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The "Wu Word" Blog

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The Swimmer

Posted on November 14, 2019 at 7:48 PM Comments comments ()
However, worst of all, other swimmers complained about him.   They called him “grumpy” (I did not see that at all) and claimed that he kept disrupting their swims.  After a swim that was thrown off by the swimmer, I glimpsed each disgruntled person march over to bored lifeguards to gripe about the swimmer.  I felt bad for the swimmer, so I one day took the plunge of purposefully choosing to swim with him in a lane.  Lane one.  My favorite.  He looked surprised and asked, “So, you swim there and I swim here? Just the two of us?”

“Sure,” I replied with a big smile. 

He looked at me like he was trying to figure out what the catch was and then what to say.  His confused tension faded away and his eyes sparkled with joy.  There was that big gap-toothed grin again.  He said to me softly, “You are kind.”   
 
On the day that I swam with the swimmer, I spoke with his aide.  She told me about the swimmer in the midst of furiously texting, “Anyone who meets him knows something is wrong with his mind.  His memories are going.  But, he just wants to make friends and connections.  Swimming is good for him.  His mind and to meet other people.” 

With a towel wrapped over my shaking cold body that was dripping with chlorinated water, I looked at the swimmer who was methodically swimming underwater.  I knew all too well how necessary swimming was in my life.  It was my therapy.  It was my security.  It was a happy place I slipped into to actually try to FORGET a bad day and bad memories and moments rather than REMEMBER them, but it was also the place I received clarity, strength, rejuvenation, and a different perspective on bad moments and memories.  Yet, here was the swimmer trying to bring clarity to his losing mind and memories all through swimming.

The Swimmer

Posted on November 14, 2019 at 7:47 PM Comments comments ()
With a towel wrapped over my shaking cold body that was dripping with chlorinated water, I looked at the swimmer who was methodically swimming underwater.  I knew all too well how necessary swimming was in my life.  It was my therapy.  It was my security.  It was a happy place I slipped into to actually try to FORGET a bad day and bad memories and moments rather than REMEMBER them, but it was also the place I received clarity, strength, rejuvenation, and a different perspective on bad moments and memories.  Yet, here was the swimmer trying to bring clarity to his losing mind and memories all through swimming.

One day and I think maybe after all the complaints from all the swimmers, the swimmer did not show up.  The day turned into days and weeks.  The swimmer was nowhere to be found.  I found myself thinking and wondering about him when I was underwater in my favorite lane one.  I was remembering his slow and steady strokes that were a reminder for all of us and me to stop and slow down rather than rush and ignite anxiety and impatience.  Remembering him was a reminder of how utterly powerful our mind, moments, and memories are.  I could hear his voice reverberate in my mind under the water, “You know what you are doing!  You must do this a lot!  You are a good swimmer!” and, especially, these three words that made all the difference in the world to me that day that I swam with the swimmer: “You are kind.”  
 

The Swimmer

Posted on November 14, 2019 at 7:47 PM Comments comments ()
Memories are so important.  There are so many memories and moments that I actually want to forget or erase because they hurt too much, but then there are also so many memories and moments that I wish I could relive again because of how happy they have made me.  I think remembering the and having good  and bad memories are what contribute to the creation of us and our lives. 

The Swimmer

Posted on November 14, 2019 at 7:46 PM Comments comments ()
Do we remember more so the bad memories rather than good memories?   What, if any, memories have you wanted to erase from your mind?  What memories and of who come back to you when you least expect it?  What is your earliest memory?  What are some of your more memorable memories? Who are we if it were not for the power of our mind and memories?
 
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,

Mary ;-) 

I Carry You With Me

Posted on October 27, 2019 at 5:24 PM Comments comments ()
Every autumn season when the crisp leaves are just on the cusp of changing into their crimson and golden hues, a seminary near where I live has their Fall Festival.  The sisters hold the festival showcasing unique items for purchase that derived from the countries that they do their missionary work in.  I get great joy going to this annual festival.  Not really for the items (though I do love to shop for the unique and different!), but really to see the smiling faces on the sisters and, if I am ever so lucky enough, to hear their stories of their work experiences.  Not to mention, I have purchased really cool and cultural items there.  

