骨子里的情怀

上班以来我最期待的是午餐时间。我们一组十来人,中午至少能找五六个一起吃饭。由于大家都属于年龄层次比较高又思想比较成熟的成年人,虽然一开始也总是从八卦开始聊,结束时往往是仍还在意犹未尽的争论着某些人生问题。昨天的话题是男女平等与家庭和睦,今天的是死亡的方式,而前不久我还与大老板兴致高昂的讨论过我们彼此对税收的观念。我比较倾向与liberal, 而他是不折不扣的保守党。虽然讨论的气氛融洽老板也够开明,但后来我还是反省自己做人是否不够圆滑,这种事情附和老板实在没什么大不了。

我喜欢的一个博客女主住在长沙。她常常说一些这个城市的事情,让我觉得十分亲切。虽然我对长沙已经过于陌生,即使对外仍称自己是长沙人,那里只是家乡,却不再是家。她最近写了一篇文章叫做望月的人。长沙有个区叫做望月湖。记忆里那里似乎是没有湖的,但这样一个名字多么有气质呀。我一向觉得长沙的各种地名都很有味道,岳麓山,银盆岭,橘子洲头,潇湘大道。但其实它们或许也不比其他地方的名字有味道,只是因为在记忆里沉淀了许多年才拿出来温习,就多了分怀旧的韵味。

离题了。我本来想说的只是这篇文章。她在里面说一种人,是骨子里有情怀的人。这种形容实在是笼统而模糊,也很难定义,我却偏偏就被这一句话震撼了。这年头人总爱批评别人市侩。那的确,我们大多数人庸碌一生,为五斗米折腰的折腰卖笑的卖笑。但总有一些什么是值得坚持的吧,不管你所坚持的目标实际如婚姻与事业,还是心灵上的信仰和安乐。每一种坚持,不管别人认同与否,都是一个故事。说给平常人听一两句就能带过,若是真要落笔,也能写出洋洋洒洒许多个长篇。

前一阵子我去了致康园做义工。那里的孩子都有不同程度的脑瘫,虽然智力方面大多数没有妨碍,动作却不能自主。脑瘫的原因很多,有可能是先天,也有可能是产后一个月内其他原因引起,所以这些孩子从一出生就无法自理。孩子们大多数都不能自己站立,就连坐也是要用绳子把腿绑在椅子上才能坐得稳当。我们当天的工作是帮他们开运动会,每一个义工都负责一个孩子,在他们玩不同游戏的时候托着他们。由于他们不大能自控身体的动作,许多时候场面都是一片混乱,但孩子们都玩得很开心,也没有人计较输赢。玩保龄球的时候,许多孩子没有办法好好握住球,更不用说按正确的方向丢出去。其他的孩子虽然也都急着想要玩,却没有人埋怨,大家都帮玩的人加油,为再小的成功欢呼。运动会结束后我们陪他们到餐厅喂他们吃饭,之后他们就要回二楼的房间了。有的孩子是被抱上去的,有的自己走。一个孩子被阿姨带到楼梯脚下,帮他把双手放在扶手上,让他自己爬楼梯。我们就站在走廊里,看到他每跨一步都需要强大的努力,而他却还时不时回过头来给我们一个笑脸。这些孩子或许一辈子坚持的,就是我们觉得天经地义的自理能力。可是他们每一个人都那样努力,甚至还不忘保持微笑。

我当时突然觉得惭愧。我这一生拥有的太多,付出的太少,我却还不知足,常常埋怨,偶尔幻想不劳而获的得到更完美的生活。

羡慕也好,怜悯也好,我们都不能去过别人的生活。我们所有的只有自己的坚持,自己的故事。虽然生活中有形形色色的过客出现,但陪你再久的也只是过客。不必在意自己的平凡,也不要放弃自己的坚持。而骨子里的情怀,对我来说,我想或许那就是soul.

