Then and now

(Named so since “growing up” is already the title of a previous post!)

On peers
We talk less about the here and now, as we did as students, and more and more on the topic of future plans. On the other hand, we have a long way before reaching the stage in life where there is a rich past to speak of. Friends come to a weekday dinner in their classy work wear, driving brand new cars, probably deceiving patients (and society) that they are quite grown up, ha! As we go our separate paths with specialisation and training pathways, I ponder too how our friendships will change as we leave the world we shared together as students, and as new graduates being churned through similar rotations.

Brunch-ing with a group of girls from my youth fellowship, I’m surprised at the similarities in each of their plans and timeframes on moving to the next stage in their relationships. At the same time, hearing of other pairs parting ways with the changes brought by graduation and the practicalities of needing to move to separate places for work. Then at church, the strangeness of seeing young ones, obviously employed now, walking in with suits and ties. Of peers leading the congregation at church and starting to deliver sermons.

On thanksgiving
Sharing a simple meal with old friends again, I thank God again for the love and hospitality I received as a student, and the inspiration that is to me to do likewise. This time, the pastor’s son happened to be visiting with his wife, and the two shared about their work with the medical ship that delivers care and supplies to rural areas of PNG. As we talked I remembered the many stories and conversations from the past over the same dining table, or over a hot cup of tea. The elderly lady whom I bought a recipe book from, which she compiled from the locals in the various countries she lived in, in her work with a Bible translation organisation. Recently widowed, she grieved but was determined to continue the cross culture training work she first started with her husband decades ago. The former head of the same organisation and his wife, who were memorable for knack for telling stories and bring people together. I remember too, playing “Where’s Wally” with the youngest child of a missionary family on a break from their work in the Middle East. They spoke of the interesting dialogues they had with Muslim neighbours on the stories of Jesus. And many others!

On travels
Travelling with my cousin who isn’t very young at all, I felt ever so old! Waking up every day at a similar time to any weekday, and feeling disappointed that there was still ages to go before the alarm clock, set for a lazy sleep in, was to go off. Then, for the first time ever, trying to enter a grocery store before realising that it wasn’t open because it was too early in the morning. Getting back, hours later, still having to throw a pillow across the room to wake up sleepy head. Perhaps it was just a transient role reversal.

Going out and wanting not so much to fit in as many activities, shopping, food adventures as possible, and instead favouring the idea of scenic walks, or sitting in a park on a cold sunny day, with my favourite beverage on hand, and something good to read. Not too long back, I would have considered such inactivity an incredibly boring way to spend a day out. Anyway, how is it that students (probably myself included) assume that once you have a job you could spend whatever you like, whenever you like?

On work
Seeing old places of terror, I marvel at how time replaces dread with neutrality and even a touch of affection. Well, bad things are always bad (or else no pay would be required for your time) but become a little less intolerable, or rather, a little more tolerable. Being older seems to come with increasing responsibilities which you fulfil at work, at home, in social situations, whether you feel up to it or not. Prioritising “me-time” over attending class, or being sad and not going to rounds isn’t really an option anymore. I knew that last year, but now I also think that maybe it’s not such a bad thing to be forced to deal with the garden-variety unhappiness of life in a more grown up way. Sometimes, plodding on with the usual is all you can do to deal with really tricky issues too.

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3 Comments

  1. Hey, sister, long time no see! I am back again :)

    过去和现在

    同龄人

    如今我们不再像学生时代那样喜欢讨论目前的状况,而是更多的讨论关于未来的计划。从另一方面,我们的人生也尚未到可以回顾自辉煌过去的阶段。周末晚上聚餐的时候,朋友们穿着漂亮的员工服,开车崭新的车子。大概他们这幅造型能让病人和社会大众误以为他们都是有资历的医生。哈,由于专业和选则和培训之路的不同,我们分道扬镳。因此我很好奇当我们离开共享一个世界的学生时代并经历了毕业生相似的磨练后,我们的友谊是否还能长存。(Not very sure how to translate last sentence)

