Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Facets of My Life

Up to junior high school years, I more or less followed the path my parents laid down in front of me, with little variation. While I sometimes thought that I was deviating from my parent's direction, I was really more or less on the line they drew. Study, study and study were the directives. Besides some sports and singing, I did not do much of anything else. And the study we did was not for fun; it was for the entrance examinations one after another. When looking back, this path might have saved me. Because of it, I had the drive and preparation to finish a doctorate degree in Chemistry. Had I grown up in the USA, I am not sure at all that I had the discipline and the character to achieve as much. Of course, I could not predict what kind of person I would become, who could have foretold anything!

Two facets in my life started to develop during this period of time. One was religion, the other was music. I am going to talk about how religion started to become part of my life now.

Sometime in the first year after I entered Cheng-Kong High School, I went to play ping-pong with my friends at a Lutheran Student Center, which was located about three blocks from my home near National Taiwan University. It was a place for the college students to study, make friends, and play ping-pong. An old foreign lady came to stop me from playing there; she said that this place was for "college" students only. I argued with her, told her that I would be a college student later. She relented, and as this result of this incident, we became friends. Gradually, we become closer. Her name was Clara Jones.

After I entered the University I spent almost as much time at her place as at my home. I ate there regularly. She became my second mother. Certainly, her place was a wonderful place for learning English. You probably wonder why I said that she was almost like my second mother. We did a lot of things together, and she cared about me as much as a mother. For example, when Janice and I decided to get married in 1965, she flew from Taiwan to Urbana, Illinois, to give her advice to me, since Janice was a Catholic at the time! She was afraid that I would have a "long lonely road" ahead of me. Because of her and some others in my life (I will talk about them later), I tried hard to be a Christian for a long time. She graduated from St. Olaf College in nursing and did quite a number of further studies in theology. She taught part-time at National Taiwan University, offering both English classes and Speech and Debate in the English Department.

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