那些让你温暖感怀的友情记忆

七月一号上班,六月二十五号才拿到需要的各种文件,匆忙的定了二十六号到香港的机票去办工作签证,二十七号又风风火火的赶回深圳赴与VV商量了好多年的的聚会。本来是准备促膝长谈直至天色发白,可是一大早起来,嗓子却哑到不成样子。晚上大家热闹聊着生活与往事,我只能哼哼唧唧的偶尔插个嘴,然后郁闷的埋头肢解一只又一只小龙虾。

聊起当初是如何相遇,那已经是快上个世纪的事了。想当年写博客的人不多,论坛也没有几个,圈子其实小得很。也不记得是谁先发现了谁,偶尔的留个言,踩个脚印,加个MSN,居然就神交了这许多年。以至看到VV打开门,虽然是第一次见面,也就像到了老朋友家里,很是不客气的当自己家了。

因为不能说太多话,晚上吃完饭回到家里,就各自捧着电脑做自己的事情。我各种念旧,在电脑上翻出了N年前从坛子上存下来的一个帖子:那些伤心欲绝的爱的记忆。看文件的日期,是2007年的6月存下的,在坛子上找了找,却是找不到了。那些故事,有的是我们自己的,有的是别人的,每一篇都能拍一出催人泪下的文艺片。这么多年了,我们都老了,生老病死都经历了一些,为风花雪月流眼泪似乎都已经是值得怀念的青春往事。

而VV对我说,只有你,还是把爱情看得比天大。我想了想,对她说,不是啊,我并没有把爱情看得那么重要,只是把事业看得很轻。这其实已经是一种奢侈。我实在觉得我是个无比幸运的人,身体上最大的毛病不过是肩膀习惯性脱臼,父母家人纵容我过自己想要的生活,学业事业虽非一帆风顺却也无大起大落。爱情或许是唯一的挫折,却也因此走了不一样的路,成为自己还算喜欢的一个人。我其实觉得上帝并不是公平的,我的人生已经是幸福得让我有些害怕。

在深圳机场待机的时候写下这些话,想念着那些许多年来默默潜水着关注的陌生却熟悉的我们的我们。即使想说的话越来越少,毕竟我们曾经彼此陪伴着走过那些伤心欲绝的日子。

随缘自适,随遇而安。

梅雨季到了。在新居,安静的早上,开窗,深呼吸外头湿漉漉的气息。

人生便是这样,只要还有呼吸,那么结束便是新的开始。

至青春

那天是在地铁站里看到海报,才知道这本书要拍成电影。因为是很喜欢的辛夷坞,就赶紧先找来书重温了这个故事。

我没有在中国上大学,但我很爱看校园小说。我的大学生活是贫乏的。当年因为一些愚蠢的原因失去一个全额奖学金的机会,也没有去我想要的大学。为了在父母面前争一口气,我的大部分时间都在打工中度过。我甚至都没有住过校,对于那种与舍友的革命感情只能羡慕与向往。但其实不管是否经历过那样的生活,这些故事里的爱情,友谊,在时光中流失的纯真和成长的无奈,不管你的青春是如何逝去的,你都会懂,都会回想,都会怅惘。

书里的人物,个个都是鲜明的。你觉得他们偏执也好,卑鄙也好,天真也好,总是要带着一种恨铁不成钢的眼神,恨不得走进故事里去说一句,你呀,这样是会要遍体鳞伤的。几个臭男人也就罢了,不喜欢,却是讨厌不起来。那几个女孩子却是一个个心疼得不得了的。后来想想,也不过是因为她们的挣扎自己也都曾经历。年轻的时候每一个人都执着过,而最后呢?是放弃,妥协,还是决绝?而那鲜血淋漓的伤口到底什么时候才能结痂,又是否永远都还是会痛?

