Sunday, 28 September 2014

守候


又忙碌了一週,好不容易迎来週末。今天和好友慧玲共午餐。慧玲的生日是在九月十二日但为了生活各自忙碌,拖到今天才请她吃饭。我和慧玲认识四十多年,仿佛在彼此身边已守候一辈子。虽不常见面,一旦碰面就无所不谈。两个女人聊天,分享发生在家里头和工作上的事情。话题有严肃的,也有说三道八的。东拉西扯,就这样过了一个愉快的下午。 有慧玲在身边的日子,我不会孤单。

父亲从昨天为了母亲买了两粒龙珠果的事情便一直脸黑黑。每每碰到这种场面不禁觉得沮丧,我和母亲到底要忍受这种心理煎熬到什么时候?最近开始有所领会:上天只会给予我们能够克服的考验,不是吗? 

本想晚饭后钻进厨房做道简单的点心,可父亲差我到药房买东西。今天的天气真的好热!回到家的时好感觉好累,但还是强迫自己把需要的材料一一秤完,放在冰箱里头。这样的话下个星期天就可以快快动手啦!:)


Friday, 26 September 2014

庆幸

某天惊觉竟然忘了跟Mian 庆生!让她悄悄地度过了50岁,真不好意思哪。上週五我 找Mian吃午饭,顺便给她补上生日礼物。相聚的时间只有短短的一个多小时,已足够让我心情up一整天!

认识我的人都知道我宅的很,工作以外很少跟人交流,朋友不多。近年来因为父亲的关系我下班后几乎都谢绝所有的应酬,赶在9点以前回到家。好多人不知道我家里的情况(也不曾试着去了解),认为我冷漠,孤独,或怪异 。先是对我嘲笑、讽刺,然后逐渐地疏远我。只有Mian体恤我。 每次一起吃晚饭她都尽早赴约,饭后总赶紧让她老公开车送我回家,免得我父亲忧郁。 

与Mian碰面,多半是我情绪激昂地倾诉着,Mian 静静地宁听,偶然给点意见和分享些人生哲学。朋友对我述说家里的情况感时往往感到到不满,我不能怪她们因为在许多人的心目中父母是神圣的。佩服她们能把不愉快或不满都藏在心底。不得不承认我还没修到这副美德。其实我需要的只是一个能发泄的空间 , a listening ear。Mian对我申诉的从不曾谴责或质疑,也不会用自己的价值观硬套在我身上。

我非常珍惜我和Mian之间的友谊。很庆幸Mian新的工作地点与我的只隔两个地铁站,希望我们能够多见面。 



Thursday, 18 September 2014

牵一只蜗牛去散步




上帝给我一个任务,叫我牵一只蜗牛去散步。

我不能走得太快,蜗牛已经尽力爬,每次总是挪那么一点点。
我催它,我唬它,我责备它,蜗牛用抱歉的眼光看着我,彷佛说: “人家已经尽了全力!”
我拉它,我扯它,我甚至想踢它,蜗牛受了伤,它流着汗,喘着气,往前爬。
真奇怪,为什么上帝叫我牵一只蜗牛去散步?

“上帝啊!为什么?”天上一片安静。
“唉!也许上帝去抓蜗牛!”
好吧!松手吧!反正上帝不管了,我还管什么?
任蜗牛往前爬,我在后面生闷气。

咦?我闻到花香,原来这边有个花园。
我感到微风吹来,原来夜里的风这么温柔。
慢着!我听到鸟叫,我听到虫鸣,我看到满天的星斗多亮丽。
咦?以前怎么没有这些体会?

我忽然想起来,莫非是我弄错了!
原来上帝叫蜗牛牵我去散步。


作者: 张文亮

Sunday, 14 September 2014

喜欢 . 一个人


同事Amy到巴塞罗那旅游,寄住朋友家。朋友每天陪她四处走,带她去吃好吃的,介绍她好玩的。“这个你一定要试试…那里你非去不可…” 朋友的过度热诚反而让Amy觉得压力好大,几天后决定搬进饭店。她告诉我:I needed my own space. 

