Where Is Beauty In Life?

YIWEN - Greensboro, North Carolina
Entered on May 4, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that you can always find beauty wrapped in or hidden away between the seconds of the life from an unfeigned person or matter if only you keep an eye out for it.

Although I only visited Germany twice for tourism and staying with my mum, it is the first foreign country which I have been to and leaves me the deepest impression. I lived in this country one to two months each time in 1998 and 2003 when I was an innocent and flubdubbed kid who just started to understand life and the world around, but I cannot deny the influence of this country and its people over my growth, personality and life-principles. With regard to its people, a typical old German whom I lived with day and night during the 2 months in 1998 taught me to find unfeigned beauty in life. He was a senior citizen around 80 years old then and lived in an ordinary village in the state Baden-W-rttemberg, southwest part of the country. He used to be a prominent pilot in Nazi air force and broke one of his legs after he succeeded in shooting down 12 planes of Allied Forces during the Second World War. He burnt all of his medals, military uniforms and pictures which in my eyes looked so cool. When we talked in silent and serene nights and viewed an ancient European castle on the mountain and the windmills in farms getting darker and darker outside his French window, I often could not grasp too much from his fragmentary memory. He was such a stubborn and staid old German who went to the same vehicle maintenance and repair shop for 10 years and hardly visited a new place only 1 or 2 hours far away by driving. He reported to the police when I did not take the train back to the station at 8:10 p.m. but took the next one back at 8:30 p.m. He followed many rules and asked me to do it even at home, so that I could not go barefoot in slippers without socks, I could not recline lazily on the sofa without keeping a straight back, I could not give up learning to swim in a freezingly-cold, deep and spacious outdoor pool in the forest since I had not got it by following his German shouting instruction and watching him standing firmly on the poolside in complete daze, and after 7:30 p.m. in the evening, I could not drink coca-cola or eat potato crisps because my stomach finished digesting supper.

When I went to visit him again in 2003 and stayed in his place 2 to 3 days, he wanted to seize the little time to teach me even two or three German words, gave me 100 euro secretly without letting my mum know, and insisted on driving me to the train station when we took farewell. He wished me a good beginning of my university life which afterwards, proved to be nice and unforgettable and he positively predicted our next-time meeting in the future. When the train began to move slowly, I mused upon his tall and straight body. He stood on the platform firmly and waved his hand, the same as what he always did on the porch each time when I left his home…