电影却是让人失望的。许多细节没有时间好好说清楚,故事便有些莫名其妙。人物平板而苍白,就连结局也被改掉了。

算了。我后来想,我只是忘记不去期待。

还年轻的时候,爱得不留余力,放手也是不带走一片云彩的洒脱。黑是黑,白是白,一点也不肯妥协。哪里像现在,受了伤吃了苦,咬着牙吞下肚子里,人前一样笑吟吟的,不知道多理智。哭得天昏地暗如果没人在乎,不如塑出个顶天立地的女强人样子,或许久了就真成了这样铁石心肠。对错心里明白,却不再为此争论。做得到自己问心无愧已经是要十二分努力,何必去强求别人也要如此。

那一年我丢失了我的凤梨,新的网址是i miss me。这么多年过去,我是的确越来越喜欢现在的自己。但每当想起那已经逝去的青春,我都会有些悲哀的怀念起当年那么舍得挥霍它的我。

Forgiveness

Of all the wonderful things I have been blessed in life, today I am most thankful for the ability to forgive. I had not realized it was a gift, being able to let go of a lot of things that I consider trivial. Even if I am angry or hurt, appeasement comes easily. A genuine sorry, a nice gesture, or if you can simply make me laugh with a silly joke, then all is forgiven.

I didn’t understand how or why it was difficult for others to do the same. I took for granted the peace that came with such a blessing, the freedom to live my life without the burden of someone else’s actions that I could not control.

Forgiveness is a choice. A difficult one for many. Perhaps it’s also because I’ve been blessed with a life surrounded by good people, that I could not hold a grudge against them even if they do something wrong. Perhaps it’s simply understanding that I myself have done so many things wrong, hurt others without meaning to.

There’s a reason for everything, but sometimes it’s so hard to make it clear to someone else. The person who cut you off on the highway may be rude, or he may be on the way to the hospital to see a loved one. The customer service representative whose accent you are making fun of may have written the most beautiful prose in her own language. Instead of getting angry at the stranger, think of a story make up a most wonderful excuse for them. Trust me, it would only make you feel better.

And if someone you love hurts you, try your best to understand why. There are things that can’t be forgiven, but you may be surprised at how easily people are willing to forgive those they love. Then we grow together, our bond strengthened by the understanding we’ve gained through hurting and forgiving, knowing that we are better people today because of all the mistakes of our yesterdays.

You may think that some things are beyond forgiveness. Some people don’t deserve to be forgiven. Who are you to be the judge of that? Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone, the Bible says. So forgive others, and take solace in that someday you will be offered the same forgiveness.

那些情歌

最近中文寫得少了許多。自從離開德州,身邊就沒有什麼會講中文的朋友。週末達拉斯的朋友們來玩,才難得的講了好幾天的中文,一開始還著實結巴了幾句。語言能力怕就是這樣弄丟的,我要反省!!!

今天我想寫的,是音樂。

Spotify進軍北美,馬上便供不應求。雖然許多這種invite only的東西都只是人來瘋,過一陣子就覺得沒趣了,但這玩意兒還真不錯,什麼歌都能找到,居然還有周總和張靚穎。免費的雖然有些廣告,但絕對多不過電台。最好的是可以跟別人分享,找到喜歡的歌直接拉進別人的inbox就好,方便得不得了。我是屬於醒著沒看電視的時間都開著音樂的人,平日聽到一首喜歡的歌還要記住跑回家下載,麻煩得很。現在隨找隨聽,還免費!還合法!世界上還真是有美味而免費的午餐哪。

說起分享這事,哎,想當年某愛慕者刻了整整一CD(我還沒那麼老,已經過了錄磁帶的年代了,ok? -_-)的情歌給我,還跟我說每一首都讓他想起我,讓我感動的。。。現在CD還在,聽起來怪懷念的。可惜人家現在早就給別人錄CD了,想找他推薦幾首歌來都怕尷尬 -__-

分享這樣簡單,卻還真沒幾個人用。一開始我每天看著我空空的inbox,挺寂寞的。現在倒還真是有人發歌給我了,我又糾結了。明明是不愛我的前男友,過兩天就發首歌過來,我今天聽著you are the only dream i understand, 明天想著now i’m living in your afterglow,還真是鬱悶得很。歌是確實好聽,但他老人家是個不聽歌詞的種,那會想到我這顆細膩軟弱的心啊,聽著這些多希望是他想對我說的話,卻知道他啥意思都沒有,要多難過有多難過。恨得牙癢癢的,還什麼都不敢講,其實有時候也挺想甩自己兩巴掌打醒的。

