Nate and I got up early and caught the bus to Hero Mountain. We wanted to get in one last session of Tai Chi, and we were hoping to get the chance to say goodbye to our teacher. The last few times we had gone our teacher had been absent, so we were relieved to see him going through his slow, deliberate routine as we climbed the steps to our Tai Chi platform. We silently stepped in behind him and started to follow him through the routine.
After about an hour of practice, we sat down on the stone benches, lined with newspaper, and our teacher poured himself a cup of tea. The world felt at peace on that mountain side. Everything felt like it should. The anxiety that had been plaguing me about moving subsided as I listened to the old man talk to one of his students.
When it was time to go, I tried to explain that we wouldn’t be coming back. That we were going home to Canada. I think our teacher understood, but it was tough not being able to explain entirely. It would be like that with many of the people we had gotten used to seeing: the guard that always waved at Nate, our usual street vendors, the people who owned our favourite restaurants… To them we would one day just stop coming back. Knowing that made the leaving so much harder.