Get off the old train, step onto the platform, merging into the stream of bobbing heads flowing along at the speed of a sweating snail.
Squeeze past the human gantry, craning my neck for a look at the sky behind the canopy roof. See the miniature sky in the phone screens held up by the multiple raised hands, the real blue expanse split up, obscured, and obstructed from view by the sheer size of the crowd. There are many gasps of wonder around me. The path reaches the edge of the platform and now widens —
As the crowd cascades left and right, the sky unfurls before me. Baby blue. Rolls of clouds like crinkled leather. Suddenly, from behind a corrugated roof, a lantern rising. From between buildings on two sides of the track, a gap of light. Another lantern-like bird or bird-like lantern. A third. The sky dotted by lanterns rising, faint streams of smoke trailing, embers behind the paper.
Choose a lantern from a catalog of auspicious blessings. Watch it pinned up by worn, quick hands. Pick up a brush and dip it into an ink-splattered bucket.
Scrawl. Scribble. Signature. An imprint of wishes, prayers, and dreams by a railroad. Set against a sky full of lanterns, like the old, wise eyes of clouds watching from up above.
There’s something reassuring about ritualized actions — writing prayers on paper, letting the lantern rise, watch it soar up and beyond until it’s a tiny dot. It will eventually land somewhere, wedged on a rooftop, fluttering in the mountains, resting on a rock. Yet, at least from what I can witness, its symbolism leaves me full of hope. Apart from the wishes I’ve released up into the sky, penned on all four sides of the sky lantern, I feel compelled to write down my 2019 resolutions after a break of two years (I used to religiously write all my resolutions down on a piece of drawing block and pin it up on my desk).
Some small things:
New Year Resolutions
养生 Health 🍵
- Eat wisely. Lose another 3 kilograms, which I inevitably gained in Taipei and Singapore. T_T
- Sleep early before 12:30AM daily. My mom scoffingly informed me of this phrase she read online — “用着最好的护肤品，熬着最晚的夜！” — which is me personified: slathering layers of skincare products on my face while staying up late.
On a side note, I’m bringing jasmine tea leaves（茉莉花茶）, chrysanthemum packets（夏桑菊）, and my beloved Chia Te pineapple tarts (THE BEST I’VE EVER EATEN) to campus. Guess which is not going to be helpful for my first resolution.
To be really honest, I can understand my parents’ strict standards for my weight. To them, it represents how much self-discipline I have. If it is within my ability to be healthier and to look more attractive, compromising that reeks of laziness and unchecked desire.
责任 Responsibility 🐝
- Be punctual. Be punctual. Be punctual. I would like to apologize here to everyone who has ever waited for me. New year, new me!
- Be better at responding to text messages.
- Every year, this resolution remains the same: time management. Only when I can manage my time well enough to accommodate for emergencies will I have the room in my life for unexpected opportunities and adventures. ❤
- Full attendance for all classes this year (even if I’m feeling unwell). On the first day of 2019, my dad did a ceremony where he paid my tuition fees for the spring semester. I’m immensely grateful for the freedom my parents have given me to experiment, to choose, and to figure out my dreams at my own pace. I’m going to remember that on the mornings when I can’t get out of bed.
情感 Relationships 👨👩👧
- To not cry when my parents are sending me off at the airport. Be stronger. Farewells are meant for teaching us how to better reunite.
- Be a kinder, more peaceful person to friends and also to strangers. Be more considerate to those who love me. Often, we are careless to those who care for us the most. I would like to be less selfish and to get into the habit of thinking from the perspectives of others — make that into a first instinct!
- Have more faith when God makes me wait. Let me see waiting as an opportunity to build my faith and to understand that there is a reason — 我想，有时候，上帝赐予我的礼物会有意晚一点递到我手中。也许，上帝只是为了更精心地绑一个蝴蝶结，让 ‘等待’ 抚平我的焦躁，好让我有一双更善于识别美好的眼睛。Thank you, Father. ❤
May all your dreams & resolutions come true in 2019 too! 🌠🌠🌠
Lots of love,