那些情歌,沾上了一個人的記憶,就再也洗不掉了。KTV裡笑著唱著,眼睛看著他,心裡想的是誰只有自己知道。所以每一天才會有這麼多新情歌,紀念一段又一段失去就再也回不來的愛。

舊金山每天走在路上都能聽見中文,但身邊的朋友大多數土生兒,去唱歌中文只點王力宏周杰倫,還有一首連台詞都背起的童話。前些日子難得與會講中文的朋友去吃飯,才發現自己的中文也退化得不行,才發現連博文也都改寫英文許久,實該警惕。

自搬家就過著不得閒的日子。晚餐週末都在外面吃,冰箱裡只囤冰淇淋。又加上早上中午都在公司吃自助餐白食,幾個月來不敢上秤盤。今天中午終於覺得有些虧欠自己的健康,發狠裝了一整盤沙拉,頗有些亡羊補牢的傻氣。晚上回家先熱上一碗新鮮味噌湯,煮一小鍋米飯,撒上海苔芝麻等,再澆半杯茶,配些許水果,難得的清淡,反而覺得美味之極。

生活也想清閒些。週末白天無事,看了整整20來小時的Battlestar Gallactica,宅女之名更是名副其實。晚上生日派對一堆,其實也不過是藉口呼朋喚友出遊。自己生日也快到,卻無甚打算,只盼望可以讓歲數有減無增。倒是前些日子心情不佳,網購下巨額樂高星球大戰模型,還沒到手就忍不住四處炫耀,羨慕死一群男性友人。室友之一有一天突然同我說,你的興趣都是男孩子的,一定有許多人喜歡你。我氣憤,你們的男朋友跟我聊星際大戰不知多起勁,週末還不是陪你們去看 chick flick,留我一個人在家帶小狗?

我們四個女孩子一起住,年齡各差一歲,性格興趣都各自不同,一個半月雖說不算久,但相處得確實愉快。都是愛玩的人,週末去公園還是不夜城,都會叫上彼此。又都愛熱鬧,屋子每天人來人往,偶爾還有狗狗們來小住,圈子迅速打成一片。我最年長,看她們都覺得像小孩子,卻都談得來。日子闲逸,過得也特別快。

以前共事過的朋友來舊金山,在我家住了十來天。她去年辭職,天南地北的做義工,玩了整整一年不止,還不盡興,正盤算著年底去南半球。我羨慕她生活態度,但對拮据生活極端恐懼,怕是不敢如她這般毫無計劃的離職一兩年。但我們看她瀟灑,她卻遺憾,自己極愛孩子,卻一直沒有遇上能共築未來的伴侶,夜深聊起,也有些唏噓。日語裡我十分愛的單詞之一是きずな。絆,我理解為人與人之間的牽掛,又或是糾纏。發音和狐狸相似,讓我總是想起狐狸說的那句,金黃色的麥子會讓我想起你,我也會喜歡聽風在麥穗間吹拂的聲音。常常在情歌裡聽到這個字,我總覺得念著有些無奈的纏綿。

認識並不久的朋友,與癌症鬥爭一年多,週日去世。比我大不了多少,愛玩愛笑,有一群真心好友。我一向覺得,願為朋友兩肋插刀,TA也願為你如此,做人才算有意義。當然,我希望自己這輩子沒機會試驗這觀點。朋友問我是否去送他一程,我躊躇。葬禮到底是為誰舉辦?若是我,燒成灰灑進海裡,無牽無掛,不佔地球寶貴資源。若是真有人惦記,請放一張喜歡的相片放抽屜底,記得我的笑臉豈不比看著石頭緬懷好?還有這網絡一角落,若有一日再不更新,希望也能留到不再有人惦記的那一天。

或許是因為我們沒有人孤單的來到這世界,所以我們恐懼會孤單的離去。而這一世間的眾多牽絆,才被人稱之甜蜜的束縛。

As Time Goes By

Life is good. Not perfect, as only moments can ever be perfect, and not the collection of moments which makes up a life. I often feel guilty when I don’t write for days and weeks, since I know that with every second’s passing, there’s a black hole that devours memories of moments all precious in their own ways. If not captured in words or pictures, then gone, sometimes forever. Sometimes their faint shadows flicker in the dark of the night as if struggling to come back to life, but still, gone by morning.