I Carry You With Me

Posted on October 27, 2019 at 5:23 PM Comments comments ()

Now, this wallet that I fell in love with was nothing fancy.  If anything, probably more people would mistaken this wallet for a “male” wallet over a “female” wallet because there were no frills, no bells and whistles, and nothing ‘girly’ at all.  It was a simple trifold wallet.  Only one clear compartment, three other compartments, and a change purse inside.  It was a dark army and black green with what appeared to be old windows from apartment buildings and Chinese characters on it.  It was originally from China.   I loved it. 

In roughly the ten years or so that I have had it, I lost this wallet once.  I was at a late-night and unplanned Broadway show in New York City with a friend visiting from out of state.  I was half asleep when I returned home.  The next morning, my wallet was gone.  I was just about near tears. Oh, yes, of course, I was upset that I had lost mandatory items of driver’s license, credit cards, and debit card.  However, I was most upset that I had lost pictures of my family and friends and my friend’s beloved birds, a travel safety blessing card that my stepmom had got for me from Taiwan, and just that wallet itself that had held so much of my life and my memories in at least the ten years or so that I had it.  I was so distraught that this wallet was gone that I actually called the theatre to find out if they had somehow found it when cleaning up the theatre.  No such luck at that time, but, believe it or not,  about six months later, my father had received a phone call from a staff member at the Broadway Theatre that my wallet—THIS WALLET that I loved so much—had been found.  Call me crazy, but I somehow saw that this wallet to be blessed from the sisters to have been found months later and back in my hands and my life.

I Carry You With Me

Posted on October 27, 2019 at 5:23 PM Comments comments ()
When the wallet was back in my hands, I could not believe that EVERYTHING was intact.  It was like the wallet had never gone missing.  It was like the six months that had gone by without this wallet had never happened.  My heart filled with warmth and gratitude there was still the goodness in people to have reported and returned my wallet back to me without taking anything: Driver’s License with my grinning face and bright red heart on it declaring that I was a registered organ, eye and tissue donor, same credit cards, pictures of my loved ones, travel safety card, debit card, cash, and much, much more that holds memories and moments of my life in a wallet.  When my wallet and I were reunited, I thought about what tangible and materialistic items do we carry with us and why do we carry them with us every single day.  When I see that red heart on my license, I think about how I carry both my organ donors’ kidney beans with me.  When I see my travel card, I think about my stepmom and how she thought of me to try in her own way to keep me safe.  When I see my hip replacement card, I remember the physically pained life I lived before and then life I live now that is so full of activity that I will catch myself wondering why I did not have the hip replacement sooner.  When I see the pictures of my loved ones, I think about how I carry them and our times together that fill me with this wondrous and wonderful truth: I am blessed. 

We all carry materialistic, or tangible, items with us day in and day out that remind or reinforce us of our loved ones and our different dynamics with them as well as the life we have lived and are still living.  I have had many wallets over the years: Hello Kitty and Floral Patterns, but no wallet has nor will ever compare to this wallet from the sisters that has spoken volumes about my life thus far.  What do you carry in your wallet?  Do you think someone is ‘carrying’ you?  Who do you carry with you?  What do you carry with you? 
 
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,

Mary ;-) 

The Handy Guy

Posted on October 14, 2019 at 7:33 PM Comments comments ()
“If I can do it on my own, then why can’t you?”  My Stepmom asked me while holding the shiny and beaming canister with the nozzle that was meant for caulking.
It appeared as a question.  But, it was really a statement.  No, it was more than that.  It was a challenge.  And, if there is anything that I love more, it is a challenge that I could meet and succeed in.

From January 2019-July 2019 and especially the peak months between February to May, I felt ready to put my apartment up for sale and ditch it all together AND, even worst, return home to my safe haven and security of my parents’ and the place I grew up in.   In those months, I had experienced three water incidents, electricity issues, jammed windows, peeling paint, screw pops, and fine-lined cracks in ceilings and even walls.   In those months, I had come to depend on two people: a guy buddy of mine AND my long-time and faithful handy guy who came to my rescue more than once to more so calm me down along with reparations of what had broken.   When I first turned to my guy friend for help to find the matching florescent light and install it for me, he said to me: “I will teach you how to do it, so you will know how to do it on your own.” 