我能理解。

曾经读过一篇文章,細写外向与内向的个人偏好。外向的人从外界获取能量,因而喜欢社交环境。内向的人从自身获得能量,所以累的时候喜欢独处;喜欢一个人吃饭、看戏、旅行,对单独行动有动巨大的满足感。我,是个非常珍惜个人空间的人。

对我而言有人陪伴虽是福份,但累的时后总向往一片自由的天空。一个人坐在露天cafe,悠闲地阅读;一个人搭长途巴士,静静地欣赏窗外的一景一物;一个人站在窗前发呆,看云 - 都是我放松的方式。

“没有人给你作伴,让你一个人吃饭,看戏,好可怜哦!” 朋友Moon就不能理解我为何喜欢独处,“我就从不敢一个人吃饭,shopping。有一次试着自己吃饭,进了餐厅坐下,感到很awkward, as if all eyes are on me.  觉得餐厅里的人都在悄悄谈论着我,说我独自一人用餐好可怜!结过我没点餐就逃了出来。“

我反觉得Moon有这种想法还挺 pathetic 呢!:)

最近公司的APAC Conference被取消了。本想趁这空档一个人跑去台北充电。不料父亲前几天跌伤了,所以我就不去了。以为饭店定金和廉价机票报全都报销,没想到lose out 的只是airfare而已!航空公司还是会把taxes 归还的。

Dandy Hotel (Tianjin Branch)对我也好好哦。当我说明取消的理由后她们竟然把定金都还我耶! 我曾告诉过你关于台湾人情味,对吧?准备再次入住丹迪旅店就是这原因啊!呼吁大家多到台湾玩,去台北时一定要住丹迪旅店(天津店)哦!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

RETURN OF THE PESKY PIGEONS

Some months ago Dad got into the habit of feeding the pigeons that sometimes come to rest on the ledge below the Master bedroom window. Mom and I put up a good fight against the idea but Dad, being the stubborn tyrant that he is, refuses to listen to reason. 

Each morning Dad would set aside half a cup of rice and two slices of bread for his new friends. (One time Mom forgot and ate the last two slices of bread and he threw a pretty nasty tantrum. ) He would patiently cut the bread into tiny cubes so that the birds can peck them up easily. The feed, sprinkled on the window ledge twice a day, attract half a dozen pigeons (sometimes more) at a time. It wouldn’t be so bad if they fed silently and then fly away. Half the time they would squabble or fight, causing a din. The worse part of it all - feathers come flying into the house, and pigeon poo left behind.

Two weeks ago Dad contacted a serious flu bug. A few days later Mom had high fever and a bad cough. Shortly after, I came down with a cold as well. 

During the two days that Dad was in the hospital and there wasn’t anyone home to feed the birds, they still ban together below the window. Once I even caught one pecking on the window pane. On the evening that Dad was admitted into TTSH, his sister paid a visit. My aunt was horrified to learn that we had been feeding pigeons. Pigeon poo, she warned, carries more diseases that one can ever imagine.  No wonder we were falling sick!  Mom and I immediately used that as an excuse to persuade Dad from feeding the pigeons once and for all. 

So Dad reluctantly agreed to give up his new found pastime.  It has been tough to wean the pigeons off their daily bread. Today is the forth day that we’ve stopped putting out bread and rice but each time we open that window (or just merely standing in front of it) would draw the birds out from every direction! We would hear the flap of wings and suddenly they would appear on the ledge, first one, then two, then five, then seven. It’s as if they were watching the window all this time. I feel a pang of sadness to see them like this - all excited and hopeful but it'll be a let down in the end. After all Dad had been a consistent food provider and the bird brains still cannot get around the fact that the food supply has been cut. It’s kind of cruel, if you think about it, to get them used to easy food, and then stop.

But it has to be done.


Thursday, 11 September 2014

FOR THE LOVE OF POTATOES

Who knew boiling potatoes can be so complicated?

Russet potatoes were on sale in the super mart. I bought five. I was getting ready to cook one when my mother asked, “How do you intend to cook it?” I guess I would boil it in its jacket. “Leaving it unpeeled is silly,” Mom scoffed. “Are you going to eat the skin too?!” 

