STARTING TO LEARN: Day 96, Tuesday December 03 2013


We had convinced Sonya to come with us to Hero Mountain for Tai Chi. She was a little sceptical about the martial art and said it was for old people, but she came along just the same. Sonya had never been to Hero Mountain before, so when we realized we had beaten our lao she there again we decided to show her around. We climbed the stone steps to the tall monument marked with the Chinese star. We watched some kite fliers, their kites only small dots in the sky. One man had gotten lazy and tied his kite to his bike!

We walked over to the next peak, taking the cliff way up rather then the stairs. Sonya stopped part way panting “I have to take a rest.”

“But we’re almost there!” Nate teased her.

“Huh?” Selina looked behind her in surprise, “She ma? (what)” she began muttering to herself in Chinese. We laughed and made the rest of the climb.

We took a short rest at the top before heading town to see if our lao she had shown up. “Uh! See!” Sonya pointed out. As we climbed back down the cliff we passed several huffing and puffing chinese people on their way up, “So tired.”

“Dui, (right)” I agreed.

“Some people say climbing up is easier, but I don’t think so.”

And then we passed on of the signing men belting out at the top of his lungs while he climbed the same steps others were having so much trouble with, and it reminded me how impressive some of these Chinese people could be.

Our lao she had the lesson in session when we arrived. We stopped to stretch our legs before beginning. Sonya’s flexibility put ours to shame.

When Sonya told our lao she and his students our Chinese names they were very excited about it. They called us Da Jin Shan and Ling Yun from then on.

We found a food very much like pad tai for lunch, it was delicious! We nick named it pad thai chi. We bought a practice water scroll, paper, ink, and brushes from an art store before heading home on the bus. I’m very excited to try them out!

Sonya had to leave for work, and Nate and I went home for a bit before our meeting with Sybal, a girl I’d met on the bus. We had awkwardly exchanged numbers while being thrown from one side of the bus to the other as it stopped, started, or turned. We had agreed on Qi Li Hue bus stop (our stop) as a place to meet up.

“What does Sybal look like? Nate asked.

“Short, black hair, black eyes, round face…”

“So you don’t remember.”

“Not really. I just figure she’ll recognize me.”

The bus stop was crowded, “why didn’t you just say Unimart by Qi Li Hue?” Nate asked.

“I don’t know, I didn’t think of it! Just look for people who look like they’re waiting for someone.”

“This is a bus stop, everyone is waiting for something.”

I laughed, searching through my contacts for Sybal’s friend (who was also meeting us). As the phone rang I saw someone, a guy, pick up their phone and answer it. AHA! I’ve found you, I thought. I raised up my hand, “Hello!” I said rushing over to him. He looked confused.

“No English, no English.” he said waiving his hand in front of his face.

“Oh, duipuchi.” I appologized.

“Jenn!?” Sybal bounced up to me, her cheeks flushed red from the cold, a huge grin stretching across her round face.

“Sybal, hi.”

“Qu Run (her friend) is on the other side of the road.”

“Ok,” we had found them!

We settled on chao cow (bbq) for dinner, “Ni uh ma?” (are you hungry?) I asked Sybal on our way over.

“No I am fat, so I have to eat only a little food.”

“You’re not fat,” I laughed. Everyone in China is so skinny.

“No I don’t think so.”

She seemed to eat a decent dinner regardless. We ordered chicken, lamb, shrimp (which Sybal directed us to eat shell, legs, and all after removing the head and tail.) and shortly after we began eating a big plate of potatoes, a meat and vegetable dish, and a big plate of boiled cabbage! It was the perfect amount of food, but we had to fight Sybal and Qu Ran off from buying us more food.


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