So we were just training outside on the mountain behind the temple one day, when this very young looking monk comes prancing up the steep slope like it was downhill. When we train, it’s usually just me, the fat kid, the Taiwanese drug dealer, our class leader, and coach, we never really get visitors, so this was a pleasant surprise.
He starting talking to coach and us talkative folks decided to stop training and join in on the conversation. Turns out he was one of Jaden Smith’s coaches who helped prep him for the movie “Karate Kid” along with Jackie Chan. He was telling us that they actually put A LOT of work into training Jaden, training him for a good half a year before filming. He told us how cocky Jaden was at first, and how his room would always be so messy. And Jackie and the other coaches would always be on him about being organized and responsible.
He said their training was pretty intense, around 10 hrs a day, much like the training we do everyday, except it was 4 teachers for one student, not four students to one teacher like us. But their coaches would often discipline Jaden, cause he would easily get distracted, I thought that was good to not to give stars special treatment. Cause discipline is an important part of training. I get whipped whenever coach sees fit to, but it helps later on when we get into real physical altercations, to be able to take hits from opponents without falling or losing balance.
I am lucky to be able to meet and train with these awesome people.
When I first saw this “catching a fly with chopsticks” in those 90s kung-fu movies, I was like this is total BS and there is no way you can just whip your wrist and catch one with your chopsticks. And as a stubborn individual, I had held on to that very belief until today.
Today was just an ordinary Sunday, I was eating lunch outside next to the forest, in hopes of some shade so I don’t get too dark. I don’t know if it was the food or me that was so attractive today, but suddenly all of these bugs showed up (mosquitoes, flies, lady bugs, beetles, etc.). I mean there is A LOT of bugs here to begin with, but today was extra the abundance of insects. Being hotheaded, I was couldn’t hold it in anymore, so I swung my chopsticks around hoping they would stay away from my food, and guess what got stuck in between my chopsticks? A green pinkie sized insect, that I call a “fly” cause I feel asleep during Bio lectures.
Normally in the movies this would be when they protagonist would proceed to eat the insect, but not me. Though I am a man of few showers, I care about my dietary healthy. Though insects are rich in proteins, my subconscious would not let me be Bear Grylls, and told me to go and wash my chopsticks along with the insect on it.
I guess you never really believe some things till it happens to you, maybe trolls do exist?
Each night, under the steady watch of the moonlight, we conduct our evening training sessions in the silence of the dark. To conserve electricity for heating in the upcoming winter, we turn the lights off at night. Leaving us alone with only the moonlight to illuminate our every move.
Whenever I see the round and luminous moon, my thoughts travel to those who are dear to me; my parents who are thousands of miles away and my good friends who are scatter across top universities all over the States. As the Lunar Festival approaches and as the moon gets rounder, my sentiments amplify. I got a call from my mother yesterday while I was training at night, telling me that the whole fambam was over for the annual Lunar Night Dinner, and that they miss my “annoying cockiness” very much. I told them that I was training alone outside at night eating my moon-cakes, like a boss, and that I too miss them very much.
But no matter where I am in the world or who I am with, every time I look up at the starry sky and feel the scintillating moonlight, I know that I am not alone. Because somewhere out there are my family and loved ones and they too can enjoy the same beautiful moonlight that I am enjoying.
I hope those who have family and friends next to them can learn to treasure them when they are there and keep them in your heart and prayers when they are not.
For the past wk or so, every day, every moment, consists of “raindrops gently falling on my head”. As a long term resident of Socal, being pampered by the everlasting sunshine made me forget how beautiful the rain can be. Ok, at first I was like “WTF, I want to go back to sleep”, but after a few hrs or so, I started to enjoy the wetness.
I guess the coolest thing about this “constant rain”, is that whenever I train, steam comes out of every part of my body due to the difference in temperature and this really helps me focus my chi to my mid-section because it is actually visible. The happiest guy here would be the Taiwanese dude from Seattle, dude says “hey this is considered warm in Seattle”, and I was all like “that’s why the Sonics left for OKC”.
In a few weeks or so, the raindrops will be replaced by snowflakes, the only constant that remains with the change of seasons is the intensity and the amount of training. We will still wake up about 30 mins before the chickens do, and we will still run the same amount if not more, no matter how slippery or icy the ground gets. I like consistency though, i guess it’s cause I am a boring person.
Back when I was living in States, I have always held a hidden admiration and adoration for the “sweet stuff”, like tiramisu, chocolate, mooncakes, anything with red bean curd,etc. But I have never really had an infatuation with sweets (like I never indulge), because I have always thought someone as sweet as me do not need too much of it, or else it would upset the balance.
However, living in the mountains under new conditions, excites new habits. One of those new habits is my love for sweets, simply because we do not get to eat a lot of those up here. There is almost zero amount of sugar other than the glucose I get from certain vegetables, so anytime I can get my hands on some “sweets” I pounce on it with predatory aggression.
But instead of looking for sweets in “manufactured products” like candy and etc., I have been digging for sugar from a vegetarian point of view. What I found is a plethora of options, none of which i know the english name, so I can’t name any. But to be quite honest, Chinese vegetarian culture is much broader and deeper than that of its Western counterparts, simply because of the vast selections of ingredients and the various forms of techniques used to the treat the food. Never knew how much I would love sweets, even though I am not a freshman yet, “freshman 15” seems inevitable for me, lets hope its all muscle.
It’s been awhile since I have seen any woman, like almost a month. It is not a problem, I just suddenly noticed today that “oh wow I haven’t seen woman in awhile”. If you know me, sometimes I notice “weird” stuff, things that people don’t normally pay attention to or care about.
