HALLOWEEN: Day 63, Thursday October 31 2013

Happy Halloween! We have found a Tai Chi master to teach us! We went to Hero mountain before work. The morning market was running today so we wandered though it. There were all sorts of crickets and birds for sale as well as knick knacks and clothes. A short ways up the mountain we found an old man teaching someone to sword fight. He demonstrating the movements using a fake sword. His apprentice had a large curved real sword in his hand. We stopped to watch. There was a man smoking a cigarette, sitting at a cinderblock table. He beckoned us to join and invited us to sit down on the cinder block seats covered with cushions and blankets to keep us from getting dirty.

We watched the two men preform their slow motion dance before us, surrounded by trees and watched on by the spirit of the mountain. After a while the instructor came to sit with us. He lit a cigarette while his apprentice went through the movements again and again. He was no longer moving so slow and his steps and movements flowed in sink with the energy from his body.

“Zhe she shema?” (what is this) I asked.

“Tai Chi.” The old man replied. He was 84 years old. When we asked him how much it would cost to take lessons from him he answered “mayo quai” (no money). Next thing we knew he was leading us into the middle of the clearing. We stood in line beside him, arms at our sides and bodies held strong. Then we moved one leg to the side so our feet were in a line with our shoulders. Our hands came up in the air and at the same time we bent our legs, holding our bodies in a partial squat. Our bodies had to be held in a square with our elbows in line with our knees, our hands in line with our shoulders, and our shoulders in line with our feet. We stood like that for so long at one point while the old man corrected our stance that my legs began to shake. We were constantly corrected on our stance. We had to hold our arms with a slight curve as if we were holding onto a giant ball. The old man invited us back the next day, but we told him we wouldn’t be back until the next week. Our training has begun.

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Halloween was fun, the kids went crazy when they realized that “se wu kong” was teaching them. I had some kids dressed up, including the cutest pumpkin in the world. I distracted Damian’s class by killing Chandler, the “yao gua” (witch like monster) outside of his window.

After work adult’s halloween began. Nate wrapped himself up in toilet paper to go as a mummy. It was hard to cover the fiddly patches around his joints and for a while he had a butt hole. There is no Halloween in China so we got some funny looks. We stopped one guy in his tracks on our way to Katrina’s.

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Katrina was in a whirl of activity when we knocked on the door. She threw it open wearing multiple layers of skirt. “I’m trying to wrangle up a costume from my closet.” she explained, “What do you think? I figure I’ll just go as a gypsy, it works right?”

Nate and I opened a bottle of wine while Katrina bustled around. I took of my mask giving my face a break from the sharp plastic edges. Katrina went in and out of her room asking us about scarves and earrings… Next thing we knew her boobs were in our faces as she tried to determine how low a gypsy would wear their shirt. Eventually we did make it out the door. We met the rest of the crew at Box Bar. Kira was dressed up as our British friend Sandy. I found myself at a table full of Chinese people playing a drinking game with dice and cups that I really didn’t understand. I’m not sure if I was speaking English, Chinese, or French, but whatever was going on we had a hard time understanding each other.

Fun night, but Friday was rough.

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