當我2000年在網上結識Charlene並打橋牌時，她是一位成功的女商人。她在網上訂購了許多法國和意大利產品，然後運往台灣，她嘗試了一切，她吃了任何東西，任何動物，水果或蔬菜的任何部分，食物都是她一生中很重要的一部分。 2000年我第一次在現實生活中遇見她時，她看上去就像電影明星。 2007年，這個女孩選擇放棄自己的生活，放棄了我們認為是家庭的最好的朋友，失去了她的工作，並賣掉了在台北的公寓與我同住。我告訴她：從現在開始，您將在餘生中度假，我信守諾言。
她完成了五件事，這在以前似乎幾乎是不可能的：我們2020年5月1日成立20週年，以及兩次浪漫的意大利長假。第一次去意大利的錫耶納和她最喜歡的Val d'Orcia，第二次去意大利的Lago Maggiore的斯特雷薩，那裡她的身體明顯較弱，但仍然非常欣賞令人嘆為觀止的景色和9月的夏日天氣，由於水的問題，再次搬到錫耶納（Siena），這使她感到自己在第二故鄉，感到非常高興！最近，她是荷蘭公民12年，而13年前移居荷蘭。我敢/希望認為這是因為她感到幸福，安全和得到了照顧。她的最終目標是她的生日（12月16日），很遺憾，這太樂觀了。
It aint over till the fat lady sings, but sadly the fat lady sang too early and the fragile butterfly flew away.
When I met Charlene in 2000 online, playing bridge, she was a successful businesswoman. She ordered lots of French and Italian products online to ship to Taiwan, she tried everything, she ate anything, any part of any animal, any fruit or vegetable, food was an important part of her life. The moment I first met her in real life in 2000 to me she looked like a movie star. In 2007 this girl chose to give up her life, her best friends we consider family, her work and sold her apartment in Taipei to live with me. I told her: From now on you will be on a Holiday for the rest of your life and I kept my promise.
Charlene wanted to mean something in Holland and started to create a new personality in a blog, not using her fame from Taiwan. She slowly built it up from nothing and today has more than 213.000 loyal fans and followers in several groups and platforms. Charlene has always been interested in travel and European food and her dream after retirement was to become a writer and live in a house in a European country with a slanted roof, preferably in France or Italy. We lived in a not bad apartment in Holland with a flat roof which she loved so much, home sweet home.
In Holland she started to write cooking books, after she became more famous, she was asked by several publishers to translate books: Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay for instance. She has been doing this even when she was on heavy chemotherapy in hospital, even just before the end she was correcting the last version. We traveled to many places, randomly picked, just drove around, often not meeting any other person or car for hours. We stayed in beautiful apartments, mostly in small cities and villages or in the middle of nowhere. We saw beautiful things, ate fantastic food, lived life like a local, relaxed, but never a dull moment.
Charlene the truffle queen, my butterfly and I fought since October 2017 for more than three years. She has been in a sterile room alone in hospital for 6 months, we have been in quarantine for more than a year. At first it looked like we would conquer these horrible cancers. All Charlene wanted was a little luck this time, but to no avail. Charlene had a good heart and always meant the best for others, she worked hard, she was tough and sweet, she never complained, and she was happy with the little things in life.
From August 2020 we have been on our last two Holidays in Italy. Siena made her extremely happy, “My best Holiday ever” she said. Her dream was to go on a second Holiday and reach her next birthday, I was afraid that was quite optimistic. Charlene was disappointed we could not travel to the Luberon in the Provence in France, where we originally planned our second Holiday, where we had our first Holiday together in 2003. Unfortunately, the Dutch government suddenly declared many regions in France as “orange”, no go areas because of high Corona risks just after we booked. Spain was also on the list: A country I have never visited, and she wanted to show me, Spain was all orange.
Five things she accomplished, which earlier seemed nearly impossible: Our 20th anniversary May 1st, 2020 and two romantic long Holidays to Italy. The first to Siena, Italy and her favourite Val d’Orcia and the second to Stresa at Lago Maggiore, Italy where she was clearly weaker, but still immensely enjoyed the breathtaking views and the summery weather in September, where due to water problems we had to move, to Siena again, this made her feel at her second home, she was so happy! Recently she was a Dutch citizen for 12 years and moved to Holland 13 years ago. I dare/wish to think it was because she felt happy, safe and taken care of. Her final goal was her birthday (December 16th), unfortunately that was too optimistic.
We enjoyed, we dined, we cried, we laughed a lot, we cherished each other, we talked for many hours, everything has been said, no regrets. We were one. Charlene was worried for me to be and stay all alone and was sad for me losing her and I felt so sorry for all the things she missed out on, wished she would have stayed with us longer. We have been closer than ever before. I love her very much, she will always be in my heart, will miss her so much! I feel so lonely.
In the future I will go back to the places we have visited together. From the end of April till the beginning of June 2021 we planned, booked and paid an “after Corona, celebration / conquer cancer Holiday” in Italy. I now still want to go if Corona lets me, but that is “far” into the future, having learned from Charlene and all our past Holidays, I might change it slightly. We had planned so many things, so to all of you: Carpe Diem! Do not delay or postpone your goals, wishes or bucket list. I will keep her profile alive and try to post something now and then, I cannot always read all comments and reply to them, but rest assured, I will notice them. For the friends that follow Charlene’s travels to apartments and restaurants: Please mention her to keep her alive so that she will not be forgotten.
If you decide to respond, please respond meaningful. No hollow, empty, idle or religious phrases, else please do not respond at all, both are equally fine with me, I know you will miss her too.