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Andrew’s final entry from the Shaolin Temple

Today I left the academy.It turned out to be a VERY hard good-bye. I’ve left behind some amazing people. People who are beautiful in the truest sense of the word.Chief among them, and well worth recording here are Robin’s (my christian friend) and my Shifu’s parting words:I’m not sure why, but Robin (whom I’ve not mentioned until now but is still a great friend to me this trip) marched up to me, gave me a huge hug and whispered in my ear these words “You are not inadequate! You’ve thought so your whole life, but you have never been!” Instead of thanking her for her kind words I just blurted out “how did you know?”. Her words really hit home with me. Like something just burst open in my chest (in a good way). Robin also told me she had “a vision from God” about me. She said she saw me with a cloth sack around my shoulder, and in this sack were globes of golden twine (globes of glory she called them), and in her dream I was throwing these globes to others. When she first told me this, I thought she was crazy, but then I realized today, I have even entitled my blog “On a quest for glory…”. Hmm, maybe it’s just a crazy coincidence. Anyway, she’s a spirit I will not soon forget.As everyone gave me hugs and handshakes on the stone steps of the school. I felt so loved. One by one they wished me well, and then walked off to continue their training. Suddenly, I realized I was now alone on the stone steps. I turned to see my Shifu standing across the courtyard, alone, staring at me. His black tai chi robes billowing in the crisp mountain breeze. His jin (chinese fencing sword) dangling at his side. “Shifu!” I called out to him, and trotted down the steps. How could I have almost left without saying anything to him I thought? But, as I neared him to shake his hand…he grabbed me and hugged me! I was so shocked. He then looked at me with tears in his eyes and said “Ni bu wang le”. Which means “you, don’t forget”. I promised I wouldn’t.And…that’s all I have to say about that.Next stop, truly this time, Beijing.p.s. I memorized the 82movements in Chen’s aptly named “82 movements Tai Chi Form” in 30 days! But, it is just a small piece of the puzzle. I now have the complete empty container, I need to start filling it with real substance now. Wish me luck!

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