    当我和一群来自青年团契的女生吃早午餐时,我惊奇地发现她们下一阶段的恋爱的计划和时间表有如此多的相似之处。与此同时,我亦听说有些情侣因为毕业和不得不去不同地方参加工作实习而分手(parting ways means “broke up”?)。然后在教会,当你见到那些明显找到工作的年轻人穿着衬衫戴着领带在那走动,当你看到这些同龄人在教会带领会众开始为讲道尽一份力,就会有种莫名的感觉涌上心头。

    感恩

    和老朋友一起吃便饭的时候,我感谢上帝我学生时受到的关爱和殷勤款待,以及受到的鼓舞。这次,牧师的儿子和他的妻子刚好来探访。他们二位分享了他们和医疗船一起工作的经历。那是一艘为PNG的乡村地区提供关爱和物资的船。我们在聊天时我们想起了发生在同一个餐桌或一杯热茶上的故事和对话。记得有一位年长的女士,我曾经在她那买过食谱。这个食谱是她在不同国家居住,从事圣经机构翻译时编辑而成。最近她的丈夫去世了,她虽然很难过,但她依然决心继续从事和她丈夫几十年前开始的跨文化训练工作。我依然记得,那位同一个机构中的前领袖和他善于讲故事和把人聚集到一起的妻子,她们曾在中东工作的假期和一群宣教家庭的小孩子玩“Wally 去哪了”。他们的谈话涉及到他们和那些穆斯林的邻居的许多关于耶稣的有趣对话,以及其他许多话题。

    旅行

    我的表弟(David right?)年龄不小了,因此和他一起旅行的时候就更觉得自己年长。每个工作日的早上,我几乎在同一时间起床的时间起床。我感到有些失望因为闹钟要过好些时候才会响。于是为了睡懒觉我重置了闹钟。(“set for a lazy sleep in, was to go off” I have no idea what here talk about. You reset the alarm and went back to sleep again?)然后我来到一家便利店,发现因为来得太早还没开门。我还是第一次遇到这样的事。几个小时后我回到方房间,还要通过扔枕头唤醒那个瞌睡虫。(You threw pillow on David to wake him up right?)也许这只是暂时的角色互换。

    走出户外后我不愿花太多时间在许多诸如购物和饮食的活动上。我喜欢在美景中漫步,或者在一个阳光明媚的寒冷早晨,品味着我最喜欢的饮料,读着自己喜欢的读物。不久前,我还认为这种禁止活动的行为是一种极其无聊的消遣方式。不论如何,究竟是什么原因才会让学生们(也许包括我自己在内)假定自己一旦有了工作就可以自由自在地花钱了。

    工作

    我对老地方感到恐惧。我对时间如何能将惧怕的情感变为中性,甚至带有一丝温情感到惊奇。不错,坏事始终是坏事(或者那时候你没有付代价),但是这些事会得不再那么难以忍受,甚至会变得可以容忍。不论你觉得是否可以胜任,变老意味着你在工作,家庭和社会情境中有着更多责任。将自己的时间摆在上课之上,或者因为伤心就不去做该做的事已经不再是个选择了。我去年就明白了这个道理,但是现在我认为用一种更成熟的方式去处理平常生活中的各种无奈,这未必是件坏事。有时候,面对各种真正的难题,你真正能做的也就只是努力地做好平常的事。

    Reply

    1. 1. I think the last sentence first paragraph on friendship was fine.
      2. Parting ways is 分手快乐祝你快乐… Just kidding. Yeah it just means to break up.
      3. I’m not going to say which cousin is lazy haha! I just meant I got up a lot earlier than I was supposed to, before my alarm clock went off.

      I think there’s a few things in the last paragraph that’s different too but that’s okay. Anyway like we said, if you want to translate can you please just do the non-personal ones / Bible ones? Thanks :)

      Reply

      1. Sure, this time I will focus on Bible ones. This is what I am going to do even u did not tell me. Actually I like translating the biblical one more than personal stuff for those share is encouraging and thought-provoking. I can write the review as my own article as well. The next work I am going to do is ur Meat Issue trilogy. Let’s wait and see. Anyway, before I just randomly select articles I like to practice. Now I will not touch the personal one until I finish all Bible-related essays.

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