A few days later I decided to cook the remaining four potatoes. Remembering Mom's remark about their spud brother, I embarked on the process of removing the jackets from each. “How do you intend to cook them?” Yes, Mom was breathing down my neck again. I think I would boil them. “Then you shouldn’t peel them,” said Mom. “It would be much easier to remove their jackets once they’re cooked. Sometimes you’re so stupid.” 

"Oh for the love of potatoes, leave me alone already!"  I wanted to say but arguing with a 81-year old would be bad for my karma.

We have a love-hate relationship, my mother and I.  Some people don't appreciate the way I blog about these regular squabbles.  "Stop complaining about your mother," they would chide.  "One day you will grow old too!"  Perhaps my friend Serena understands me most. She once told me, “I made a pact with my sister that when we grow old and I should turn out like our mother, she is to shoot me!”

“Would you like her to shoot you too?”

ANOTHER DAY IN TTSH


This was where Dad spent the night yesterday.  It's kind of an observation ward where they evaluate not just the patient's condition but also (especially for the elderly) whether he is sufficiently capable of looking after his own day-to-day needs after being discharged.


All visitors get to wear a yellow paper bracelet.

Everyone who knows my father is aware that he can be such a tyrant at home.  He is the King of the household, the Tiger who rules us with an iron fist.  Due to the shock of the fall, however, and having to spend two full days in bed, amongst strangers, manipulated by hospital staff, he turned into a meek kitten.

Naturally he purred with delight to see Mom and I this morning!  We brought him his favourite black coffee.  He was high spirits and informed us that he saw a cat inside the ward last night.  Ws the cat wearing a yellow paper bracelet?  Dad was sure it wasn't, but he was certain the cat is a black and white one.  Of course Mom and I don't believe a word of it.  Out of curiosity (I forgot that was what killed the cat in the first place) I seek out the hospital staff and they all said "No cat".

It was another long and tedious day.  We were at the hospital just after 10AM and were informed that we have to wait for the neurologist, and physiotherapist to give the nod of approval before Dad can be discharged.  It was 4:30PM when the discharge papers were finally ready.

There are two follow-up appointments to keep at the hospital, but for now I'm just glad to have Dad home.


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

A TUMBLE, AND ANGELS TO THE RESCUE

Poor old dad, he took quite a tumble today.


It happened just after he and Mom had their lunch.  They were on their way home when he fell.  He didn't know how it happened, he said repeatedly.  Needless to say, Mom was in a state of panic.  Fortunately, three good Samaritans - Daniel, Jaime and Mark -  descended out of nowhere and lent a helping hand.

According to Mom, Dad could barely walk and Mark picked him on his back and piggy backed him all the way the nearest clinic.  Daniel and Jaime was kind enough to hang around until I arrived.  Dad was referred by the doctor to the A&E at TTSH.  I was still in a daze (partly from the flu medication I had been taking; partly from the huff & puff from Newton to Toa Payoh) because I couldn't even call a cab properly (the Executive Assistant of the President of Asia Pacific didn't know how to call a cab, imagine that!) so Jaime called one for us.  

I couldn't thank Daniel and Jaime enough but Jaime said they were on their way to have ice cream, normally they would park by the road but today Jaime thought they ought to drive into the car park (where Dad fell) so maybe it was meant to be.

On my way home from the hospital tonight I was still thinking about Daniel and Jaime and about what she said. When this is all over, I thought to myself, I shall thank them properly - over ice cream.  Just before I reached home two boys (probably 8 and 10 year olds) approached and asked if I would help with their school fees.  What were they selling?  Ice cream.  Is this another one of your jokes, God?

The ice cream were $12 a box.  I opened my purse and there were exactly $12 in notes lying inside.  So maybe it was meant to be.

There were hundreds of patients at the A&E today.  We waited several hours with Dad to get his X-ray and CT scan done.  And then it was another few hours' of waiting to get him admitted.  After that another couple of hours to get him settled into the hospital bed and made sure he had something to eat.  We get to speak to the doctor tomorrow at around 10:30AM.  It was a long day but I don't think my life is half bad, really.  Thanks to an understanding boss, the sweetest coworkers, and of course - three perfect strangers who offered their assistance unconditionally.