In a sense my not noticing the absence of females in my life can be interpreted as them being “not as significant”. But I think it can also mean that I am not as focused on being around woman as other people, for instance the Taiwanese dude from Seattle who lives next to me always complains about “the lack of chicks” in the vicinity and his growing “anxiety”. On a normal day, I tend to think more about the weather, what we are having for lunch, and how to better execute each move. But to each his own cup of tea, I guess everyone has their own interests.
I would like to introduce everyone to “The Hole”. “The Hole” is a big ditch about (3-4 ft deep), one side is a water source and the other side I really don’t know where it leads to yet. I go to “The Hole” at least 3-5 times day, it has actually become an intrinsic part of my biological life.
You guess it, “The Hole” is our restroom, you know those super awesome, squatting holes, which not only expedite the “existing process” greatly but also helps one develop intimate relationships with the flies and insects nearby. Honestly, I really like the squatting tactic much more than the sitting ones in ostensibly developed countries, I mean the sitting ones can be very distracting, its comfort takes ones mind off of the rightful task and allows one to do counterproductive things like reading, instagraming, and facebooking on smartphones, when one is suppose to be doing something else. The only time the squatting can be negative is when your legs are super sore from frog jumping the mountains and you still have to squat then, but other than that, the efficiency of “The Hole” is amazing.
We do have toilets here, but the water is about non-existent, which means you can flush. Like most other things in China, the hardware is there, but the software is not. In this age of rapid development and economic advancement, China has caught up to the first world countries in terms of the hardware (Bridges, high-rise skyscrapers, cars, and toilets), but the software (management, education, people, and water distribution) have not.
From a little “hole”, we can learn big lessons.
It’s almost three wks since I moved in over here, and I have began to grasp a certain rhythm to my everyday routines. My day looks a little bit like this.
5:00am: wakes up, stretches, clean room
5:15am-7:00am: morning run (always uphill), frog jumps
7:00am-7:30am: English Class (I am trying not to teach them any “profanity”)
8:30am-11:30am: Training (we sometimes get rest in between for water, but never more than 5 mins or so)
12:00pm-2:00pm: Lunch Break (I usually nap by the tree doing this time)
2:00pm-5:00pm: Afternoon Training (hardest of the day)
5:30pm-7:00pm: Dinner Break
7:00pm-8:30pm: Night Meditation/Self Study (a time for self-reflection and review)
9:00pm-9:30pm: Attempt to go sleep while reading
Luckily for me, we only train for 6 days a week, so my body do get a break once in awhile. I wash my cloth almost every two days over by the creek with the natural spring water, it’s actually really fun. Other than cleaning, which I do quite a lot, I really do have plenty of time on my hands. Though I haven’t quiet understood how to use that time efficiently and with meaning, I think I am getting there. WordPress doesn’t have a build-in “ask” thing like Tumblr, but if you guys want to ask me anything about my life here or want me to write about certain areas, please feel free to comment.
After weeks of pretending I can speak Chinese really well (which I can, just not as well as I pretend to be), life has finally given me an opportunity to speak English again. Other than “frog jumping” up mountains, getting punched in the face, and running “i don’t know how many” miles into the wilderness, I have managed to carve out enough time in one day to start English classes for my fellow “trainees’ at 6:00am, right after morning practice.
On top of that, we received a new Taiwanese dude from Seattle, who use to be (and continues to be when possible and legal)a drug dealer, tattoo artist, and a cancer survivor. He is one of the more interesting people I have ever met. Before meeting him, I never knew they had drug dealers or even a demand for drugs in Seattle (smh @Seattle), and he proved me ignorant in that part. He works in the Hostel business which has allowed him to travel to and sell drugs in over 30 countries before the age of 20, now that’s something we can all learn from, the power of the Hostel industry in allowing youth to travel cheaply and the prevalence of the drug industry. But honestly, the dude is really cool. He wants to better his health by training here, because of the pains he suffered while battling cancer, and that’s really admirable. I think I will learn lots from him, good and bad. What an unexpected, but welcomed guest.
Also, I recently befriended a French kid, who is the same age I am. And other than talking about how his countless ex(s) and how he lost his virginity at “age 13” (which I did questioned, until he revealed he was from Paris), I have actually learned quite a lot about French culture and weed from him. It’s really refreshing when you find out just how little you know, but to know that is already a big step in some direction.
But finally, I can use English again, for something other than cussing out Chinese peeps who don’t understand a word I am saying.
Almost every story has an “slightly overstuffed” character in it. And now, my story is no different.
I have been living alone in my “dormitory” for the first 10 days, until suddenly out of the blue came a “slightly overstuffed” shadow, who turns out to be my new roommate and the missing “fat kid” in my story. He is 16, my height, about 40 lbs more “stuff” than me, and has the behavior pattern of a 12 yr old, which is why he was oft picked on by kids at the Martial Arts School, so his parents transferred him over here, to train in the mountains, surrounded by trees instead of people.
Ever since his arrival, there has been more laughter and tragedy than all of the first two weeks combined. Most of the time it is laughing “at” him, but occasionally comes a moment where we laugh “with” him, which is wonderful for all of us. Honestly, the dude is not that fat, but because he eats ALL day and pretends to be injured every time we train, it is inevitable that his stomach retains a lot of the energy he consumes, thus blowing his weight up and out of proportions with his body.
I feel extremely lucky and honored to have him here, for comic relief doing training of course, not so much as a roommate, cause most of the time I end up being “maid”, “mom”, “alarmclock”, “washing machine”, and “hater” all at the same time. It’s actually quite the experience.
But looks like my story has just found its very own “fat kid”