It all started with a story – Part I


I did not sit there idling.  I have been thinking.  Thinking about what?  Where to start and how to start?  My mind wanders.  The subject is so broad.  How can I organize my thoughts?  What am I trying to convey?  What is the theme of my article?  How do I formulate my thoughts more cohesively so it gives you a clear picture?  Maybe it is easier to start with a story.


The incident occurred when I was in fourth grade.  I just moved from a close-knitted small town to a semi-cosmopolitan area, from a place filled with farms to a place filled with shops.  My teacher required the student on duty of the day to fill his vacuum bottle with boiling water.  The vacuum bottle had mercury glass insulator on the inside.  It was big enough to provide the teacher with plenty of hot water throughout the day without any refill.  In order for us to get the boiling water, we had to walk down the stairs from the third floor to the first floor and across the hallways to another building.  It would take roughly 10 minutes each way.  Since recess was short, it was always a fight for time to get the task completed.  This was how the story started.  I, a transfer student, on my first day as the student on duty, broke the teacher’s vacuum bottle on my way back to the classroom.  The hot water splashed everywhere. I was in a total panic.  I had been a good student all along.  This was a dent in my record.  I was scolded for being careless and clumsy.  I was really scared and sad.  My mom bought a new vacuum bottle and came to the school to apologize to the teacher.  Did the story end there?  How has the story unfolded?


Did the story end there?  The episode did stop there but the subliminal effect carries on as you can see the vivid image that it indelibly imprinted in my mind.  I wasn’t aware at the time because I was not capable of introspection.  Is a nine-year-old child capable of introspection?  My husband thought so as he indicated it being part of the purpose of the education in Taiwan when we grew up.  This incident should teach the girl to learn to be extremely careful in handling other people’s property in addition to learning to pay respect to the teachers by carrying out their requests regardless of their intent, even for their personal gains.


I never thought of it that way.  I have a simple mind, straight forward, incapable of introspection.  The only thing that I believe that I did was to caution myself to be extremely careful from then on when carrying the vacuum bottle full of boiling water and to guard it with all my life never to break it as it cost a fortune to buy a brand new vacuum bottle. 


As I look back after so many years, I am still incapable of introspection.  I am so much at ease with the Americans for the similar viewpoints and thought process. 


So, what is the theme of the story?  There are several folds.  I will continue with another story before I get to them.


Stay tuned as the story unfolds and as I clear my clouded mind. 


By Elisa English, 版權所

First written on 10/20/10 in Minneapolis

Last edited on 10/21/10 in Minneapolis



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