Sunday, 18 February 2018

新春快乐


正好十年前,我与家人身在澳洲柏斯度过我人生中第一次在国外的农历新年。那一年,年夜饭我们吃什么我已经忘记了。那时候科技无法和今日堪比,我虽然有了Skype账户,但在异国没有个人电脑。印象中我不会觉得很悲伤。大年初一时,我们一样换上了新衣裳,却无处可去拜年。

那一次回国以后,我以为我日后大学时期一定会年年在国外过年……

说来也真凑巧,十年之后我又在国外过年。不同的是,我今年身在北半球,没有家人,没有新衣裳。也许正是这样,我觉得异常地孤独。在近日地自省中,我发现自己近年来愈来愈承受不了一些事情,譬如说孤独。我了解到这些感受的形成不是因为身处异地,在新山时就曾经出现。孤零零一个人,没能够与人互动。原来我真的需要人与人之间的互动。这几天里,我都是独自一人在台北游走,看到其他人都全家出动,更加凸显我的孤寂。

今年的年夜饭,至少还有一位朋友在离开与家人团聚前和我一起在员工餐厅享用。员工餐厅推出的年夜饭特餐,是平时双倍的价格(相较于外面的餐厅还是很便宜),没有我们想象中的美味。用餐时连电视机都没开,没有贺岁歌曲,没有新春布置,用餐的人也不多。这一顿年夜饭,是我用手剥开芦柑时才感受到一丝新春气息。饭后,我依着我们家最近六年的“新传统”,在网上收看《央视春晚》,沾上了比较浓烈的新年味儿。

虽然我在台北过年,气氛应该不比国内差。结果错了。之前在当地小组聚会里有台湾人好奇地问我们马来西亚华裔是怎么地过年的。这是我头一次被问这样的问题,而且还是在台湾这个以华人为主的地方,有点奇怪及错愕,当下脱口而出:“就和你们一样啊“。朋友说我当时的回答有点失礼。有人说其实马来西亚华人过年的气氛会比中国台湾来得浓郁。我后来也领略了。这几天我在台北穿梭,还没看见舞狮舞龙和听见敲锣打鼓。可能我刚好在的地方都没有吧。不过,在除夕夜还是有听见鞭炮声。还记得当年在柏斯新年还看得见舞狮的表演呢。

另外值得一提的是,大家也许注意到我都一直说“新年”。原来在台湾,以华人为主的社会,大家都不会像在马来西亚说“农历新年”。新年期间,这个差异在朋友互传的贺词中更加明显。在马来西亚这个多元民族的社会,新年泛指阳历新年,我们还有农历、回历及其他的新年。因此,在节庆时大家都会说得仔细些。我在台北生活了几个星期,也发现其他用词的差异,下次再分享。

在我一个人旅行途中,看见了其他孤独的身影,大部分是属于白人的。这时候,我告诉自己要学习他们的独立,毕竟我是一个人地来到这个世界,以后也只能一个人离开。孤独是无可避免的,应该要把握机会珍惜与自己相处的时间,好好地和自己生活。

Sunday, 11 February 2018

迎接孤寂

今年一开始,觉得今年对我来说是旅游年。我将会到几个我没到过的地方去短暂居住。当我和其他朋友提起我今年的行程时,大家都报以羡慕的眼光。就算没有羡慕,也会露出惊叹。老实说在出发前我是满怀期待的。今年会是一场冒险,就算不会太华丽。为此我做了准备:买了新电脑。我认为轻薄的新型电脑将给我带来方便。

客观来说,到目前为止我也经历许多美好的事。譬如说我上周爬了雪山,见识了这里的医疗设备,游玩了好几个不错的景点。可是,我往往在出发前忘了,不高兴的事也会在等着我。
由于我自小连续三年读了三所学校,我自认自己的适应能力比别人强。因此,我以为今年要在一年里呆几个地方应该没问题。我好像错了。在台北一个星期后,我就想天哪我还要多呆六周。虽然台北和槟城的环境不会有太大的差异,但这是身处异地的问题。是身处异乡的孤单,是身处异乡的寂寞。纵使这里一切新鲜,还是怀念故乡的老味道。来到台北,遭遇了寒流,开始想念家乡的温暖。也因为这样的湿冷天气,唤起了我多年前在欧洲游玩的记忆。湿湿、冷冷、累累,很不好受。

