Saying Goodbye 說再見的時候
I've lived in Taiwan since 1999, and during that time I've said goodbye to a lot of foreign friends. Some of these friends were, of course, more like acquaintances, but others were people that I was genuinely close to. Saying goodbye to close friends is never easy, but in many ways it's the price of being a foreign resident in Taiwan. 我1999年搬到台灣. 住在台灣的這幾年我陸續跟很多外國朋友說再見. 有的外國朋友屬於點頭之交, 有的則是感情很好的朋友. 跟好朋友說再見不是一件簡單的事情, 但這就是當台灣的外國住民的代價.
Most foreign residents don't stay here for long. Yes, there are guys like me who've been around a while, but most people leave after a year or two. Some don't even make it that long. Maybe they get tired of Taiwan. Maybe they get kicked out. Maybe they just have other plans in another part of the world. They all have their reasons, and all of these reasons are equally valid. 大部分的外國住民不會留在台灣很久.大概住一或二年就離開的, 當然也有像我一樣住在台灣很久的. 也有一些住不到一年. 有的厭煩了台灣的生活. 有的則被驅離. 也許他們在世界的另一個角落有其他的計畫. 每個人都有自己的理由. 每個理由都有意義.
At this point in my life, I can't tell you how many times I've been in a bar for someone's big send-off. Sometimes the someone in question is happy to be leaving, and sometimes they are nervous. Sometimes they worry that they'll be on the next plane back to Taiwan, trying to pick up where they left off. "Not to worry," I say, "I'll be here when you get back." 在這個時刻, 我不知道已經幾次在酒吧裡參加朋友的歡送會. 有的人要走的時候很高興, 有的人則很緊張. 有時候他們擔心自己可能馬上又回來台灣. 我會跟他們說 "不用緊張" , "你回來的時候我還在這裡吧."
Very soon I'll see some more friends leaving. Two of these friends, an American couple, are going back to New York. Another of these friends, a local business owner, will be taking his son back to Arizona. I'm sorry to see them go, but I know that the world is a big place, and many people end up going elsewhere. 很快地我又有幾個朋友要離開台灣. 其中兩個朋友是男女朋友, 他們要回去紐約. 另外一個在台灣做生意的朋友要帶他兒子回去亞利参那. 我看他們離開有一點難過, 可是我知道世界很大, 很多人要去很遠的地方追求他的夢想.
Thinking of these foreign friends, so many other faces pop into my mind. The guy I worked with in Hsinchu, with all the tattoos. The girl I taught with in Taichung, who moved back to South Africa. The guy who left for Canada in a great big hurry, desperate to escape a half-crazed girlfriend. I can remember so many people, and my memories of them are mostly good. I've said goodbye to a lot of people over the years, and I'm sure that I'll be saying goodbye to many more in the future. 想到這三位外國朋友的時候, 同時出現許多其他的外國朋友的面孔在我的腦海裡. 一個身上有許多刺青的新竹工作時的同事. 我在台中工作時的一位搬回南非的女同事. 也想起一位急著離開台灣的加拿大朋友, 因為他要躲開他半瘋狂的女朋友. 我想起很多人, 而且那些回憶大多數是好的. 我在十幾年中跟很多朋友說再見. 我也知道以後還會跟很多朋友說再見.
It's not easy to say goodbye. But I suppose there are always new friends, waiting in the future. There are also old friends, whose plans - or lack of plans - bring them back to Taiwan. 跟朋友說再見不容易, 可是未來還有新的朋友等著我們去認識. 也有可能老朋友會回來. 可能台灣在他們的計畫中, 或是他們沒有計畫好, 所以就回來.
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