We just attended a medical conference in the lovely city of Copenhagen. No wonder it was the home of Hans Christian Andersen, the great author of numerous fairy tales.
On the fourth day, YL was surprised that I attended all sessions of the conference. “Do you mean that you have not visited anywhere?”
“No,” I answered defensively, “I had a boat ride on the first day, and I dined out every evening.”
It is however really not my cup of tea to tour around during overseas conferences. Above all, I enjoyed the conference very much. Even though my mentor said he could not find any reason to attend the lecture on ubiquitin, I managed to convince him that was also wonderful. Secondly, the mood is different when I travel with my family back home.
When my daughter was three months old, I had to leave my family and receive overseas training for several months. Understandably, my wife was stressful and sad at that time. Crying over phone calls was the rule rather than the exception. Of course, I could do little other than calling her frequently. Partly as a defensive mechanism, I stayed in the lab most of the time and convinced myself that at least I was doing something meaningful. As Eileen Chang wrote in her last novel Small Reunion (小團圓), “You think you are not so bad if you know you are bad.” I know this is silly, but silly I am.
On my last day in Copenhagen, I took the wrong train. Instead of going to the conference center, I travelled to some rural areas. It actually took me merely thirty extra minutes to go back. But there I was, alone in a small station. Since the next train would only come in five minutes, I had the privilege to enjoy the scene. Below the heavenly blue sky were vast green fields where cozy cottages were sparsely built. Everything was quiet and peaceful. The only sound was the whisper of the warm breeze.
When the train arrived, I could not help thanking God and thinking, “Wouldn’t that be good enough?”