Such is the power of time. We measure it in such precise increments, as if this gives us control. We are all constantly fighting for control, crying outrage at the people and institutions and thrust rules upon us. Yet we yearn to surrender our control, believing in higher forces kind enough to give us rules to follow and forgive our trespasses. In the olden times people divided the forces they cannot understand into different gods, each with their own power and personality. As we understood more of the world the glory of those gods faded as did their images on temple walls. Yet there’s so much we still don’t know, so we lump it into one god, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. We call this god by different names and lovingly personifies Him. We fight against those who dare to question our own interpretation of this god, like spoiled children who want to hear their parents say “you are my favorite.”  All the while time passes by, funnily as quickly as life, and then, we are gone.

I had set my pen (or rather, my fingers to the keyboard) down to write about the past month, to tell you about the crazy time in Vegas, fun strolls with my friend’s overly needy Pomeranian, and quiet conversations with friends I had not seen for years. I wanted to exclaim how small the world is, that you should never expect to not see people again as they will turn up at the most inopportune time and place. I’ve been meaning to complain about how the mass number of channels to share has made it impossible to share. I thought Super 8 was a pretty good movie, and X-Men: First Class was entertaining. I’m on book 5 of the Harry Potter series and will likely not finish everything before I go watch the final movie. Slightly disappointed about my year end results at work, but hoping for a good year going forward.

I had so much to say about those moments, but as they are already past, at this present moment, I only wanted to talk about time.

I have been writing a blog for almost 10 years. An entire decade! As fickle as I am with hobbies and such, I amaze even myself with this singular act of persistence. I’m grateful for having a place to come to and share my thoughts, even though some may not understand why I’d rather share them in an open forum rather than with my close friends. There’s a great sense of relief when I click the Publish button and just let my thoughts float out there. Some of my friends may read it, most do not, nor are they particularly interested. Strangers may drop by and say hi, some stay and others leave, like the rest of the people in life. But no matter who comes and goes, I am still here, reminiscing about times gone by, remembering who I was, understanding who I am, and deciding who I want to be.

P.S. The title is the song from Casablanca, which plays often in my head, especially on a cloudy day such as today.

Insecurity

Perhaps the most amazing thing about human beings is how similar and different we are. We share the same physiology. Even though your eyes might be a different color and your skin a different shade, my heart could just as easily be beating in your body. We share similar traits, just combined in millions of different ways. And all this, we discovered, are made possible through little building blocks that spell out GATTACA. Yet through countless studies we still haven’t figured out the exact link between personality and DNA.

Personally I think that’s a good thing. As much as I appreciate the natural curiosity of the human mind, life would be a lot less exciting if you take out certain mysteries. I think some people are born with confidence and charisma, and others are not. I’m blessed with many great things, but confidence is not one of them. Fortunately, we are also made to be malleable. Perhaps that’s the greatest gift of all, the ability for us to embrace the constant changes that life throws at us and adapt ourselves accordingly.

I realized my confidence from an early age. The times I didn’t raise my hand when I knew the right answer to the teacher’s question. The piano and calligraphy classes I gave up early on because I didn’t think I could excel (ok, so lack of desire to work hard also figured into that). Unwillingness to perform in front of others even though I loved to sing. Hiding behind adults when meeting anyone new. I always regretted these things later, but at the time, the fear of rejection was immobilizing.

As time went by, I tried to fix things, little by little. I would raise my hand when I knew the absolute answer. At the encouragement of teachers I sang in school competitions. I reluctantly talked to kids that were especially friendly. I showed my true colors in front of close friends, but to most of the world I was sweet, nice, and quiet, they said.

Moving to a new country was not conducive to my confidence building. We were poor, so I didn’t dress like the other kids and had a funny looking backpack I brought from China. I knew so little English and was too ashamed of my accent to talk to people. I didn’t have any friends to sit with at lunch so I took my brown bag sandwich outside and ate on the front steps of the school. All I wanted was to be like everyone else, I remember wishing, and the part of me that wanted to be me just went into hiding.

