, she’d decided, to put up with her husband’s bad behaviors, but in the end, she couldn’t save, this already shattered marriage of hers, and ended up divorcing her husband.

After her divorce, she took her five-year-old daughter, moved back in with her parents, other than helping with caring for her daughter, the family members would give her encouragements often.  Plus, her two girlfriends from college would often come by to say hi, have heart-to-hearts with her, hoped, that she could, get out, from under the failed marriage, to not get trapped by the depressive moods, and encouraged her, to make plans for herself, and her daughter’s sake as well.

Later on, Hsin-Yi and her two girlfriends decided to go into business together, the three of them decided to open up a floral shop.  Because Hsin-Yi had the working experiences as a wrapper at a floral shop from before, she’d naturally took up the work of packaging, selection of the flowers, as well as the designs for the pots, and the two of them were in charge of the finances and sales.

The three of them worked with the plans of opening up shop, their days were fulfilled, and, it’d ignited that sense of hope, in Hsin-Yi’s life again.

For the sake of gaining a wide variety of customers, as well as upping her own professionalism, six months before they’d opened for business, Hsin-Yi especially took lessons in how to make corsages and bouquets for the brides, hoped, that she could add to her own professionalism, to offer her customers more choices, and to give her daughter a bit more material wealth as well.

Hsin-Yi told me, that getting divorced is not scary, what’s scary was getting sucked, into the glooms of the divorce.  She’s grateful to her own family’s support, as well as her girlfriends’, giving her a lift in time, so she could get stronger, and, start again.

So, this, is with the support from her friend, that this divorcee had found herself again, and, having a social support system like this one is especially important, when you’re going through a major change in your life such as a divorce.

Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Cause & Effect, Choices, Cost of Living, Friendships, Life, Observations, Values, Women's Issues, Work Ethics

Besties

Translated…

His life can be stated, with the poem of the poet, Su from the Song Dynasty, it’d told of the ups and downs, the hardships he’d weathered through his whole life, or maybe, it’s a kind of an unreachable realm for him, but, gladly, in my life, I’d still had a couple of good friends who’d accompanied through the hardships.

Back in high school, we were, pounded, by the pressures of entrance exams, we’d had all our hair trimmed to two centimeters above our ears, put on the khaki shirts, the indigo skirts or trousers; back then, the biggest luxury of our lives, in going to the movie theaters on Saturdays, to see a few movies, then, rode out, on our bicycles fast, to Lily’s Ice Shop, and had a plate of shaved ice, with tomatoes.  Undoubtedly, this, is the best kind of relief we’d got, from working hard for the entire week.  Whether it was the worries of the teenage years, or the stale tastes of our youths, the unclear interactions with our peers, or the members of the opposite sex, or maybe, we’re all, troubled by which majors to pick up, and the plans of our futures, gladly, I’d had great friends who’d accompanied me, and just, lent me a helping ear.

All of these, long, forgotten pasts, as I’d watched the movie, “Besties”, they all came flooding back to my mind, although we’d lacked the characters’ fashionable and flashy lives, but, how we’d gotten each other’s backs is exactly the same as the characters in the movie.  In the laughter and the tears, not only was I able, to reminisce the purest kind of friendship between my besties and I, what’s more important was, right after the movie was over, I’d dialed up my besties, and, sent her the truest kind of care and concerns, and wished her well.

And so, you don’t know when you’ll be reminded of someone you lost touch with so very long ago, but, at the moment that you get reminded of that person, all the memories will come flooding back, and, you will call that best friend of yours up, and, you will, get reconnected, because, no matter how much time has passed, best friends will always have one another on their minds.

Leave a comment

Filed under Connections, Expectations, Friendships, Life, Properties of Life, Socialization, Story-Telling

Dinny Loves to Read, the United Nation of Friends

Translated…

Linking the two terms “happiness” and “hardship” together, Dinny was having troubles, reading aloud, but, it seemed that she loved the sentence so very much, stressed it several times…

Dinny sat, quietly, in a corner in the bookstore, flipping through the volumes of Indonesian books.  I couldn’t help, but called out to her, she lifted her head to look, and I’d took a photo of her, smiling at the camera.

My friends and I opened up a bookstore, with the theme of Southeast Asia called, “Radiant Times”, it had books in languages from Southeast Asia, including Indonesian.  All of these books, are prepared for the sakes of people like Dinny, who are from other countries who loved to read.

Dropped Out of School, Because of the Difficulties from Her Family

Dinny, who was from Cirebon in Java, Indonesia, had been outstanding in school since she was very young, always the top of her class.  But, unfortunately, after she’d graduated high school, something happened in her family, she’d had to give up on furthering her education and started working.