在这里所经历不好的事情,也算是这趟旅程的一部分。偶尔会去想如何转换思绪,不去以“熬”的心态度过这个月。我提醒自己要珍惜在这里的机会,好好地感受这里的生活。最好记录旅行的方式,就是充分利用自己的感官实在地感受一遍。照片能留影,录影能留声,文章能留字,唯有五官的整合可以把每一段经历化为人生中不可磨灭的经验。


在这里我会孤寂,就像在北海以外的地方一样。下个星期,当大家都在与亲友团聚的时候,我将会孤独一人。我仅剩的朋友们,都会和家人团圆。我必须坚强,不要被忧郁和孤独打倒。

Friday, 2 February 2018

Alvin and I

This is a long due post to begin with. It is written in English only for one reason, which is to allow my ex-roommate to be able to read, as this post is dedicated to our friendship.

Absence makes the heart grows fonder. It has always been so. I am currently in Taipei, and Alvin is in Melbourne. This is the first time in Medical School we did not see each other when a new term begins. In a cold and quiet night like this (12 degree Celsius), I take time to recall what this friendship has imprinted on me throughout the past four years.

Perhaps it is good to start with how we got to know each other. It was back in 2012, the year which was supposed to be the year of apocalypse. On my first day at Taylor’s College, I remember vividly how the students introduced themselves. Alvin was wearing a black T shirt with “We were Cash less, and we are Job less”, referring to the passing away of Johnny Cash and Steve Jobs. During that one and a half years, we were sort of in the same circle because we were sitting at the same side of the aisle of desks. Those were wonderful days.

In 2014, I dragged my feet to Monash. I never thought I would be ended up here. My mum’s friend found me a single room in a landed house. The place is quite a distance from Monash, and it only has a mattress and a coffee shop table. I did not want to stay there. I heard that Alvin was going to Monash as well, so I called him up to enquire what was his accommodation arrangement. I visited the Residence and thought it was a decent place to stay, but it does not provide single room. However, I was told I could stay with friends with additional charge of RM 100. I contacted Alvin again, and that’s how we became roommates.

I always hear the amazement of other people when they know we could stay together for such a long time with no problems. I would say it just happened that we could adapt to each other’s habit rather well. On top of that, Alvin has an altruistic personality. He is always my instant help when I need it. 
For the first two years of medical school, he has to cope with a depressed roommate. He was the sole audience of my personal matters, and he knew me inside out. In the first year, I was clinically depressed because I could not further my studies in overseas. In the second year, I was hit by relationship problems.

There were too many great moments we spent together, which I can’t possibly write it all here. The heart-to-heart talks at night, the gossip time and so on. We tried cooking instant noodles using hot water and a container since cooking is not allowed in the hostel. The good thing was we had the chance to cook so many good food once we moved to JB. I miss his chicken rice, and I definitely will try cooking it again. In Year 4, we went all the way to look for shooting stars with others, but in vain. And of course, Alvin took care of me when I was admitted to the hospital in Year 3.

One of his good characters I appreciate most is, Alvin is willing to spend time with his friends. When I isolated myself last time, he would accompany me for meals even though he has eaten already. This action absolutely helped in my recovery from depression.

Even though we will not see each other as often, I believe our friendship will remain. I am looking forward to the day we will meet and talk about it again years later. Alvin has visited me in Butterworth, and it shall be my turn to visit him next time. I guess his residence will be the first place I set foot in East Malaysia. Till then, all the best to Alvin, may God bless you.


Monday, 29 January 2018

二十四岁生日

这是我有生以来第二次在国外过生日。上一次正好是十年前。那时候我们家原本打算移居澳洲柏斯,最后因故取消。我依稀记得那一年也没什么特别,可能是我们刚到那里不久吧。记忆中,那一天是澳洲国庆的第二日,正好是夏天,天气比马来西亚还要炎热。

今年,感谢大家为我提早庆祝生日。来到台北,我也没有期盼什么庆祝活动。26日傍晚,我们一行人在外用餐后,抵抗寒冷的天气在宿舍附近天母区逛了一圈。一路上有看见许多蛋糕店,一位朋友想驻足看看,我却没什么兴趣。说实在的,这个星期里也看过了不少蛋糕店,我也知道那位朋友喜爱烘焙糕点,所以不觉得什么异常。

