March 4, 2015 § Leave a comment
When I broke the news that my family was about to move to another region and will no longer return to the town, J was noticeably sad. He told me to wait for him at the sunflower field; he showed up two hours later with a note in his hand. J gave me the note and smiled. “This is my parting gift” he said. On the note was a little poem, written not too long ago–I could still smell the fresh ink. The poem was short and direct. It must have been a real pain for J to write this as he did not know many words. But it did not matter. This was a gift from a close friend, and nothing is more precious than that.
On the day of our departure, many of the town people came to bid us farewell. J was not among them, however. I guess it was too sad for him to see us leaving. As the bus was departing, a sudden bell sound interrupted my train of thoughts. I recognized right away when I heard the sound that J was here following our trail. I opened the bus window and saw J chasing our bus on his scooter. When he saw me, he waved his hands unswervingly. I found myself sobbing a bit. If there ever was a moment when one is allowed to be emotional, this would be one.
He followed our bus for a very long time, until he could no longer keep up. That was the very last time I saw J. I returned to the town some years later, but J was no longer living there. He might have very well moved to the city in pursuit of his dreams. Whatever the case, he will always have a special place in my heart.
Click the tag “Country Folks” to read previous entries of this story.
March 3, 2015 § Leave a comment
Mary Poppins is a series of children’s books by P. L. Travers. The titular character Poppins is a magical nanny, who randomly visits the Banks’ household to care for the children. Together, she and the kids embark on many exciting adventures. The popular work was featured in the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, reaffirming its place in English literature.
March 3, 2015 § Leave a comment
We were sharply different people. He was a free spirit who liked to do things I wouldn’t even dare say. I was a quiet and stubborn person, who was often trapped adhering to conventions. Maybe because our personalities so sharply contrasted that we found redeeming qualities in each other.
During the day, J and I (together with other town kids) played hide and seek in the sunflower field. At nighttime, the two of us would climb up to the top of the hill to watch the enchanting stars. Although it has been a very long time, many of our adventures are still fresh on my mind like they were yesterday.
Not only we shared many adventures together, we often divulged to each other our dreams and aspirations. J learned about my struggles to live up to my parents’ lofty goals and expectations. I learned how he had always wanted to leave this monotonous town; he dreamed of an exciting city life and aspired to become a pilot. It was strange how I was the one who felt emotional listening to what he had to say, and I supposed to be the more stoic of the two.
Click the tag “Country Folks” to read previous and future entries of this story.
March 2, 2015 § Leave a comment
When I was young, my family often spent the summer in the countryside. We visited the same town so frequent that we were more like parts of the community than casual guests. During my stay there, I came to rebuke many of the myths and stereotypes city people often have with regards to country folks.
The most blatantly false stereotype about country people is that they aren’t too bright. While it’s true that many of them do not have a formal education, they are a lot wiser and much more pragmatic about life than most city people I know. In fact, I learned a lot more from just listening to the lively conversations, taking place every afternoon at the local eatery, than a whole year of primary education.
These conversations covered a broad range of topics, from politics to the fall harvest. Not all of them were animated, but I always came away with things I didn’t know before. I also befriended many of the children there. I was especially close to a boy named J. Even to this day, I’m still not sure how we became such close friends.
Click the tag “Country Folks” to read the next entries of this story.
February 27, 2015 § 1 Comment
A little knowledge quiz.
1. True or False. The Great Wall of China is the only structure on Earth that is clearly visible when viewing from the moon.
2. True or False. The Colossus of Rhodes — one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World — was a giant statue depicting the Greek god Helios.
3. True or False. The Statue of Liberty was brought to America (in several parts) by ship as a gift from the people of Great Britain.
4. True or False. China currently holds the record for having the most UNESCO World Heritage designated sites with at least 46. Italy is in second place. (2013)
I’ll post the answers later in the comment section.
February 26, 2015 § Leave a comment
Romance of the Three Kingdoms, penned by Luo Guanzong (d. 1400), is one of the Four Classics of Chinese literature. The historical novel chronicles famous battles and intrigues involving three warring states. The work has had an enormous influence on Chinese history and culture. For example, the infamous Cao Cao has become a classic example of a villain in Chinese culture. On the other hand, the story’s protagonists have become examples of a classic hero. Three Kingdoms is undoubtedly the most influential literary work in Chinese literature.
February 24, 2015 § Leave a comment
One day, Margaret could no longer control her emotion. Instead of gathering small crumbles of bread on the floor as usual, she seized a piece of bread on one of the tables and ran out of the place as quickly as she could — without looking back. That night, her children got to taste the best food they had eaten since the death of their father. Watching her children consumed the piece of bread with such an appetite, Margaret could not help but to express a joyous smile; this was something she had not done since her husband’s death. Her brief moment of joys, however, quickly extinguished. She knew full well what consequences awaited her.
The next day, the constables came and arrested Margaret; she went with them deferentially. Her five children, however, refused to let her go. They begged, cried, and held tightly onto their mother. Their impassioned showing of love touched even the sternest of the constables. Unfortunately, the responsibility of a constable was to uphold justice. They had no choice but to take Margaret away, despite strong protests from the children and Margaret’s neighbors.
On the day of Margaret’s trial, the courthouse was swarmed by thousands of people who gathered in support of Margaret. Even though they came from all walks of life, they shared a similar bond; their lives mirrored that of Margaret at one time or another. Unfortunately, her guiltiness with regards to stealing the piece of bread was clearly established. The jury had no choice but to convict her. When the verdict was read, a morbid silence infiltrated the air.
Click the tag “Margaret” to read previous entries of this story.