2010年7月12日 星期一

英勇的警察

去完健身房,買好菜回家,剛走出停車場,發現家門口對街上聚集了好多人,尤其是幾名顯眼的警察騎著摩托車正準備離去,我以為是有人在網咖鬧事,可是才上午十一點不到,也未免太早了一點.一問之下才知道,原來是一名歐吉桑搶了一名歐巴桑的錢,兩人都上了年紀,光天化日,大街行搶,當然被逮個正著.

我們曾經因為騎樓被對街網咖夜不歸營的少年吵鬧到無法入睡,第二天還得清掃他們留下來的檳榔渣和飲料罐,警察來一下也只是虛應故事,網咖老闆的柔性勸阻也起不了什麼作用,總不能半夜不睡覺,和這些精力無處發洩的青少年耗下去,後來還是老媽想到,入夜以後,用繩子把騎樓圍起來,真沒想到一條細繩,竟然解決這個令人困擾的難題.

有一次從小港機場接了妹夫回家,在大立百貨的十字路口等候紅綠燈時,一群飆車族呼嘯而過,其中一名手持棒球棒的少年,無端將我的後車窗砸爛,我坐在後面驚恐不已,久久還回不了神,更不用說記下車牌號碼.去五福路的派出所報案,警察有沒有留下報案筆錄我不得而知,我只記得他說我們沒有下車理論是明智之舉.

是什麼原因逼得這名理當要退休弄孫的老翁必須挺而走險?在這美好的一天落得這個下場,只是為了一點錢. ( Fargo 裡的女警長如是說 )一名手無寸鐵的現行犯,需要動用到七八輛警用摩托車和大陣仗的員警?英勇的警察和黑道幫派份子泡茶打牌,這個歐吉桑當街行搶的小案子,只是讓破案績效好看一點而已吧!

2010年7月11日 星期日

女兒高中畢業了!


學校送的畢業禮物

2010 年畢業班

Director's Honor 的得主

校長為 senior's project 提出創意絕佳的點子

女兒班上的同學決定不要俗套的畢業旅行,校長也提出服務社區的點子來取代,最後全班分成兩組,一組留在市區,一組上山去為莫拉克災民做些事情,這也一直是學校持續不斷的社區服務.經過好多人的幫忙,包括校長, PTA, 勵馨基金會,最後終於定案,這些上山當義工的畢業班同學自稱為 The Happy Campers.所以我請她寫下山上一週的生活點滴,和家人朋友分享.

高雄縣,桃源鄉,高中村的興中國小是他們這次所要服務的學校.雖然只有短短的一週,但是食衣住行都要自己張羅,行前還接受幼稚園老師的密集訓練 : 如何教小朋友英文.帶著睡袋,零食和滿腔熱情來到這個山中的迷你小學,莫拉克颱風曾經肆虐破壞學校所在的村落,造成嚴重的災情,所幸現在都已經大致復原.

女兒行前曾經因為此行瑣碎的雜務和埋怨同學的不夠投入而氣餒,但是等到她上山以後,傳回來的簡訊卻是樂在其中,直說山上的孩子有多麼天真可愛!豐年祭是如何展現出原住民豐富有力的傳統.沒有光害夜空的星星是又如何地閃爍美麗.....就算是任務結束下山回家以後,還不時收到小朋友的電話和簡訊,甚至獲邀參加興中國小的畢業典禮和辦桌餐會,這真是一次難忘另類的畢業旅行.

高雄美國學校 2010 年畢業班的畢業典禮辦得隆重溫馨,學弟妹的獻唱讓大家都哭了!女兒獲得校長獎的殊榮,因為事前完全不知情,實在是意外的驚喜,我們一家人都很開心.雖然捨不得女兒即將遠行,進入另一個階段的求學,但是我們相信她準備好了!她應該能夠面對困難,解決問題,獨立自主,享受青春,快樂生活,祝福她!


