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六月有奖征文:The Windows In My Home

作者:Miguel Ybarra Otín | 来源:吉林华桥外国语学院

 Sweet awakenings when the music gets into the sheets at the end of the dream, flying along the corridor, from the zither in the living-room, laying a carpet to the coffee: an espresso, washed my face in the mirror already, a smile popped into the music, the papers on the tidy desk, the desk by the window, the window that frames the meadow, the lake, the library, the classroom buildings…


I close my eyes and I see the students passing by: they greet me smiling in their way to the classrooms, where I enter and greet them as I’ve just greeted now my parents, brothers and sister: I wake up this sunny day in Sevilla, this last holiday’s morning before coming back, tomorrow, to Changchun.


In my country, in my city, in my home my window frames a river and a park, the park in which I used to play when I was little. And my desk is also by the window. Together with a shelf filled with books, pencils, some pictures and also an atlas.


In that atlas I used to dream travels when I was young. Farther and farther trips: my eyes toke me to Italy, the place where life toke me years later. My imagination got lost in names like Venice, where after some years I used to walk and cross bridges towards some of my classes at university: one year I studied there to become a teacher.


My eyes went forward in the map. It was so exciting to imagine the landscapes and the streets of that far and unknown countries like India or Mongolia, places that I have overflown these last years in my way to China: the Himalayas and the Gobi desert, to different entries to the Middle Kingdom, that country that in my map was far away, almost on the right edge of the page, as in my country books show Spain in the middle.


So life toke me to China, to Jilin, to Changchun, to that window that showed me in January and will show me tomorrow -March- a snowed landscape, all white, the frozen lake, nude trees and the students who walk to the classrooms or the dining-room, where I sit with them if it’s not the weekend and Sophia is at home. After a kiss, Sophia and I speak sometimes Spanish, sometimes Chinese.


Sophia, who every Saturday and Sunday morning wakes me up with her zither, says we live always telling our lifes to ourselves. All life is memories. From the coffee when you wake up, every past moment is remembered, never exactly as it was, always subjectively, interpreted and reinterpreted. Every conversation, every book, every movie, trip or song, everything which makes us be as we are, is a memory that we keep for a life that every new day we tell to ourselves.  


Maybe that’s why, after all these years in such a different country and culture like China, these beautiful words have changed so much their meanings for me: Spain, culture, music, love, Jilin, Changchun, China


Today is Sunday, my holidays finish, a new semester is going to begin and it is now time to remember: I arrived in China 4 years ago, time in which Sophia still wasn’t in my life. So me alone went for the first walks in that streets, night markets of foods and clothes: trousers, pork cheek pots, pajamas, hearts and livers, T-shirts, noodles, shoes, meat, vegetables and tofu dishes, all they colored with red pepper. Colored lights, sweating cooks, big flames. Chicken heads barbecues , all that for me so different and me so lost, motorbike beeps from my front and back.


Every day I used to walk alone, I was afraid to be cheated in the market or to get in my table a dish that I would never know what it was. Make the people understand me was impossible when I tried to pronounce the name of a dish. I also wasn’t used to have the waiters standing close to me, staring and waiting for my choice. They didn’t understand that I just needed some minutes, I wanted to see all the pictures and think, I would call them later.


And so lonely days passed by, days of always asking for the same dish, days of choosing the supermarket close to my home as my favorite place to stay, observing shelves with things I didn’t dare to buy, showcases filled of dishes: meat and vegetables in many colors, little trays filled with small dried fishes and shrimps. The ones I used to buy and eat without cooking, until I discovered them in the soups, the soups at the end of the lunch instead of the sweet desserts that we have in my home.


