What have you been doing today? That’s a normal sort of question from one spouse to another I guess, when one of the pair has taken off to bright lights and city on the other side of the world for 3 months.
But today I’m glad I don’t have to answer that question, on a FB video, or What’s App call, where Mr P might notice a flicker of embarrassment as I mumble “er not much.” For today, there’s no thing of substance to report. I haven’t hired a junk or hiked the Dragon’s Back. No Harbour Cruise, or Big Buddha, well not today anyway.
Today I made porridge, with bananas and blueberries. The first cooking I’ve done in over a week. And I brewed ginger, lemon and honey tea. I washed my clothes, changed my bed, sorted my stuff. And sorted my stuff. And sorted my stuff some more. For someone with so little stuff, I seem to spend an unproportionate amount of time tending it, as though each individual item were some small child or animal needing daily monitoring and encouragement. But I noticed how happy each item made me as I lovingly put it back in its rightful place. The 3b pencils, the little pots of honey and ginger tea, charging cables, the little key fob that reminds me of my beautiful Granddaughter Phoebe. I don’t remember the last time I smiled when I changed a sheet on a bed. A task usually done with lots of whingeing and complaining.
I was never a huge fan of Eckhart Tolle’s work, but the one thing I do remember is something about needing to build and tend one’s base camp if one is to climb mountains. And over the years I’ve got good at this, building base camps, literal ones and my own internal one, that I tend through meditation, writing, reading, swimming, yoga, playing my saxophone.
So no mountain climbed today my love, today has been about base camp stuff, so I am ready to climb the mountain tomorrow, maybe.
But I did head out, for hostel living can get a little claustrophobic, and joy oh joy I found a saxophone shop just one MTR stop away. Hired me a saxophone and was given a book of Christmas songs. And invited to go back and join one of the little offshoot groups, that informally play after group lessons.
I then decided to go for my daily swim on the way home, walking with the sax, instead of taking the MTR. Bit of a stupid idea, but I knew if I went back to the hostel I might not get out again. And not an easy feat with so many shoppers on the street enjoying HK’s national pastime and me lumbering along with a big black case. At one point I thought of stopping and seeing if the tide of fervent shoppers might just sweep me along, so tightly were we pressed together.
I wasn’t sure what I would do with the sax whilst I swam, sort of hoped I could leave it with the Security Office. But no, lots of fast and loud Cantonese, lots of head shaking and pointing. ‘You go down, you go down’ a cleaning lady interrupts my vain attempts to give the guard the borrowed sax. So I follow her down to level 2, the training pool area, wondering what I will find. And lo and behold, a long bay of exceedingly large, lockable lockers, so big I could have got in one and played the damned sax.
So here I am, home to HK. I’m tending my little, temporary, base camp, and there’s no doubt in my mind. Hong Kong, you got your prodigal daughter well and truly covered. Thank you.