Monday, June 30, 2014

We are what we can remember

In 1975, our trip to Taiwan was very extensive. Not only did we visit our relatives in Taipei, Tainan, and Kaohsiung, we also visited quite a number of friends, and went to many scenic places in Taiwan, including parks, dams and some research institutes, such as those for sugar and electric power. While I have pictures to remind me of the details of our trip, many small fine points have been lost. The interactions between people and people, as well as between people and events are not clearly remembered. Clearly we can remember what we choose to - it becomes part of us. When we do not pay attention to something, the ability to recall it is lost. However, you can recreate the memory to suit your needs or it may be generated as  part of your daily activity. Clearly we are what we remember. Truth or fiction, what we remember becomes part of us and part of our valued past. What we do not remember is lost, it can no longer be part of us. There is a fine line between what you can remember and what you forget, and only you yourself can decide  whether something is part of your history and really happened in your life. As for me, I have tried to remember what occurred in 1975, but the details are very fuzzy. They have not easily resurfaced. The mood and the atmosphere are very difficult to recreate. I have tried very hard not to infer my mood or my “thinking”  at that moment, but only report what actually happened, skipping the temptation to make a guess about my mood and my mentality of the time. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Some Relatives in Kaohsiung

While we were in southern Taiwan, we went to visit some of our relatives in Kaohsiung. Most importantly, we saw my uncle and his wife. This uncle was my mother’s younger brother, who came to Taiwan right after the Sino-Japanese war in 1945. When Japan surrendered, his Army unit was responsible for taking charge of the transfer from the Japanese and for maintaining security after they left. He was stationed at Kaohsiung Harbor. My mother took us to his place for a visit in 1948 but was never able to go back to China. In 1975, my uncle and his wife had a young granddaughter. We took some pictures together with them and their daughter’s family. Their daughter, our cousin Chen Jia-chiu, together with her doctor husband, were always kind to us and invited us for dinner, not only in 1975, but also in later years when ever we visited the city. The pictures below should be easily recognizable. The first one includes my cousin, the brother of Chen Jia-chiu. kaoshuangkaoshuang-2kaoshuang-3kaoshuang-4

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Cape Eluanbi (鵝鑾鼻)

As I mentioned in my last blog, we went to the tip of Taiwan for a side trip. Besides visiting the area, including a lighthouse which was quite famous in Taiwan, our main purpose was to swim in the ocean. The waves there were big for the children, but they enjoyed them to the fullest.  Even though this was a special place to swim, it was not easy for our children to appreciate it. For them, it was just another place to have fun.


Taotze and Sanlu Family

Taotze was my best friend in Banqiao Junior High School. We rode a small train together, then transferred to a larger train, every school day. Then we did the reverse back home after school. Starting at 7am the days were very long. Junior High lasted for three years. We both survived and have kept in touch continuously ever since. The summer of 1975 was  special, as our two families met three times that summer. The first time was in Taipei, then in Kaohsiung, and later Taotze drove us to the southern tip of the Island. Both families had by that time grown to four members. We enjoyed our trip together very much, and our children seemed to enjoy each other as well.taotze-3taotzetaotze-2

Monday, June 2, 2014

KangShan (岡 山)

This town was neither famous nor very interesting. It was a town Janice and I decided to visit because we had promised a Chinese student couple, Linda and Jackson, that we would bring their daughter back to their hands from Linda’s parents, who had been raising her in Taiwan. They had sent this young girl to the parents soon after her birth because, as full time students, they were afraid that they would not be able to care for her properly. Their parents took care of this young girl for two years and, since Linda and Jackson’s situation was getting better and since we were going back to Taiwan anyway, they asked us to bring her back to them. Janice and I decided to visit this young girl first, as we wanted her to meet our children who were closer to her age and hopefully decrease her anxiety about the coming change. It turned out to be a worthwhile trip as she played with our kids for a few hours during one afternoon. I am sure she developed a deep impression of us during those few hours. The pictures below were taken there at her home.kangsgankangshan-2kangshan-3