作自己 Be Yourself

Yesterday afternoon, Pat called in to pass their spare Daily Mail to me. Also, her baby girl Judith came to say HELLO ~ It was a pleasant surprise really. Judith made this short trip all the way from the US just for Pat’s 70th birthday without letting the parents know beforehand. Having missed Mum’s 60th birthday,  Judith decided not to miss her 70th.

How sweet!! I recall how I once arranged a trip back to Taiwan with Beam and Boey. A week before our actual arrival date, I rang Dad, saying that I’d just posted a parcel to them so please make sure they would not be away for the next few days so as to sign for the delivery. Dad happily promised they’d be home.

One day before our arrival, I called Dad again, asking (cunningly!) if the parcel had been delivered. Well, you know the answer. I was just trying to make it sound more real.

THE day had finally come. When the three of us reached the house, I let Boey ring the door bell and respond, with one of his nostrils covered, to Dad’s ‘Who is it?’… ‘Parcel!’

We heard the living room door opening, and Dad putting on his slippers then coming out. When he opened the door, Beam hopped out from the corner, ‘BOO!!!’

I will never forget the big grin that immediately ‘burst’ on Dad’s face. He gave Beam a bear hug and called Mum, ‘It’s Xiang Xiang! They’re back!!’

I can be sure we were the happiest people in the world that day.

This is my first time meeting Judith but we did sort of correspond via snail mail in June. Marilyn, her daughter who was enjoying her summer vacation at the grandparents’, secretly passed a letter from Judith to me one day. They were planning a surprise party for Pat’s and Stephen’s 50th anniversary in the US. Part of it was to ask their friends sending a greeting card to the US and hopefully they could get at least 50 cards in total for the decoration.

I made a card for Pat and Stephen, together with two scenery postcards from Taiwan to tell Judith how lucky and grateful Beam and I felt to have Pat and Stephen in our life.

After they came back from the US in early August, one day, during our chitchat, Pat suddenly beamed at me, ‘Marilyn said, “From now on, I’m going to say it like Ja — Have a happy day!”‘

Puzzled, I asked, ‘Isn’t everybody saying that?’

Pat nodded, ‘Oh yes. Everybody’s saying that, particularly the Americans. But you know, the way they do it has sort of become a habit, like, for the sake of it, which doesn’t seem to be sincere any more. But you, you do it in such a cheerful and sweet way which distinguish yourself. You’re just being you.’

I was blushing. Turning 38 in one month’s time and I still haven’t mastered the art of taking compliments.

It’s always interesting to see myself through others’ eyes. Like this test result I’ve got on Blogthings.


You Make a Good First Impression


You probably are making a much better impression than you realize.
Social situations can be a bit awkward for you at times, and you tend to over think what you say and do.If you make a social faux pas, you remember it a lot longer than anyone else does.Just relax and do your best. There are little things you can do to improve your social image.Express more of an interest in the people around you, and be a good listener.The secret of fascinating people is that they find everyone else fascinating!

About two weeks ago, after having (yet again!) cleaned our garden for us, John asked me, ‘You’re going away?’

Guess he overheard the chat by the fence between Jenny and me. Jenny is his wife.

I nodded, ‘Yup. We were supposed to leave for Singapore in late July, but it’s since been postponed as my visa and passport are still travelling.’
‘For… for good?’

I looked at him in horror then started giggling, ‘Nooooooo ~ I love it here. Beam loves it here. It’s just for the school holiday really.’

John was obviously delighted, and relieved as well, to hear that, ‘Oh good! We don’t want you to leave!!’

These words certainly made my day!!!

I felt I had to joke about how it might be that John simply enjoyed working on my mini jungle because in the East we were taught to honour ‘modesty’ which, very often, means when you receive some praise you deliberately deny it one way or another. What puzzles me is — Why can’t we just accept them with humility if they are true?

Deep down, in my whole life, I’ve never felt so recognised and appreciated before. And it all came at the right time, because I had been feeling quite drained and self-doubts were gradually crawling up my spines.

Just like when Miss Lithuania said to me on Facebook that I was her inspiration. It really boosts my self-worth, but frankly, most of the time, I just don’t really know what I’ve done to receive such positive feedback which is truly reassuring.

Maybe, Pat has after all put it correctly, ‘You’re just being you!’

What a great revelation!


You Are A Good Friend


You’re always willing to listen to your friends.
And you’re the first to lend a shoulder to cry on.You’re there through thick and thin. You won’t stop being friends with someone when times are tough.In fact, you’re such a good friend that many people consider you their “best friend”!

You Are Charming and Natural


If someone were to ask you your secret to life, you’d just have to shrug. You don’t know how you do it!
You are naturally happy, friendly, and likable. You never try to be anyone else, and you don’t aim to impress.You are refreshingly honest and simple. People know what they get with you, and that’s reassuring.You are humble and sweet. You don’t know why anyone would consider you special, and that’s exactly what makes you so special.

You Are Self-Aware


You are a deeply introspective person. You believe that the most important thing is to be true to yourself.
You are quite vulnerable, but only because you work hard to let down your walls.You are emotionally honest at all costs. You know how to express your truth.You have a serious side, but you also can be uproariously funny. You have a good sense of irony.

