Today was going to be a full day for Tinkerbell and me. But the progress of SS into English was so encouraging that I was readily persuaded to continue my browbeating of SS into overcoming his fear of English. I agreed to share an afternoon again with him.
After the long ride of yesterday into Dragon Eye, I decided again on BTY as that was nearer and also a delightful place to be. A compromise with Yu was readily reached. I could not go very far in one morning if I had to return to coach English in the afternoon. It was made quite clear that I liked to ride to more sceneric places involving in longer rides that needed one whole day. So I was to go for those long rides with Tink as I wanted, but Yu would drive over with his son SS in the afternoon after the school period in the morning.
Tink was extremely annoyed at me last night. I left something in the Dragon Eye pavilion and realised it only after 30 minutes when I was halfway down from the mountain. Since I would not be returning there again, I thought the charger and batteries I forgot might not even be there should I get up again as there was a big crowd of people enjoying that place. Then I thought this was Taiwan and gave it a try. I turned my bike and went up. And because this was Taiwan, what I left was still there. I picked that up and turned my bike and went down again. That meant I lost an hour and decided to minimise the loss by riding faster on the bike. Tink was then kept in the carrier and did she protest strongly against that. She wanted to be up on the perch in front and she screamed blue murder at me.
So when I reach Yu's place to workout SS in English, Tink was freezing cold to me. Even to the extent of refusing to bow her head for the customary headrubs prior goodbyes.
This morning, I picked up Tink and went for breakfast. Tink forgave me for the previous night incident. Perhaps it was the way I hold a sandwich for her to nibble with one hand and feed myself with the other hand. As Tink was not taking her sunflower seeds at all, I thought I buy supplies from the usual shop I bought from. I heard a small voice calling out "Tinkerbell! Tinkerbell!". I was surprised how in the world that kid knew her and turned around. Then I saw some kids. The kids there were delighted to see me and Tink again. I used to meet them when I fly Tink in the school just next to the apartment we stayed in when we were in Chiayi. It was good to see them again.
After picking up drinks and the normal taiwanese bento lunch pack, we rode up the mountain to that pavilion hugging the side.
The sky was clouding up again and it was hazy. On a clear day, you can see the entire Chiayi city spread below.
It was a very contented morning for the two of us. She stayed on my shoulder, occasionally shifting her weight from leg to leg and bobbed and bobbed when I turned my head and she caught my eye. It just felt so comfortable to read occasionally with her so near me. Now and then, I placed her on top of the rails at the edge of the balcony and she stayed there. She then preened herself and at those times, she would ignore me even when I was talking to her. I never did bother to try recall as it was obvious she wanted her time to do her thing. I read those times. Then when she felt like it, she would fly over and sit on my shoulder to do her thing. When I leave that pavilion and called her, she would fly over to my shoulder to go for a walk in that area and do some recalls.
During my lunch which was shared with Tink, Yu drive up with his son. He was stunned to see such a lovely view. I was quietly surprised why he never been up to this pavilion before as it was just a few km up from the temple below that I knew he visited regularly. After all, Yu was the one who brought me to that temple there.
He left his son with us for the afternoon. I did not mind the time coaching his son. I was trying more to act as a catalyst to ignite the realization in him that English was more than words memorised without understanding and that he had within himself the ability to comprehend English. Taiwanese, even university graduates, froze up when a page of English was placed in front of them and I was trying to wrestle this kid into reading a book, even if it was on Peter Pan.
The sky clouded over. Patches of rain could be seeing in the distance and marching up to us and passing on. I set different exercises for SS and when he was engaged, I spend time with Tinkerbell. The first time I came back here on this trip had a bit of fear with it that I remembered the pain of the last day when I came here with my wife and Tink to say goodbyes. This time, this place was just a lovely place to be in to spend time with Tink.
In between being with Tink and joining some locals who came up with their tea making stuff, SS made his break through. He deciphered half a page of Peter Pan all by himself with judicious questionings from me. He used techniques I grounded and pounded into him which I did onto myself when I was first here in Taiwan and trying to make sense of Chinese when I could not read or spoke Chinese. I caused him on our first day on the verge of bursting into tears when I set him to do stuff on English he was convinced that was impossible.
I think I really got him this time.
We worked on it while I kept an eye on the time and another eye on the patterns of distant clouds and the periodic banks of fog that cut visibility to 50 meters before opening out to let us see for miles and an ear for Tinkerbell to groom. I was aiming for a break so we could ride down.
SS had never been there before. In between his growing delight with English, he was fascinated like never before at the changing views.
Then I decided it was time to move. More by luck than anything else, we made our way down and had dinner before taking him back.
I had hoped for, but not quite expected the success with SS as I felt time was so short. I showed off SS to his parents that he could do what average Taiwanese even in the university found almost impossible to do. Translate a section sentence by sentence into chinese.
In the pavilion, while I did not have the pain like that first time, I decided I wanted yet another day with Tink. I changed my plan and I would be leaving Chiayi on Sunday instead of Saturday. My flight remained the same, on Monday which was the last day of my 30 days visa allowed here.
Yu decided to cancel SS going to school for the morning and SS would be with me for the whole day. Since I decided to extend my time with Tink for a day, I readily agreed to that as well.
We will see what the day is like tomorrow.