story of Professor Chen; NZ-48
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1 Comments story of Professor Chen; NZ-48 - 2009-02-25 19:33:29

I visited Professor Chen in Nelson during my adventure in NZ. Chen used to be a botany teacher in the best university in Taiwan. Twelve years ago, on a trip to Nelson with his wife, he fell in love with that place. So, after returning to school that summer, he and his wife, who was a professor in zoology in the same university then, decided to quit their jobs and immigrated to New Zealand. Everybody, including their colleagues, family, friends and students were all shocked at their decision- giving up the jobs that people respected, giving up the pension that the government would give them someday, and most importantly, they didn't want to apply for another teaching job in any NZ's colleges.

...anyway, they bought a small piece of land in Nelson and started a totally brand new way of life. Professor Chen and his wife told me when they first got there, there was "nothing" on that land but an amazingly clear small river plus beautiful mountains and trees around the land. There was even no electricity or any utilities, and they both worked together to build up their own house and "home" from scratch. And they didn't have any neighbors nearby. Now inside their house, they got everything including an iPod and Internet service (which is not that common in such a rural place). Outside the house on the land, they planted various kinds of vegetables, fruits, flowers and plants and they even raised many chickens, ducks and other animals, and they had a small greenhouse. All their fruits and vegetables and even animals were "organic"!

I asked Chen my first silly question, "Did you ever regret leaving Taiwan, ever regret giving up your career in education, ever regret losing anything...?" He laughed out loudly saying, "Regret? Losing anything? No, I got EVERYTHING!" He explained to me that he had always wanted to be a farmer, owing a land and building and realizing his own dreams on the land, and he was lucky to have found and owned his dream land.

And then my second silly question, "Excuse my curiosity, how was your life in the past 12 years?" (Actually, my point was: without a decent income, how could you survive living here for 12 years? but I knew it would be too rude to ask) They both laughed again, and even more loudly, "Hahaha...Do we look like that we ever got hungry?" Chen humorously added, "Every weekend we sell our paper-crafted artworks in the market (a note: Chen is an artist specializing in paper crafts), so we got an OK income for a basic living; if we need fish and seafood, we would go to the beach to catch something on our own; and look at my farm, tell me, what else do we need? and what else do we lack?"

Yes, what else do I need? What else do I lack? After my visit to Chen, I couldn't stop reflecting my own life. Like Chen, I have also had my own dreams since young. I have always known what I want- what soulmate I want to have, what life goal I want to achieve, what carrer I want to get...but hardly dare I nor can I realize my dreams. Quite often I compromise with people's judgement, with the teachers' expectation, with my family's advice and demand, with the high moral standard, with the common and acceptable value of this society...but hardly have I compromised with my own dreams.

so what else do I lack? Professor Chen seemed to have given me an answer, and that's what I gained most from my trip to NZ.

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