昨天下午,派蒂把多買的 Daily Mail 給我,還帶了一個驚喜:茱蒂!

茱蒂是特地回英國來幫派蒂慶生的,因為錯過了派蒂的六十歲生日,她不願意再錯過七十大壽。而且,事前保密到家,就為了給媽媽 SUPRISE!!

派蒂說,兒子一直覺得茱蒂瘋了,就為了這個只回來短短幾天。我興奮地像是自己也有參一咖,「怎麼會?!我也會做這種事啊!最喜歡了!」

那一年,趁著熊貓還沒到職,我安排了一趟驚喜之旅回台灣。出發前一周,我打電話告訴爸爸,今天剛寄了個包裹,郵局說可能四、五天會到,所以這段時間不要遠行喔。爸爸說沒問題啊。我們父女倆最愛相互寄東西了。

出發的前一天,我特地再打了一次電話,假惺惺問包裹到了嗎?爸爸說沒有呢,我說哦,看看明天會到嗎。。。

到了家門前,按了門鈴,讓熊貓捏著鼻子假裝是郵差:「掛號!」接著,就聽見爸爸開門,窸窸窣窣地穿上拖鞋,啪嗒啪嗒走來開鐵門。

開門的霎那,祥訓練有素地從旁邊猛地跳出來:「BOO!!」

爸爸又驚又喜,一把把祥抱在懷裡,趕緊回頭對屋裡的媽媽說:「是祥祥欸!珮萱他們回來了!!」

那一刻,爸爸臉上的開懷笑容,深深鐫刻在我的心房了。

我是第一次跟茱蒂見面,不過,這之前倒是就已經通過郵件接觸了。她女兒瑪莉琳在這裡過暑假的時候,有一天偷偷帶了封信給我,原來是茱蒂和美國的親友為派蒂和史蒂芬計畫了一場金婚紀念的驚喜派對,希望可以募集到五十張賀卡,作為場地裝飾的一部分。

我作了張卡片給派蒂和史蒂芬,然後又附上了兩張台灣的風景明信片,告訴茱蒂,我和祥有多麼幸運能夠認識她的父母。

他們夫妻八月初從美國回來後,某日閒聊中,派蒂突然笑笑地說:「瑪莉琳說她以後都要像你一樣說:『快樂喲!』」

聽得我一頭霧水,這不是很平常的問候語嗎?大家都這麼說的呀。

派蒂點點頭:「沒錯,是很平常,尤其在美國。但是,你知道,對很多人來說,這已經成了一種例行公事,所以你感受不到真心。你不同,就是因為你能讓人感受到熱血和真誠。你是真正在作自己。」

我臉紅了。再一個月就要過卅八歲生日了,對於如何從容接受讚美,卻還是有待學習。

無論如何,能夠從別人的眼裡看自己,始終是很有意思的一件事,好比這個 Blogthings 的測驗結果:

你給人的第一印象,往往優於你自己所推論的。對你來說,社交場合有時候會讓你不自在,所以你很容易就過度分析自己當時的言行。如果出糗了,你會耿耿於懷,但其實別人可能早遺忘了。放輕鬆作自己吧!

大約兩個星期前,總是幫我們清理迷你叢林的約翰問我:「你們要離開是嗎?」想來是聽到了稍早我和珍妮(他太太)在圍籬旁的閒聊。

我點頭回道:「是阿,原本預定是七月底走,不過我的簽證和護照都還沒回來,所以延期了。」

約翰突然有點小結巴:「是。。。是不回來了嗎?」

我瞪圓了眼,給他一個被嚇壞的表情:「當然不是啦!我愛這裡,祥也愛這裡,我們只是回去過暑假而已。」然後咯格笑了起來。

約翰鬆了好大一口氣,很開心的模樣:「太好了!我們真的不希望你們走!!」

這段對話,讓我持續了幾天的好心情。

之後和朋友談起的時候,我開玩笑道,也許約翰太 enjoy 整理我們的迷你叢林了;其實,我是在掩飾自己的尷尬。我們的傳統文化裡,謙虛是如此被尊崇的美德,很多時候,似乎不得不刻意否定這類的讚美,才是合乎社交 禮俗。我不懂的是,如果別人是發自內心的真誠讚美,為甚麼我們不可以從容大方地接受呢?只要不驕傲張狂就好了呀。

事實是,我真的從沒有感到過如此被肯定和欣賞。這陣子已經被某些關係搞到精疲力盡,開始懷疑自己了,所以這些鼓勵的話語來得正是時候。

就像娜塔在臉書上公開說我啟發了她,雖然百分百增強了自信,但坦白說,大多數的時候,我對於自己「究竟幹對了什麼」以至於能得到如此的評價,其實有如丈二金剛摸不著頭腦。

或許,派蒂說得對:「你是真正在作你自己。」

還有什麼比這更振奮人心的啟示呢?

3 thoughts on “作自己 Be Yourself

  1. Pingback: Lucky Happy Day | Beyond The Cloud ~ 滇貓的 mishmash

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