The desire to fit in defined my high school years. I modeled myself after others, in the activities I participated in, the way I talked, the classes I took, the friends I hung out with. Thankfully I had good role models to imitate, and I found security amongst my friends. Then when things took an unexpected turn, and I ended up at an university where I had very few friends. Without anyone else to influence my decisions, I was suddenly lost. Looking back, as lackluster as my college experience had been, I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn how to thinking for myself.

I still had other influences. I spent whole weekends at church, where I felt welcome and desperately wanted to belong. I was as devout as a non-believer could be, and when I had questions that others couldn’t answer to my satisfaction, I shoved them away. I found comfort, and in turn security, in my church family.

Then I made the bold decision to go work in a foreign country. I did not think much of the consequences until I arrived, and spent many nights crying in my loneliness. I quickly lost touch with my church friends, and the questions regarding faith that I shoved away came creeping back. Then I realized perhaps I never truly belonged there anyway.

Funny, I never for a single moment regretted my decision to go to Japan, even in my weakest hour. I came to think upon that time as the greatest experience in my life. I never realized how strong I could be, until I felt completely alone.

I was, of course, never completely alone. My parents were always there for me, and I had friends who always cared. But it didn’t feel that way, and that was probably a good thing, because I realized that through out my life, I had been looking for security in others, when I should have been looking for strength in myself.

If only it were that easy to overcome my confidence issues. Knowing what to do is only the first step in getting anything done. I found great joy in discovering who I am, defining the principles I would like to live by, searching for something I can truly believe in, and finding the right people to surround myself with. I still had great difficulty, however, to not define myself through others’ eyes. Or rather, my perception of how other people see me. I try to get over these moments of vulnerability, and mask it with the appearance of confidence. I also decided it was best to hide how I feel in many cases, for those feelings could be the sharpest swords when used against me.

There is nothing that makes a person more vulnerable than falling in love. Finding someone I’m willing to lower my shield for is like a turtle deciding to come out of its shell. It’s a long and slow process, and rather irreversible. I’m not sure he understood how painful this process is, and how much courage it took. More than anything, I wanted his acceptance. For him to say, I see how imperfect you are, but I love you anyway, so let me help you become who you want to be. It took me a long time to get over him leaving, and to see that I relapsed into trying to find comfort and security in someone else, rather than myself. It’s another important lesson in life, and life’s lessons usually don’t come cheap.

I’m not sure if I’m an introverted person, but I do like to introspect. In a sense insecurity has brought out some good characteristics in me. It helps me be humble, and sensitive to others’ feelings, and set realistic expectations. My insecurity hasn’t gone away and I don’t think it ever will. I’m just a lot better at handling it now. I never regretted coming out of my comfortable little shell, and I hope it has made me a better person. Stronger, more open, more accepting, and ready to take on whatever life decides to throw at me next.

The Little Prince

“Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” – Antoine de St. Exupery

My website logo is a pineapple with a little tag that says 731. Next to it is a simple description, “Asteroid No. 731.” I secretly hoped someone would question me as to what it means, but no one has.

The little prince came from a little planet called Asteroid B-612. It is very small, with three volcanoes (one of which is extinct), some baobab trees (that must be taken care of), and a beloved rose. That’s the little prince’s home, as Asteroid No. 731 is mine.

I can’t quite pinpoint the exact sentence, or moment, that made this book my favorite. Maybe when the fox exclaimed “Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me!” Or earlier than that, when the pilot complained, “grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.” Maybe it’s the fond memory of meeting a blond haired green eyed pilot who loved the story, which led to my adventures to Japan. Or realizing how bitterly disappointed I was when he returned from Paris empty-handed, telling me he could not find the book.

Sometimes I’m afraid of recommending this book to other people. I’m afraid they will not like it. They will think I’m silly for liking a fairy tale for little kids. That’s when I sadly realize that I am very much a grown up now.

So let this be my tribute. To a time when I can still see the little sheep inside the box.

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