回到宿舍,我到公共浴室洗澡。回到房里,我发现我的新室友文希不在房里。我检视他的鞋子,发现拖鞋还在,包鞋却不见。我马上明白什么事了。他穿上包鞋,意味着他不在宿舍里。他没通知我独自出门,肯定事有蹊跷。我便传简讯对宝贝说他们将要给我个惊喜。那时我猜他们三个会捧着蛋糕到我们房里,自己也想给他们惊喜,所以便躲到宿舍层楼的公用厅里。

等了许久,却没什么动静。这时,文希穿简讯要求我到底楼接他上来,他忘了带钥匙。我心想:原来就这招。我暗示性地回答他我已梳洗完毕了。我知道他们此刻一定守在升降梯前,本想使用楼梯走到底楼,来个反惊喜。不过后来我想,大家有意为我庆生,就不要让大家扫兴了。我虽然乘着升降梯下楼,但手里早就准备好手机录影。


我感激他们在寒风狂吹的日子还愿意外出帮我买蛋糕。那位朋友之前试图“探测”我喜爱的口味,我却没有透露,他们只好选了抹茶口味的。其实,什么口味我都可以接受,感谢大家的心意!

Monday, 22 January 2018

初到台湾

今天是在台湾的第二天。天气不会太冷,感觉像是在金马伦。

我来和大家说个笑话。从机场搭包租车到台北时,由于我们一行四人,必须有个人坐前座。我自然地自告奋勇走向左前座。打开车门看见驾驶盘,还迟疑了一下。这时司机刚搬完行李,就说如果我要开车那很好,他要休息一下。我就这样抵台不到一小时就出糗了。

今天在医院认识了两位学长,是实习医生。来到这里有当地人帮忙做起事来方便轻松多了。

其实台北给我最初的印象是和槟城没差。昨天身处于人来人往的西门町时,我想家了。这也是我始料不及的。我一直认为自己热爱探险,没想到会有打包回府的念头。

接下来还要在这里呆上几个星期呢。

到目前为止,心里还会觉得不舒服。这是因为这次旅居几周,我将错过宝贝的生日、情人节和农历新年。这是我去年申请时没有预料的事。在这里还是要和她抱歉了。

此刻的心情是:我要回家。

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

假期结束

时间一点一点地逼近我将要启程的时刻……

每年一直盼望的年终假期,如过往一般,又来到了尾声。失落的心情并没有随着年龄的增长而改变,也没因为经历的次数多了而变淡。每当这个时候,我都会忙着打包行李。然而偏偏也是这个时候,我会很繁忙。

这一次,同往年不一样的是我即将飞往台北展开七个星期的学习。这次行程,因为是出国的缘故,而且还是我没去过的国家(虽然我觉得这好像没有关系),我收拾的行李和前几年都不一样。有很多事项需要多加考虑,气候只是其中一项。

今年的假期,我发现有个不一样的地方。那就是我呆在家的时间比较长。从前我都有很多朋友聚会,今年就连我的家人也都发现了这一点。我想这是因为离开家久了,觉得有必要多陪陪家人。虽然我知道多相处就会有摩擦,但我还是尽量和父母吃午餐。我家的传统是晚餐大家齐齐在外婆家吃。前几年,午餐我都会邀约朋友一起享用。这两个月,偶尔还会约大哥出来一家人吃午餐,享受短暂的会面时间。

另外一个重要原因,就应该是身边的好友都有了工作,时间方面无法随意支配。这使得和朋友的聚会都会在周末举行。

话说回来,收拾行李其实是一项技术活。我这两个星期就只为这事伤脑筋。要完美地收拾行李,需要有过人的策划能力、执行组织能力和想象力。我需要策划所需的衣着用品,并用想象力尝试模拟可能会遭遇的情况,而且还需要聪明地把所有物品都挤在有限的空间里。事实上,不是把所以东西堆在行李箱就行了。由于我此行不是马上抵达最终目的地,途中会在吉隆坡和台北一处下榻,因此在收拾行李时会考量这一点,以便我不必每次逗留都要把行李翻一遍。

此刻的心情是复杂的。为着假期而失落,因为行李而烦恼,由于开学而紧张,能够出国而兴奋。无论如何,我真希望有时间可以放空自己的思绪,好好轻松一下。