And so followed weeks of not talking to others, greeting with the smile, pointing to dishes and numbers, not walking far away from home, taking longer and longer naps. Missing. Walking around streets of an alien world to me, among people for me without name, streets without name, squares without name, dishes without name. Sad weeks until the classes started: one Monday I climbed that stairs, to the corridor, to that classroom, and the door, and so different thirty faces, students from such a far country and culture… people though who said “hola” (hello in Spanish), asked “¿cómo estás?” (how are you?), laughed with me, called “lápiz” to the pencil, “folio” to the paper, “cielo” to sky. Same as my dad does, as my mom, my brothers and sister…


Always now in the first day, every new semester, I remember that class, I talk about it to my students, they listen, smile, and whisper comments that now I do understand, 因为在现我听得懂,很多东西对我来说都有了名字,四年来我学会了很多中文词语,也保存了许多回忆..... 回忆赋予了这个国家另一种意义,在这里的经历也成了回忆,许许多多的回忆,所有的保存在我记忆深处的回忆都是生活的礼物。


Memories that decorate my wall here in Sevilla, pictures that I introduce to my family:  长春的净月潭公园, (“Jingyue”, mom), close to the campus and in which I toke these photos, can you see? Same place, same frame, the four seasons, different colors. And the lake in the top of Changbai mountains, and an early walk by the riverside in Jilin city, so cold! - Among kind of magic trees, blue shining and frozen drops in its branches, look! And a walk to the museum, to imagine how that meteorite flew, through the Space, and then we have a rest in some restaurant, Sophia (鲁郁上一个简短的中文课与此同时我们等一道叫锅包肉的菜。或者如果我们在延吉,一个在中国很不一样的地方,就会点一道朝族菜。因为中国是汉人的中国,朝鲜族人的中国,满族人的中国,而现在也有一小部分是我的中国,而我,是西班牙人。




   II. A Sunny Morning In Changchun


It’s always so special the first morning, when I’m back. So beautiful to open my eyes and see others, still closed because she’s sleeping, and her lips, lips that told me yesterday how much they missed me. 鲁郁 will wake up a little later today, her 古筝 notes will give me a good morning soon, but now I stand up in the silence and come close to the window, this window that I have also missed.


It’s been only a month and a half and everything is the same. Changchun’s winter is long and everything is still white, the snow still covers the landscape in this sunny morning. So I remember the day I arrived here: it was after a summer holiday. Green is the first I saw, and that’s why now when everything is white I know all this is actually green, so green, and that color will be back, will always be back. The snow will leave, there will come the brown, the yellow and also the black, because they burn the stubbles. And the green will follow them, and all the colors: big red flowers in the meadow, pink ones in the water lilies on the lake.


Now I see the students walk. The new semester is about to begin and the first homework will be to write about their holidays. It’s beautiful to read what they write, see how the ones who some months ago, maybe one year ago, still weren’t able to introduce themselves, are now able to touch you or make you laugh in this new language.


The first day of class I will give them all a 100, the maximum score. After that, they will have to write in a paper why do they deserve that score, how is the best version of themselves, the version who deserves that award. And their aim this semester will be to become this great version that they have described.


I think it’s easy to understand that I like being a teacher, and that I love to do it in Changchun. So, just because I get so much from the students, I also want to give. They study hard, they are intelligent, but sometimes they forget how great they can become if they really trust themselves. So I tell them: be careful what you dream, it might come true.


Being a teacher is what takes me to send these positive speeches. Knowing that every week more than hundred students listen to me is a real responsibility. I have meanwhile realized that not only a teacher, but everybody, is always surrounded of people who look and listen. And this we learn from Confucius: let’s we all be a good example for all the others. In life, in our studies (sometimes so hard). So I have to say: thank you 鲁郁 for your help, for all the words to call things in Jilin’s beautiful life: 谢谢,because… 我中文写得很慢,我必须思考很久,但是爱是一种理由,我的爱人帮助我,鼓励我;爱拥有一个女孩的名字。所以鲁郁现在是文化,是音乐,是爱,是吉林,是长春,也是中国。现在她正在这里弹古筝,一个崭新一天开始的地方,阳光明媚的长春。

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