I quipped, “Well, why would I have you teach me when you can do it for me?”

He chuckled, but then said seriously, “It’s important to learn how to do it alone in case no one is around.”  

The Handy Guy

Posted on October 14, 2019 at 7:32 PM Comments comments ()
As far as my long-time handy guy, he had started out as a colleague to one of my relatives.  Time and time again, he came through for my relatives, my parents, and, eventually, me in just about this decade that I had lived in my apartment.  He had rushed out from his nighttime job when I was literally having an anxiety attack over water spilling over on my kitchen floor from the faucet that broke.  In all these years, he had calmly fixed my kitchen sink at least twice, repaired electrical outlets, checked on my fridge, taught me how to change air conditioner filters, scrubbed down my kitchen floor, and fixed my toilet.  No job was too big or too small for him.  I fully admired him—for his workmanship, but mostly for his patience. 

As the household issues increased, my anxiety and lack of feeling like I was in any kind of control increased.  Soon, I became a downright paranoid pest with harassing my handy guy and my guy buddy to come over for what I was fearful was my apartment falling apart and that it was time for me to say good-bye to this place.  As Papa Wu wisely said, “Mary, these are all cosmetic issues.  The two things you need to worry about when it comes to a place are electricity and plumbing.  Fire and water are the two most powerful substances that are difficult and just impossible to contain when they are out of control. You are getting fixated on fixing up what does not even require immediate or urgent fixing.” 

Eventually, my guy buddy who I had come to depend on stopped responding to my household concerns and to me all together.  Eventually, my handy guy said exasperated: “I do not know what to say to you anymore.”  And, just like that, ‘no one was around’ to help me out.  So, I had to help myself.  All this time, I had been determined to depend on others, leaving me in a weak and vulnerable place of NOT knowing what to do with my place when something went a wee bit off and just letting anxiety and ignorance get the best of me and bringing out the worst in me.  I could not keep running away and running to other people to ‘fix’ my problems when I had to ‘fix’ my own problems.  

The Handy Guy

Posted on October 14, 2019 at 7:32 PM Comments comments ()
My Stepmom set off a spark with her sharing of how she was doing basic household repairs of caulking, light installations, and sealing.  Indeed, if she could do it, then why couldn’t I?  I began to do research on YouTube and Googling basic household repairs.  I was extremely disappointed to find that there was not ONE SINGLE WOMAN doing any basic household repairs.  It was ALL MEN and ONLY WOMEN had videos of doing superficial and surface household tasks of making the place look nice with home décor and crafty items.  I was surprised.  I was shocked.  Most of all, I was disappointed.  I had an idea to take a class on household repairs.  No such luck.  Finding a class was much harder than imagined in this tech age.  The wheels in my head continued spinning with the formation of another idea: “Could my handy guy who had helped with so many reparations in these ten years teach me?” 

I tentatively called my handy guy.  I know he was annoyed with me.  He picked up the phone timidly.  It had reached this point and I had to undo the mess I had made.  When I presented my idea to him, the first thing he said was: “I am very proud of you.  I would be proud and honored to teach you.” 

A chain of amazing events began to happen.  I went to a paint shop for the very first time in my life.  I learned that the paint color to my apartment was “Navajo White.”   I was such a novice that the guy called out to me after he gave me the gallon of paint: “You are holding the paint can wrong.  You are cradling it like a baby when you can hold it by the handle!”  My handy guy advised me of a starter paint kit to purchase.  While waiting for the day to do these basic handy tasks with my handy guy, I also learned about my circuit breakers and electricity from an old-time high school classmate.  I also learned about bathtub knobs and seals from a plumber.  I learned that graphite powder could loosen up a keyhole.  I learned about the magic of DW40. “Home Depot” was suddenly becoming my favorite and most go-to hot spot.   I was not so scared anymore.  I was learning.  I was empowering myself.  

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