周末滿忙的。

Quite a busy weekend.

週五傍晚去接祥放學,帕絲卡介紹了韓國媽媽恂姬;恂姬的大女兒 Da-kyum 和祥同年,是這個學期才新來的寄宿生。Da-kyum 的英文程度非常有限,但是個性活潑、不怕生,會想盡辦法溝通,很可愛的一個孩子。恂姬本身的英文 只比 Da-kyum 好一些,帶著四歲的小女兒 Yun-kyo 住在隔我們家一條街的 guesthouse,預計三周後回國。

Met a Korean mum, Soon-hee, when picking Beam up after school last Friday. Soon-hee’s eldest daughter, Da-kyum, is a new boarder in Class 1, same age as Beam. She’s staying at a guesthouse with her 4-year-old daughter Yun-kyo.

帕絲卡帶著我走向恂姬時,夏山的其他 韓國學生(大約四個)正圍著她們母女說話。夏山就是這麼一個充滿正面能量的學校,你不必擔心有人欺負新來的學生,即便英文不佳,總有會說相同語言的師生主 動來關心。帕絲卡還跟我說,芙莎很開心:「耶!以後祥祥不跟我玩的時候,我可以跟別人玩!」聽得我哈哈大笑。

Da-kyum’s English is quite elementary, but she’s willing to communicate and not shy at all. A very sweet child. In a school like Summerhill, you’ll never need to worry about being bullied as a newcomer even if you don’t speak English. There’s always someone who speaks your language coming to rescue, be it a student or a teacher. Free children don’t have a warped point of view on being different — We’re all different after all.

帕絲卡介紹後,恂姬雙眼發亮地說:「聽帕絲卡提起你,我就一直很想認識你!現在終於認識了,好高興喔!我在這裡實在很寂寞很無聊。」我自己當了十年的移民 外加八年的全職媽媽,祥幾乎沒有離開身邊的時刻,所以對於恂姬很能感同身受,恂姬在語言方面有障礙,這些日子一定過得更不容易了。

Soon-hee was obviously delighted, “Pascale told me about you. I want to see you. I’m very happy I see you. I’m very lonely and boring.”

I myself have been an immigrant for ten whole years, and a stay-at-home mum for eight years, with Beam attached to me most of the time, so naturally, I understand how she feels. Mind you, her English is just a little bit better than her daughter’s while I don’t have the language barrier. I can imagine how much harder it is for her.

雞婆個性發作, 當下就邀請她周六來吃晚飯。其實我對於所謂的「社交」非常不在行,無論是言語或行為,算是天秤座的異類吧,畢竟天秤座據說該是十分長袖善舞的。但是,我在 萊斯頓遇到太多太多可愛的人了,所謂「見賢思齊」,我希望把感受到的善意,轉發出去,這才符合我的座右銘:「Be the change you wish to see in the world.」世界和平畢竟是我的終極夢想!

I didn’t think twice, “Would you like to come over for dinner tomorrow?” I’m not a social person, never really know how to be diplomatic. This is probably the only thing that makes me so un-Libra. However, I’ve met so many beautiful people here in Leiston who have made the transition much easier for us, and I’d like to become one of them. I’d like to pay it forward, so as to “Be the change I wish to see in the world.” World Peace is after all my ultimate dream!

原本很壞心,想讓她們母女當我的白老鼠,好好實驗一 番這回帶來的滷肉飯食譜,可是左想右想,畢竟是韓國人,可沒有 Kim 和 Oscar 這樣的純洋人好耍。(那晚在家裡吃 Chinese takeaway,Oscar 竟然說店家的鍋貼沒有我的變種水餃好吃!爽死老娘了~想起媽媽說的:「會不會讓那些洋人以為中國菜就是你這樣胡亂煮的味道?」。。。娘,感謝您的 vote of confidence 吼!)所以,最終決定搞 spaghetti bolognese,煙燻鮭魚+酪梨+菠菜+生菜+紅洋蔥(拌橄欖油+檸檬汁),小黃瓜+紅蘿蔔(提供美乃滋+ pesto 沾醬),甜點則是草莓+藍莓+鮮奶油+meringues;簡單又能填飽肚子。

At first, I thought of making them my guinea pigs. This time round, I brought a Taiwanese pork cook book back with me, and I’ve only experimented one of the recipes on Kim and Oscar, who happened to like what it turned out that night. After much consideration, I gave up the evil plot. Soon-hee is Korean, not angmoh (like Kim and Oscar). She won’t fall for my crappy experiment. I recall how the other night Oscar was telling me that my mutant dumplings tasted much better than the Chinese takeaway. And then there’s my beloved mum wondering, “Are you going to make people in Leiston mistake your (funny) experimental cooking for the authentic Chinese cuisine?” Talk about vote of confidence ~ =P

So! I decided to make something simple yet satisfying — spaghetti bolognese, together with smoked salmon + spinach + lettuce + red onion + avocado (with olive oil + lemon juice), cucumber + carrot (with mayonnaise + pesto dips) and fresh cream + strawberries + blueberries + meringues.

