2016年6月5日 星期日

Me, Fifteen Years Ago 十五年前的我

"International Street" 國際街

Fifteen years is a long time, but not as long ago as twenty.  I've also revisited some of my haunts from those days more recently, and I'm still in contact with many people from that part of my life.  Whereas remembering 1996 is an act requiring serious concentration, recalling 2001 is much easier.  十五年是一段很長的時間, 可是比不上二十年.  我最近再一次去當時喜歡去的地方, 也跟那時的朋友保持聯絡.  回想1996年發生過的事很困難, 但回想2001年就簡單多了.

In 2001 I was 26.  I had been in Taiwan for a year, I was fairly acclimated to the country (if not the language), and I was both married and the father of a baby girl.  This baby girl is - if you care to do the math - now almost 16 years old.  She's also on her way to senior high school very soon.  2001年的時候我二十六歲.  我那時候已經在台灣一年了, 也習慣在這邊的生活方式 (除了講中文之外).  我那時候已婚, 也有了個女兒.  當時的小女孩現在已經十六歲, 快要讀高中了.

By that time I'd been working in a private kindergarten for a year, and I'd revisited Seattle with my wife two times.  Our second trip back involved a massive car trip across six states, and many good times with family and friends.  I still enjoyed going back "home," but I was beginning to see myself as someone better suited to life in Taiwan.  那時我已經在一所私立幼稚園上班一年, 也跟我太太回去西雅圖兩次.  我們第二次回去的時候開車去了六個州, 也跟親戚朋友創造了許多美好的回憶.  我那時候還是很喜歡回"家", 可是我越來越習慣台灣的生活方式.

We were living in Taichung City.  We had an apartment on Yuan Dong Street, not far from Taichung's famous International Street and close to Tung Hai University's north entrance.  The neighborhood was fairly quiet, and in the evenings it was a great place to go running.  Taichung's Municipal Park wasn't a popular destination back then (it had just opened), and they hadn't yet begun construction on the Science Park.  At that time, that part of the city was relatively undeveloped.  我們那時候住在台中市.  我們租了一間遠東街上的公寓.  那間公寓靠近台中有名的國際街, 離東海大學北邊的入口很近.  那個社區比較安靜, 晚上的時候在那裏跑步也很方便.  那時候台中的都會公園剛完成, 附近沒有那麼多人, 中科也還沒開始施工, 所以那邊大多沒有什麼發展跡象.

The school where I worked, Jump Start English School, was about ten minutes down the hill from where I lived.  This school has since closed forever, but back then it was doing very well.  They had several campuses throughout the city, and taught both kindergarten and elementary level students.  If the owners had managed their business better, they'd probably still be around.  我在博克徠美語學校上班.  從我家下山到學校要十分鐘.  這所學校現在已經結束營業了, 可是那時候他們的學生很多.  他們在台中市有幾個校區, 除了幼稚園學生外, 也教國小學生英文.  如果老闆管理的好的話, 他們的學校現在應該還在吧?

I got along well with my coworkers, and I genuinely liked my job.  This was when I really got into the swing of teaching small children, and this was also when I learned (or invented) a lot of the tricks I still use today.  Of all the years I've been teaching - and there have been many - this was probably my favorite year.  我跟大部分的同事都相處愉快, 也很喜歡我的工作.  在這裡我教小朋友的能力越來越好, 很多當時學會的教學技巧我目前還在用.  從我好幾年教書的經驗來說, 這是我最喜歡的一年.

Duck restaurants: a popular hang out for ducks.

Remembering what I ate back then is a little more difficult.  There was a buffet place near our house that I visited often, and also a duck restaurant near my school.  My favorite restaurant was probably a Thai restaurant on Jung Gong Third Road.  要記得我當時經常在什麼餐廳吃飯比較難.  我們常去住家附近的一家自助餐, 我學校附近也有一家燒臘餐廳.  我那時候最喜歡的餐廳應該是中工三路上的一家泰國餐廳.

Back then I had a weird habit of visiting a cemetery between my school and my apartment.  This cemetery now lies somewhere under the Science Park, and most people living and working there probably don't even know it was there.  It was the quietest place I knew of, and I liked going there to think.  我那時候有個奇怪的習慣.  我煩惱時會去位於我家跟我學校中間的公墓.  那個公墓已經在科學園區底下了.  在科學園區上班的人應該不知道之前的公墓.  那個地方真是我家附近最安靜的, 我喜歡在那裏想事情.

I was listening to a lot of early 70s progressive and hard rock at that time.  Bands like Yes, Deep Purple, and the occasional jazz album.  There was a cool CD store near Feng Jia Night Market that I frequented, and I have many fond memories of that place.  我那時候聽很多1970年代的前衛搖滾跟hard rock的音樂.  類似Yes或是Deep Purple那種樂團, 還有些是爵士唱片.  逢甲夜市附近有一家我很喜歡的唱片行.  我很懷念那個地方.

I think I was pretty happy with my life during that year.  I was a new father, I had been married for about a year, and I enjoyed my job.  I liked exploring Taichung by scooter, and also the area between the Science Museum and the Art Museum on foot.  It was a little weird to be a new father, new husband, and suddenly find myself slightly alienated from single friends, but that happens.  In time I learned how to adjust.  那一年我對自己的生活很滿意.  我結婚沒多久, 是個新爸爸, 也喜愛我的工作.  我喜歡騎機車在台中探險, 也喜歡在科學博物館跟美術館間散步.  當爸爸跟結婚會離單身的朋友們遠一點, 可是這是很自然的事情.  我之後習慣了新的生活方式.

I haven't been back to Taichung in at least a year, but there's always the possibility that I'll revisit it in the summer.  It's certainly a lot noisier and a lot more crowded than when I lived there, but certain areas haven't changed all that much.  我大概有一年沒去臺中了, 今年暑假我可能有機會去到那裡.  現在那裡比我當年住的時候多了很多人, 也比較吵鬧, 但有的地方並沒有什麼改變.

Really though.  Fifteen years isn't all that long.  If you think it is, you probably aren't as old as me!  真的!  十五年不算很長的時間.  你覺得不以為然的話, 那你的年紀一定比我還小!

San Min Road 三民路.  I used to walk around here a lot, too.

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