Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Love And Friendship

Last night I got a phone call from my old schoolmate Joyce.

Joyce and I went to England together after our graduation from Hong Kong University in 1954. We traveled on S.S.Asia, from Hong Kong to Italy. And from Italy, we went on an overnight train to Calais; then crossed the English Channel to Dover; and then, rode a train to London.
We stayed at Joyce's aunt's place in London for a couple of weeks.
You remember the story about us washing her antique vase by mistake?
You are not supposed to WASH the dust off antiques!
We did not know.
We were two ignorant and silly girls!
Her aunt did not get made at us. She forgave us. What a Sport!

Joyce, my friend from sixty some years ago.

Joyce now lives in Australia with her husband, Ernie.

I was so thrilled to hear her voice.

Joyce and her family were refugees from Shanghai, like me and my family in 1948-9. Joyce is part English, part German, part French, part Asian, and part I don't know what. Me, I am pure "Han", Chinese.
Joyce could speak Chinese as well as I could.
We became good friends at the University.
After I moved to the U.S., we kept in touch all these years.
Isn't that great?

Joyce and I never had any words. We respect each other.

It was so good to hear her voice.

We talked, and we talked.

We filled each other in on all the news relating to our old school mates, etc.
She wanted to know how I like my new life and so on.
There was such warmth in her caring voice and I was so touched.

Since I came to the Conservatory, I have received many cards, letters, phone calls, messages, and such from my friends in Ada, Oklahoma. They all wished me well and wanted to know how my new life is. 
Some of them, I did not think that I knew that well. 

Yes, I do have lot more friends than I realized.

I used to be quite cynical about that aspects of life. I used to say that I had many acquaintances but not really many friends. Which is probably true for most people, if you think about it. 

What is a friend?

A friend is someone who likes you for whom you are. 

A friend is honest with you in all aspects of your relationship.

A friend tells you the truth even though you may not like to hear it.

A friend is someone who comes to your rescue if you need help.

A friend is someone who can disagree with you but still talks to you. 

A friend does not have to see or talk to you everyday, but he or she is there for you if you need him or her. 

A friend does not take advantages of you in any way.

A friend is there for Life.

I am lucky that I have many friends. 

I am also lucky that I am making new friends.

I wish you the same!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Loner

They call him Whitie. 
He has a full head of fluffy white hair.

I had seen him around. 
He did not say much. 
Sometimes, he would acknowledge your "Good Morning." Sometimes, he would give you a half-hearted smile. Sometimes, he would just look at you. 
Perhaps he did not hear my greeting.

That morning, I went to the dining room for lunch. John, the dining room manager, asked me if Whitie could sit with me. "Sure," I said.

Whitie sat down, and ordered his meal.

Since I am supposed to make conversation with anyone eating with me, I started by introducing myself and asked him how long had he been at the Conservatory.

He said, "Six months."
"How do you like it here?" I asked him.
"It's terrible," he said.
I was taken aback.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
" My son wants to mange my life. He sold my house. He put me on an airplane and sent me here," he said.

I did not know what to say.

I was thinking that I was one of the lucky ones because I made my own choice of coming to this senior living place. I would resent it if my daughters did the same to me.

I waited a minute or two. trying to collect my wits.

"I was a ski instructor," he said.

"I had ten acres of land and a big house. I miss sitting on my front porch watching the deer go by,"
he  continued.

I forced myself to make a smile.

"I understand." I said.

Did I really?

"I hate it here," he said again.
"Where does your son live?' I asked.
"A mile from here,"he said.

"He comes to see me once a month," he said.
Obviously, he did not think that was often enough. 

"How many children do you have?" I asked.
"Three," he said.
"Where do they live?" I asked.
He looked at me and said,
"My daughter came to see me once . . ."

I was silent.

"It will get better,"I said to him. A white lie?

"Thank you for talking to me,"he said and smiled.

I am going to make a point of greeting him and talking to him. I hope that I can make his life a little more bearable for him.

I wonder how many "Whities" are in this place.



Saturday, February 4, 2017

Museum Outing

There are many activities provided to the residents at the Conservatory.
Cultural ones, such as visiting the museum is one.
One sunny morning, the minibus took some fourteen or sixteen of us to one of the major Museums in another City, some fifty or so miles away, to view some special exhibition.
Great!
We started out around 9:30 a.m.
The trip would have taken about 45 minutes to an hour, give or take a few minutes. Depending on the traffic, they said.
Our leader informed us that she found out that the museum will not be open until noon.
Now, we had some time to kill!
So off we went to have breakfast at some restaurant.
We were served huge stakes of pancakes, giant waffles, biscuits and gravy, extra large glasses of iced tea, and huge mugs of coffee . . .
Hey, this is Texas!


On to the bus, we continue with our journey.
Now, our leader and driver were trying to figure out what is the best way to get to the museum.
Surely, this was not their first trip to the museum, or is it?
Well, we did get there safe and sound.
Wait!
We were there early.
Our leader asked us if we would like the bus to circle the museum a few times since we now have another few minutes to kill. 
Thank goodness, some of us voiced our opinions and asked to be let out of the bus and to take up our places at the line at the entrance instead.


We finally made it inside the special exhibition at the museum some fifteen minutes after the noon hour.
It was a great exhibition!
Around two o'clock, most of us were through with viewing the artworks. We started to congregate at the little café.
We were missing some of our fellow travelers!
We had no instructions as to when or where we were supposed to meet to board our bus.
So we waited, we waited . . .
Finally, everyone gathered at the café . . .
And on to the bus, heading back Home (our home at the Conservatory.)
By the time we got back, it was around 4 p.m.
A six and half hour trip!
We only had some one and half hour at the Exhibition!


Well, what is the hurry?
We old folks have all the time in the world, don't we?