Saturday, June 27, 2009

Zen master You / 游‧禪學大師


To catch up with the trend of reading the do-over novel Pretty Little Mistakes by Heather McElhatton, I laid my hand on a copy, all worked up about different lives I might have had. In the beginning I made a choice of traveling to Europe instead of going to college, which I already had done. Well, in the end, I married a French guy, traveled around the world, and died in Bali. I soon reincarnated into an eagle after my death. To be honest, this is not very different from my real life, which kind of disappointed me.


But the good thing about this book is that I can do over again and again. I came across the term Zen master on one page, so I made up my mind to try all the endings. Some day, I will make the right choice and become a Zen master.


Because I kept talking about this wish in class, Elain gave me the term “Zen master, You” for free on her end-of-the-semester card to make me happy. Even if I am not a master now, I feel like a mountain, rooted there calm and poised. If I am to write Pretty Little Mistakes, I will be a mountain that feels like traveling. I might not be able to move physically, but one day, I will exchange souls with the Rocky Mountains or the Andes. Then like what Elaine suggests, we will run into each other in another country!


Thanks to Elaine and Lillian for all the warm words and best wishes!

Friday, June 26, 2009

10 x 15

問題:如果你想說的話加起來有全世界那麼大,卻只有10 x 15公分的明信片可以寫,你選擇說甚麼?

Question: If you have a whole world to say on a tiny postcard of 10 x 15 cm, what will you write?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

together / 我們要在一起

a few quiet minutes / 安靜的片刻


About My Current Students


This year, I haven’t written anything for my current students. The major reason is that I, for them, play a very different role than my previous students. I was used to be thought of as a shoulder. As for now, I am more like the locker in the classroom. If I remain silent, no one will be aware of my existence. I even thought with a sense of humor that on our field trips, I might be left behind in the gas station like the mother in Bread and Tulips. No one would notice my empty seat and lack of presence.


I still thought of us like that until a few days ago: a group of natural high students and a teacher unwilling to be forgotten. But it dawned on me that the more easily I am forgotten, the louder I have to declare my existence. Well, some people might not like how I insist on being remembered, but this is the balance point I found in my relationship with my current students.


Today is the last school day of this semester. I am very glad to have got out of a mass of slime and mud, with some elegance, though I still have one foot inside at this moment. I want to thank my current students for giving me long-term stimulation. This will change my future life to a certain degree.


Besides, I want to thank my current students, for teaching me something I didn’t know how to appreciate, after one year of mutual adjustment: Right at the end of the semester, I suddenly learned to enjoy going into the classroom in the morning, sitting in the classroom filled with the buzzing sounds of electric fans. Within the short fifteen minutes, I am there to keep you company while you read and write. I started to feel that it is more than a job item. Despite my reluctance, I rely on you emotionally.


And if you do not count the time when I nag about this and that, what we have is a few quiet minutes together every day. Insignificant as they might seem, that will be my memory of you in the future.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

makeup=make up? / 化妝=虛構?

最近因為被批評邋遢,讓我想到了英文裡化妝品的說法makeup,轉換成動詞片語make up,就變成「虛構」的意思,我和學生討論兩者之間究竟有否關聯,有人說,化妝等同於創造出新的一張臉,又有人說,化妝其實是物理整容,我倒認為,雖然是可還原性的變化,但是每天要花上半個小時整理門面,長期下來也是很浩大的工程。

I was criticized as “sloppy” lately by people who don’t really know me well. This reminds me of the word “makeup.” If turned into a verbal phrase, “make up” means to create something out of nothing. I asked students if there is any connection between the two. A girl said that makeup is synonymous to coming up with a new face. Another girl said that makeup is actually physical change of plastic surgery. In my opinion, even though it is reversible, we end up spending a considerable amount of time on it in the long run.


I don’t have any objection to wearing makeup. After all, everyone chooses their way in facing the world. I have to admit when I catch sight of beautiful women whose charm is further enhanced by cosmetics, I can’t take my eyes off them. However, what worries me is, after getting used to hiding behind the masks, we can’t recognize how we really look. Traces of age are powerful in their silence. No one can be exempted. I realize that no matter how hard I try, gray hair always pushes out earlier than I want it to and wrinkles form ditches of loose powder with time passing. If we insist on fighting against nature head-on, this will be a lifelong war.


Instead of covering the “flaws,” why not face them and show them in presentable and creative ways? In my own experience, escape will only lead to total collapse, and then we will have to deal with the huge life lesson of confronting our fear…

Sunday, June 21, 2009

serendipity / 留心


Lately my head was spinning like crazy. I felt like a returning traveler from a faraway land. I was not sure if I had really landed because of that jet lag problem. However, my laborious Virgo personality had scrolled down an entire list of tasks for me to tick off. I was kind of numb, but that didn’t stop me from accomplishing the missions. As a matter of fact, I am often amazed at my super efficiency when I look at myself from a detached perspective.


Yesterday on my way to Eslite, I came across a lovely exhibition going on in Wistaria Tea House. I nearly applied for the waitress job because I seemed to meet the requirements of speaking decent English and Japanese. I was actually tempted by the opportunity to learn the art of tea-making. I was in need of the knowledge to cool down and calm my heart.


When I passed by à l’affiche, I was squinting at the postcard racks inside. I couldn’t take my eyes off a postcard with a black cat in it. I knew it would be a postcard I couldn’t send out, but I still ended up buying it. I was terribly pleased when I looked at it over and over again these two days.


Other people often say to me, as long as you have this and that, your life will be perfect. I never think so. As I have eyes full of sunshine, I don’t lack anything. My serendipity makes me see rainbows on rainy days and stars on dark nights.


I am totally fine now. Best best wishes for you…

Thursday, June 18, 2009

power of love / 愛的力量


These two days I had the suffocated feeling of being hit in the chest when I was off guard. I couldn’t breathe smoothly. Whenever Von stomps his feet to show his anger, I only find him and the way he expresses himself adorable. My typical reaction is asking him to cool down. But this time I chose to stomp my feet harder than he did. He took a look at me, saying, “Push down the bile!” Hearing my line being stolen, I couldn’t do anything but laugh heartily.


The following morning when I was in the bathroom, he asked at the door what I was up to. I threw a casual answer at him, telling him that I was thinking. He then replied, “Don’t rack your brain anymore. You’ll get gray hair.” I opened the door to ask him who had taught him the line. He said, “You said that on our way to the noodle stall once!”


To be honest, I haven’t felt the kind of frustration in not being able to hit back. But the warm power I gave to Von flows back to me. Not everyone knows how to love others in this way. Besides, many people shower me with encouraging words. I am going to put down yesterday and everything before that and take giant stride forward into another beautiful day!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

visualization / 我的樣子

攝影:Kay小姐 / photo taken by Kay


Because I am too close to myself, I can't always see me well. Then I have to resort to others' perspectives.


This is how I look, this is the life I am leading and dreaming of every day...