Monday, May 27, 2013

Then and Now 67 - Odds and Ends 11

Then and Now 67 - Odds and Ends 11
Time: Before I got married.

One night, I was out with Tina so we could have a nice walk and talk in the city at night. We went to a part of town with a couple of department stores still open for business, and lots of independent and chain restaurants serving customers, even at the somewhat late hour. It was very hot that night, and after a long conversation about future plans and school work, we went inside one of the department stores to look around.

It was very wide and tall, and the inside was very impressive. There was a winding escalator that went up about a dozen floors, and when we got up to the second floor, we found a display of miniatures. There were little dolls and houses in traditional clothes and they were all positioned to be farming and working the land, and there was a little waterfall behind them. I didn't take a picture of the scene because I couldn't do it for a different diorama in Then and Now 2 back at my bud's aunt's place and thought it was banned here too, but I really wanted to.

After a while, the two of us went upstairs to the electronics area so I could buy my first, and only, game that I ever got as a single man with my paycheck: Silent Hill - Origins. Before I bought it, Tina tought me how to say "I'll take it" in the local language, I nicked the phrase, then we headed back downstairs to go get something to eat.

Games, girls and grub. It was a nice night.


I was wandering around the city from the hostel one hot day, and I found a snug semi-alley with some independent stores nestled in it. There were quite a few drink places that sold coffee, tea and juice, but I was on a mission that day.

Luckily, I blundered straight into a video store, and was that much closer to picking up Tenacious D - The Pick of Destiny for the party I eventually threw in Then and Now 8. Using simple words, the boss followed my explanations from "Jack Black" to "School of Rock" to "the new movie that he is in." Unfortunately, it wasn't in stock and I wasn't able to rent or buy it that day. But it was ok: May ended up loaning it to me later and the party went off without a hitch, so everything worked out in the end.

With that disappointing news done, I went outside to get a tall glass of frosty orange juice, and continued my travels around the hot town.


My bud and I were at the train station a week or two before we were scheduled to head out to the main city in Then and Now 16, doing research on times and ticket prices and just looking around the city before we got our daily drinks. In the station, there was a man standing on a seat and surrounded by a bunch of locals. He was talking excitedly and gesturing at a big pile of stuff in a few boxes around him. My language skill was still pretty bad then, so I asked my bud what was going on.

Apparently, the man was selling things that had been left in the lost and found for too long, and the other locals were bidding on the items. As a cautionary note, my bud said that he might have just been a thief or a fence selling stolen goods, and that I shouldn't get involved with it. It didn't look like he was selling anything interesting anyway, so we continued on.

A few minutes of looking around later, an older foreign businessman emerged from the train area, and locked eyes onto me. He came over with a worried look on his face, and asked where he could hail a taxi, and how he could get to a hotel in the neighborhood. I said that he could hail one outside, then taught him the words for "I want to go to" plus the name of his hotel. My bud gave him a more accurate translation of the hotel's name, then the two of us walked him outside to get him set up. A few minutes later, the man was gone with a smile and thanks, and my bud and I continued on, train information acquired.


I was wandering around the city one day with my subway map unfolded, checking both it and the street I was crossing to see if I could find something interesting to see. A couple, a foreign guy and a local girl, suddenly greeted me in the middle of the street and asked if I needed help. I was a bit shocked, but not because he was a foreigner or because I was finally speaking English again. It was because this guy not only wasn't giving me stink eyes or purposefully ignoring me like almost every other foreigner I met abroad, but was actually going out of his way to assist me.

I smiled and pretended like I was lost so I could let the two feel happy for "helping" me. I turned around and the three of us headed to the side of the street that they were heading to so we could get our bearings. They found where I was on the map, then pointed me to a museum that I pretended to be looking for. I thanked them a bunch, and with smiles all around, we parted.


I was just outside of the hostel. I was standing on the right side of a road with a fenced off park to my right, some four story apartment buildings to my left, and a gentle decline to the hostel in front of me.

I was behind the main station. There was a collection of local ice cream and dessert businesses to my left, and a little field of grass with a couple of trees in it to my right, and the very top of the main station rose above some tall apartment buildings in front of me.

At both of those moments, my entire body and mind suddenly flooded with a powerful rush of pure happiness and contentment. Everything around me became suddenly clear, and from that day on, both of those memories were seared into my memory like burn-in on an old computer monitor. I was abroad, out on my own, and the whole world was mine to see and experience. Who else was enjoying life to the degree I was? How much I had grown, so much left I had to see. Life was absolutely beautiful.

Slowly, a few seconds later, the feelings faded. And although neither of those times was particularly exciting, they were still perfect illustrations of how happy I was before I got married.

As for today...

I woke up at 5:00.
I played video games.
My wife and son woke up, so I turned off the computer.
I played cars with my son.
I roughhoused with him.
I watched TV.
I ate lunch.
I talked with my son.
I watched internet movies with him.
I played cars with him.
I went to work.
I taught students.
I came home.
I cleaned up the floor and table.
I folded and put away dry clothes.
I started a load of laundry.
I played video games.
I slept.

No comments:

Post a Comment