開心的一家人

macsisters

promclass 2010

2010年7月9日 星期五

As we go on, we remember, all the times we've had together

4:30 AM. I awoke at the crack of dawn on Friday, 6/18 for Sing-Chung Elementary School's sixth grade and kindergarten graduation. Dragging my tired body, I had just been to 劍湖山 the day before and suffered a serious sunburn on my shoulder, to Kaohsiung train station, I met my friends who looked equally tired. After a bumpy two and a half hour bus ride, we roamed into familiar ground. The village of Bao Lai was half awake and two cars waited to take us back to Sing-Chung Elementary School. It seemed only yesterday that we left the cozy little school that had made so many memories for the Happy Campers.


The Happy Campers back at Sing-Chung elementary school

Mud wrestlers from local villages

Local shaman doing his thang

The ceremony consisted of a very well made "music video" of the children singing 手牽手 in remembrance of the damages of Typhoon Morakot. Next, local dignitaries and mountain officials rambled on and on about "giving back to the community", "the importance of education" blah blah. The ceremony was not particularly short, but still very sweet. I especially liked the dances performed by the first graders and kindergarteners. Chubby little children just kill me (:


The 6th graders receiving their diplomas


The well decorated auditorium

Just the night before I got into an argument with my mom because I was being an IDIOT. Sorry Mom! I almost passed up the trip into the mountains, but I felt like this was one event I couldn't pass up. It was an honor to attend this graduation and see our little friends move on into the next chapter of their lives. How many more graduations will they attend? We Happy Campers are moving on to universities and perhaps grad schools, but when does the road of education stop for these children? We moan about homework and tests, but is that worse than dropping out of school to work in 7-11? I think not. I wish the sixth going on seventh graders the best!

2010年7月8日 星期四

A child is a curly dimpled lunatic

Armed with Ms. Ortiga's advice to find what our students know, what their interests are, and never start teaching the alphabet through the letter "A", we marched into teaching these kids with apprehension. I was assigned to the first graders along with Melissa and Jonathan, and we worried that they wouldn't like us. All the Happy Campers shared the same fear, but we soon realized that they were futile.


See how much they love George?

The kids swarmed around us, especially Georgi, like bees around a honey jar. We were newcomers to them, but to us they were the sweetness on top of the cake. They tried hard to learn the simple English vocabulary we taught them each day, and it made us fill with joy when they would recite the words to us the next day. Even now, they still remember the English names we christened them. It was a joy to plan new lessons for them each day.


By the river

Showing off their snakes

The one thing that is similar between KAS and Sing-Chung Elementary School is the size. Although KAS is a school of around 300 students, and Sing-Chung Elementary school the size of 50, both schools feel like one big family. Every kid seemed to know the other, although not in the best way. Fighting was a huge problem. There wasn't a single day of the week where there weren't at least one kid crying from a boo boo. The most miraculous thing about these kids was the fact that they got over these arguments in a wink. One minutes they could be screaming while pulling each other's hair out, but the next minute they could be holding hands while skipping down the hall.


Tony arranging his rainbow

Jay

It's sad how the older you get, the harder it is to forgive and forget. Perhaps that's not the problem with age, but with society today. City-dwellers find it difficult to trust and treat each new day with skepticism, while those who have very little in the mountains are ready to face each day with a big smile. We came into the mountains hoping to learn about the Aborigines culture, but perhaps, optimism and contentment is the most important lesson we learned.

2010年7月7日 星期三

Hi-ho, hi-ho. It's off to the mountains we go

After an immensely bumpy trip up the mountainous roads of southern Taiwan, we finally arrived at Sing-Chung Elementary School. There to greet us was…NOBODY! Oh. My. Gosh.
Did we remember the day incorrectly? Were we not supposed to be here? Have we ventured into a creepy mountain village filled with cannibals? A few phone calls later, we had the problem sorted out and moved into the community center.


Getting comfortable in our new home

The room was huge but barren except for three long tables, hundreds of foldable chairs, and a couple of ping pong tables. After sweeping and mopping the floors (plus a little dancing while we were at it), our sleeping bags were laid out and it almost seemed like home.


The mopping crew

The village was tiny and it took approximately fifteen minutes to explore the entire thing. The streets were filled with dogs, whether they were owned or strays, I could not tell. The children were a bit like the dogs, whether they were owned or strays, I could not tell. Just kidding. But seriously, tiny 2 year olds were running around in the middle of the street with no parental supervision. There were two convenience stores, and a dodgy looking beetle nut shop called "Barney's Beetle Nut". Hmm.