Da-kyum 吃得很開心,直說好好 味喔~只能說,小孩子真的很容易滿足,哈哈!恂姬也說好吃,但我不知道她是不是宥於教養才出此言,嘻嘻。可以確定的是,恂姬很需要有個說話的對象,因為 Da-kyum 只在隔周周末回來,其餘時間,恂姬就是一個人照顧著 Yun-kyo。恂姬說了,雖然 guesthouse  的女主人滿友善,但我們畢竟同是東方人,相處起來還是感覺比較自在。

Da-kyum was very happy with what was in her bowl. Children are quite easy to please, really ~ Soon-hee commented, “Very delicious!” Yet, I’m not sure if she was trying to be polite, keke. What I can be sure is that she needs a listener. When Da-kyums at school, Soon-hee is all alone with her 4-year-old. Though the landlady of the guesthouse is friendly enough, she feels more comfortable with me as we’re both Asian after all.

這點以前也和同學們討論 過。那時除了我,班上有來自西班牙、法國、丹麥、瑞典、韓國、日本、烏克蘭、大陸和印尼的同學,雖然氣氛很融洽,但真正常攪和在一起的,還是韓日中;我們 私下覺得,很多思考邏輯的差異,真的關鍵在於文化背景。這次回新加坡的兩個月,請了日本同學明美當我的日文家教,明美超客氣,直說不敢當(還硬是不收學 費,我真的很拍寫。。。)。每次上課,與其說是學習語言,其實更像文化交流,因為不同的語法、運用場合等等,實實在在反映了文化特質,相當有趣。

I recall how I had the similar discussion with my classmates from China, Korea and Japan about three years ago.  We had quite some European classmates and we did get along well. However, it was the similarities in Chinese, Korean and Japanese cultures that brought us closer. We had a better grasp of each other’s way of thinking.

During this summer vacation back in Singapore, I asked my lovely Japanese classmate Akemi to be my language tutor. We had so much fun every time! In fact, it was more like culture exchange, as how you use the language is fundamentally defined by the culture. Simply amusing!

恂姬很盡興,於是邀請我們周日去她那兒喝下午茶。我知道祥遇上假日都寧可家裡蹲,但是能幫助人總是好的,所以還是答應了,反正不是常常這樣。

I digress (as usual~). Soon-hee and the kids had a great time. She in return invited us to her place for tea the next day. I know Beam prefers staying home on holiday and weekends, but it’s good to lend a helping hand. So I said yes anyway.

當天喝了茶,Da-kyum 說去公園玩吧。風和日麗,的確是外出的好日子。祥和 Da-kyum 各玩各的,很開心;恂姬要照顧比較會發脾氣的 Yun-kyo,稍微辛苦點。

The weather has been lovely nowadays. So after tea, we visited the town park together. Beam and Da-kyum enjoyed themselves while Soon-hee was busy tending to the grumpy Yun-kyo.

回家的路上,有人把舊物擺在前門拍賣,大概是準備搬家了吧。這裡因為治安良好,大家都是這麼做,有興趣的人看是把錢投進準備好的箱子裡,東西拿了就走,或是按門鈴請人出來收錢。在這裡住久了,真的會對人性恢復信心,可見孟母三遷之必要。

On our way home, we saw a bunch of used items being displayed at someone’s front yard. You get to see this quite often. People just place the items at the front yard, and if you like it, you either put the money in the box or tin the seller prepared, or just ring the door bell to pay. That’s one thing I like about Leiston. You start to believe in humanity again and it really grows on you!

我們的收穫是這個原木的熊熊小凳子。我真覺得自己很幸運,不 是一次兩次而已--我想要買個凳子想很久了,因為祥可以墊著幫忙炒菜什麼的,偶爾需要清潔、修理,或坐或墊,都派得上用場,但始終沒有看上眼的。今天在二 手義賣店見到相同的東西,標價是 £14.99,我看了嘴巴直咧到耳後!要知道,二手義賣店的價格比起一般市場行情,已經是便宜了~乖熊熊只花了老娘 £2,真是超幸福的!

I’m thrilled to find this wooden stool. I’d been wanting to buy a stool, but never seen any nice one. Just this morning, I saw the exactly same item at the charity shop with a price tag of £14.99. I couldn’t believe my luck! You know, things in charity shops are generally cheaper… I got it for £2 ONLY! Count my blessings!! Woohoo ~

可愛實用的熊熊原木凳 My lovely bear bear stool