Thursday, June 29, 2017

Market style / 菜市場時尚


When I sketch in Muxin Market, I discover accidentally the market style: You gotta wear a helmet to look "chic!" 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Those flowers / 那些花兒


We have officially ushered in the sweltering summer. On the sultry summer days, I can't help but miss the cool, colorful spring, and those flowers. 


     In April, we invited the children to pick the flowers they would like to use for their head garlands. 


     The kids enjoyed running back and forth in the gardens, which never failed to fascinate me when I looked at them. 


     The leaves and flowers were so pleasing to the eye. 


     As we began the DIY lesson, the mothers were actually more excited than their kids. 


     What beautiful wreaths! 


     The kids didn't feel like taking the garlands off their heads at all. 


     With the garlands on, the children couldn't wait to go outdoors to play the game of tossing petals into the air. They certainly knew how to make best use of the beauty of the spring season!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

How to have a cool summer day / 夏天裡


Sit in a wooden Thai-style house, doing nothing, and then you'll feel the cool breeze...

Sunday, June 18, 2017

If I don't do it, / 不做會怎樣?


On the rainy Saturday afternoon in June, we have a lesson on leguminous plants. It comes as a surprise that there are more children than expected on such a wet day. Our special guest is the 12-year-old Po-huei. When he came two years ago, he was still a child, and now he has graduated from elementary school. I feel he's coming this time to say goodbye not only to us but also to his childhood. 


     The golden shower trees are in bloom now, and though the yellow flowers are commonly seen, the structure of the flowers is actually amazing. It's nice to see the kids learn with such enthusiasm. 


     There are three sizes for the stamens. Even the curving lines of the filaments and the style are the design of nature to help the plant reproduce. 

        想不到男孩把花插到耳邊! 今天居然還有小朋友想做筆記,我好感動!

     I am amused by how the big boy wears the flower behind his ear. More interestingly, some boys take notes today, which greatly moves me! 


      Next we observe the flame flowers. However, because of the continuous torrential rain, Guei-mei finds only three to four intact flowers to show to everybody. 


     I see the golden shower flowers and flame flowers only from far away, but without close observations, I would miss the mysteries of their flowers and fruits. 


     Even the ordinary-looking mung bean and soy bean sprouts are a lot of fun. The latter smell like farts! 


     We play the brainstorming game: Each group has to think of as many soy bean products as possible. See how devoted everyone is! 


     We top off the day with the folk beanbag game. The kids enjoy it so much! 


     This year we have cut down on the times of the activities. On the Saturdays when there are workshops, I sometimes grumble and wonder how great it would be if there were no such thing on my way to the herbarium. But at the end of these Saturday afternoons, I feel there is always a small flame lit up in my heart, a glow of light that warms me and pushes me to continue. When I don't feel like defining the significance of education, these Saturday afternoons always prove to me that education can be fun and enjoyable. 


     Before the end of the day, an eight-year-old boy asks me to watch his specially-prepared show. He keeps failing, so I tell him, "All it takes is practice. I believe you can do much better when you come next time." Before he leaves, he says to me, "Thank you for encouraging me." One day we might not go on with the activity, and it certainly won't kill me. Perhaps I might feel thankful for the decision, but I will certainly, definitely miss those lovely and innocent children and whatever they have said to me. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

between text and illustration / 文圖之間


This year I started to have some reflection on my pattern of making a picture book. For the past few years I have written the text first, but the danger is that sometimes part of the text doesn't conjure up any visual image, which I might not be aware of.  


     Ever since I attended the picture-making courses, I have gained much stimulation. For one thing, I am constantly reminded that I have to discard my ambition and focus on enjoying making a book.


     I am a coward when it comes to sharing my works, but seeing my classmates present and share their stories with everyone in class, I also try my best do let go of my fear. 


     In trying to answer the teacher's questions and voicing the problem I have detected in creating stories, somehow I feel I have found a really good direction. 


     Since I've always wanted to include too much in my stories, I fail to express the themes successfully. Also, they are too abstract for children to understand. My teacher said that I can try starting from drawing pictures because that way I can give concrete images to abstract ideas. Then a story can be developed by connecting the images I have. 


     Even if the drafts are a failure, I don't mind begin anew. As long as I can learn to tell a good story, every effort is worth it. 

Sunday, June 04, 2017

On a spring night / 春末的夜裡


On a spring night, Ray comes to visit me with his mom Mimi, while his twin brother sleeps in the car. Ray can't sleep because he is afraid of having nightmares. 


Ray asks me, "Auntie Wanda, did you have a dream when you were in first grade?" Unfortunately, I didn't. I felt pity for not being able to give a more creative answer.
Ray goes on to say, "I want to be a singer."
Mimi encourages Ray to sing, and thus starts our late-night mini-concert.
Mimi tells me more anecdotes about the two brothers.  For example, as the other kids panicked, the boys got so carried away when experiencing farming that they started to chase after the ducks.


What a peaceful and energetic spring night!