Barney's beetlenut

防塵, 防菌, 上好袋 !

The police station with two very friendly policemen was charged to provide us with dinners of rice boxes. Lunch was to be provided by the school, and we brought along toast, cereal, and oh-so-special MARSHMALLOW FLUFF to spread on the toast for breakfast.

After prepping for our big day of teaching the next day, the happy campers were lulled to sleep by the hum of mosquitoes and soft flapping of dragonfly wings.


Lunchbox feast

Getting gooey with a s'more

2010年7月6日 星期二

Never start with "A"

This year, we have gone where no seniors have gone before! Our whole class, all 19 of us, participated in two separate volunteer projects, instead of wasting our last two weeks of school falling asleep in class and engaging in general chit chat.


The Happy Campers relax in the teacher's dorm

Although these trips were meant to do the community good, it did our class bad. Because of the riff between some members of the class, we were forced to split into two groups. The part that upset me the most was the secrecy of the other group, hiding their "confidential" project from us like we were never in the same class for four years. I truly regret the fission between our class that will perhaps never mend.


The aftermath of Typhoon Morakot

Pig for dinner, anyone?

Our group decided to teach English to Kindergarteners, first, and second graders at Sing-Chung Elementary School in the mountains of Kaohsiung county. The actual planning was difficult. Everything had to start from scratch. None of us had experience with teaching children, so we were at a lost, but with the help of KAS' pre-K teacher, we planned a week's worth of lessons, consisting of teaching easy vocabulary through children's books.


The intrepid 1st grade teachers - Jonathan, Melissa, me

There were a million other things that needed to be planned- where are we going to stay, what were we going to eat everyday, and the ultimate question: would the kids like us? *grimace* Piece by piece, these concerns all fell into place.


I think they like us just fine (:

People say that the planning sometimes IS the trip. The PTA didn't think we could do it, neither could some parents, but we proved to them that a group of teenagers can be as, if not more, efficient and productive as a group of adults. The planning of this trip was hard, but the gains definitely outweighed the costs.

2010年7月1日 星期四

另類運將


運將送給我們的粉紅豹和烏龜

等綠燈的時候立刻做起來

自備打氣筒

妙手生花

再來一個蘋果

姐姐姐夫,大哥大嫂來台旅遊,八天七夜環島一週,我一看行程表就知道,這樣的安排,總有一天會把陸客嚇跑惹毛的,實在是太趕了!還談什麼旅遊品質?我先和他們在高雄的六合夜市相見,買了蓮霧和釋迦,陪同他們回到下榻的旅館敘舊聊天,雖然不是什麼星級旅館,房間還算是乾淨寬敞.

旅行團從東台灣返回台北,我專程北上.為了不影響台灣導遊的血拼業績,弟弟得大老遠到野柳接人,否則還真要付人頭費才能放行,導遊其實也是一肚子苦水,團費壓太低是品質不良的最大關鍵.最後總算在天母弟弟家再度團聚. 晚餐到底要選在 101 的欣葉台菜或是圓山金龍廳?很難做取捨,想到飯後還要送客人回到桃園下榻的旅館,最後決定就近吃圓山的粵菜.

金龍廳除了有幾張靠窗的桌子可以看夜景以外,真是令人失望!服務一般,沒有熱情,那天正好有人辦喜酒,感覺人手更是不足.幾樣菜吃來淡而無味,不鮮也不香,裝盤更是毫不講究,讓菜餚看起來不但小氣,更引不起食慾.圓山牛小排,百合蝦球,滷水鵝,沒一樣好吃!要了碟辣椒醬來,幾位四川人才勉強吃下半碗飯,沒有酒水,九個人吃了八千多塊,真是太不值得,讓主人面上無光,難怪圓山飯店一直在賠錢!連嚴長壽也救不起來.

我和老媽稍早搭計程車前來天母弟弟家會合,這位運將在車上自備打氣筒和各種大小,形狀,顏色互異的汽球,等綠燈的時候,一會兒做出花朵,一會兒又捏出一個蘋果來,加上原先就做好的粉紅豹和烏龜,我們從台北市的南端上車,一轉眼就抵達最北的天母,一點也不覺得路途遙遠,自娛娛人的運將,是我遇過最另類的一位.