She’d worked in Jakarta for two years, at age twenty, Dinny, and her friends applied to Taiwan.  It’s work all the same, and she’d rather come here, where it’d paid more.  But, over millions of Indonesians came overseas to work, and, compared to areas such as Malaysia, or the Middle East with Islamic beliefs, Taiwan, with only a little over two hundred thousand Indonesian workers, is still the minority.

Dinny told me, that Middle East is very scary, there were often, female Indonesia workers who were murdered, and, the Indonesian government had already announced that they were going to stop sending female workers to Middle East in May already.  And, Malaysia, which shared the same culture with Indonesia, pays a lot less, compared to Taiwan, and, they’re not as friendly to the migrant workers either.

Although, Taiwan was often called, “the island of ghosts” by the online community, but, comparing Taiwan on the international front, it surely isn’t.

The Tastes She Kept Commending Nonstop

Suhartini, is Dini’s Indonesian name, as she’d arrived to Taiwan, a Indonesian-Chinese gave her a new name, “Dini”, the name is easy to pronounce, and write, and, everybody in the household that hired her called her that, only the demented elderly grandma called her, “Miss”.

Dini is intelligent and quick to learn, taking care of grandma is no problem for her, the only problem she faces is being too bored.  Normally, it was only Dini and the silent grandma, staring at one another, living on the hillside of Hsintien, and, even though, her boss encouraged Dini to ask her friends over, but, because of how distant the house was, nobody came.  So, for Dini, the best time was on the weekends, on this day, grandma’s ten children and grandchildren all came home, with Dini as the cook.

It’s a banquet!  I’d mumbled to myself, this doesn’t fit the rules.  The caretakers receives $15,840 N.T. a month, and their areas of work is restricted to helping the elderly they’re hired to look after.

“It must be hard, cooking for so many people then?”, I’d asked her.

Before she’d come overseas, Dini had never cooked once.  After she’d come here, every time she’d cooked, it was the third aunt who’d hired Dini, buying the raw produces, and she’d taught Dini how to prepare the items.  And still, nine years had passed, now, Dini can cook foods that impressed the third aunt, can recall what everybody likes to eat, what they don’t enjoy, even IF Dini didn’t eat pork, she’d still followed the steps to cooking, and make the pork dishes that impressed her family in Taiwan.

“Cooking for the family is NOT grueling at all, it’s actually very happy for me”, Dinny opened up her eyes wide, to rebut me.

“Happiness” and “Hardship”, these two words, linked together, Dinny was having difficulties, prouncing, but, apparently, she’d liked this sentence, stressed it to me a couple of times.

Coming to Taiwan as a College Student

The reason why Dinny could read so leisurelyl in the “Radiant Times” was because the ninety-three year-old grandma passed away two months ago.  After grandma passed away, Dinny was ready to head home.  But, her journey to Taiwan isn’t necessarily over.

These years, working in Taiwan, Dinny bought a house, rented out the house, and, gave the money from the rent to her parents who are farm workers. S he’d also saved up some money, to be given to her fifteen year-old younger brother’s education.  And, right after grandma passed away, Dinny also broke up with the childhood sweetheart, after all, going long-distance for nine years had made them understand, that they no longer shared the same views of the world anymore.  Dinny said, “I might have been influenced by you, Taiwanese people.”

Although Dinny is a great cook, took good care of others, but, studying is what she does best.  A few years ago, she’d signed up for the distant education on the university track, she’s still the first in her class.  This time, returning to Indonesia, she’d wanted to use a student visa to come here, as a college student.  As the family who treated Dinny as one of their own heard, they’re all very happy about it.  Yeah sure!  The house we have on the hill will be yours to stay in!

Before Dinny returned back to her home country, I’d invited her to come to my radio show, Dinny’s family in Taiwan: third aunt, second aunt, youngest aunt, all entered the recording studio with this shared happiness.  The youngest aunt who loved to sing changed the lyrics of the late Feng Fei-Fei, “I Wish You Happiness”, dedicating it to Dinny, “Giving you a gift of love, I wish you happiness.  No matter you’re in Taiwan, or in Indonesia, don’t forget about my blessings to you.”

And so, this just shows how connected you can be, with someone you’d hired to help take care of your aging elderly family members, and this woman is studious, and, she’s now, living her own dreams, fulfilling her own dreams, of not being able to go to school when she was younger, and, she’s making it all happen by herself!

Leave a comment

Filed under A Cycle of Kindness, Family Matters, Friendships, Kindness Shown, Life, Observations, Perspectives, Properties of Life, Socialization, Story-Telling, Translated Work