老媽姐姐和大嫂

圓山飯店大廳

提供粵菜的金龍廳

大合照

大陸親友最熟悉的 Grand Hotel

再訪新店雙峰國小


YaoYao 喜歡看書

姐弟將要一起上學

藍色的是後補名單

YaoYao 第三個抽到

YaoYao 已經五歲了!第一個階段,也是最困難的療程總算是渡過了.雙峰國小附設幼稚園,粥少僧多,一位難求,很幸運地, YaoYao 第三個就中籤,暑假過後就可以和姐姐一起搭校車上學,雖然說要比別的小朋友早起一些,但是想到能在環境優美,空氣清新的學校成長學習,辛苦一點也是值得.

為了替千雲參加的樂樂棒球隊加油,我再度來到雙峰國小,等待日僑學校蒞臨比賽的空檔,我陪著姐弟倆在教室裡看書. YaoYao 雖然年紀小,但是比姐姐還靜得下來,他第一次認識什麼叫做書叉,看著他取出一本書來,再把書叉放進去,等一下就知道拿出來的書要放回書叉的地方,他來來回回試了好幾次,興趣盎然.

除了運動細胞特別發達之外,千雲在美術方面的表現也很突出,她的畫作貼在教室後面,很有自己的風格,大眼睛,長捲髮的女人,一看就知道畫的是她的媽媽.一隻有教養的狼,寫來也極富創意.千雲是個愛搞笑,有幽默感的小孩,我常想,我們家族的下一代,到時候要靠千雲來召集團聚了!

遠方秀麗的雙峰,校園裡蒼勁的老榕樹,生態豐富的自然環境,還有得到全國亞軍的營養午餐團隊,造型像熊貓的風雨操場,下雨天也可以安心地上體育課.雖然老妹想得很遠,擔心姐弟倆上國中課業會跟不上,我苦口婆心地勸她,有什麼事情比得上讓一個孩子能每天開開心心地上學更重要呢?!


千雲的作品

千雲寫的 : 一隻有教養的狼

雙峰之間的小學

老樹

風雨操場

這些桶子是做什麼用的呢?要問一問千雲

中日樂樂棒球友誼賽


歡迎的海報早已做好

球員互相認識

互贈紀念品

大合照

先跑一圈熱身再說

日本人的訓練有素

先禮後兵

千雲邀請我和老媽去雙峰國小看她打棒球,對手是日僑學校.週六下午有兩場比賽,二年級和三年級各賽一場.千雲的運動細胞一向很發達,還記得更小的時候,和 April 玩接球遊戲,她丟得又準又有力,完全不輸給大她十歲的姐姐,我想這一定是遺傳至她的媽媽,我的妹妹,這位當年學校的鉛球選手.

日橋學校果然是訓練有素的隊伍,整齊的服裝,看起來精神抖擻,比賽前先跑一圈操場,然後再做暖身操.反觀雙峰國小代表隊,臨時成軍,平常也沒什麼練習,雖然這場比賽的勝負早已分曉,不過透過真正的球賽,讓小朋友熟悉樂樂棒球的規則,禮儀,還有運動精神,應該是除了 " 好玩 " 以外的最大收獲.

從小看棒球的我,還是第一次認識樂樂棒球.橘紅色, PU 泡棉製成的球,比一般的棒球又輕又大,打不破也打不遠,就算被球打到也不會受傷.比賽的時候,球是放在可以調整高度的打擊座上打,投手不投球只防守,不可以觸殺,盜壘,或是滑壘,每隊九人,比賽六局,最多五十分鐘結束,是一種安全又好玩的另類棒球.

千雲每一次上場都能打擊出去,看她踩在壘包上專注的模樣,真是可愛!我們這些場外的啦啦隊,比參賽的球員還要緊張,加油聲此起彼落,我的聲音喊到最後都啞掉了!其實雙峰隊的身材平均比較高大壯碩,只要假以時日,多加練習,應該會有更好的成績.雖然最後比數懸殊,輸給日僑學校,但是因為有千雲在隊上,所以特別覺得比賽精彩又有趣.


千雲打擊

隨時準備跑壘

千雲的個子很高

跑回本壘得分

比賽結束