你好/ Ní hǎo / Nín hǎo / Hello / How do,
Last week, I heard a saying for the second time in as many weeks. I didn’t remember how to say it the first time around. I still don’t. However, I will try to learn it off by heart. I’ve printed a copy and downloaded an audi track to support the learning of such a phrase. Oddly, I think I heard it on a self-help guide someone was playing nearby me, on a subway train. I guess we all get inspiration from odd places at times.
Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself. Shī fu lǐng jìn mén, xiū xíng zài gè rén. 师傅领进门，修行在个人 Similar to You can lead the horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink.
Right now, I feel inspired to create and write. It hasn’t always been that way this week. I have had purple patches. I think Elvis sang about having a Blue Christmas, and it had nowt to do with football allegiance. My melancholy mood has been brought on self-inflictedly, by not being home for Christmas. Last year and the year before, I felt so desolate and dejected. I was wretched company two years ago, and as downcast as a Mancunian grey sky last year also. Inside an optimist there is always a pessimist. There must be! To look forwards and upwards whenever the proverbial fan is smeared with excrement, there must be an ability to recognise the bad in all good. Disappointment doesn’t need to expected at every possible moment but it should be anticipated otherwise how do you dig yourself out of a shallow grave? Am I unhappy? No. But, I can feel unhappy. Sometimes I just keep my eyes looking at the sun, and knowing that whenever I fall, a warm ray of light can sweep me back onto my feet. The great thing about understanding your own mind, is control. I can control how happy I am, and how to escape crestfallen moments. Back off sadness. Shut up head. Have a Happy Christmas! Well, I will try, and at the end of the day this week has proven most positive.
Yesterday, Angle (pronounced Angel) and her team in Grade 5, class 7 gave me a wonderful Christmas card signed by many students. The thought and constant greetings of Merry Christmas from her class during the oral English exams made for great and hearty entertainment. All my classes in grades 5, 7 and 8 have been given little slips of paper, with “Dear Father Christmas…” and plenty of space to write their letters to Father Christmas (me, in this scenario). There will be a prize for the best written letters, the sweetest letters and maybe a few smaller prizes too. I’m going to ask the English teachers to do this too. “How can anyone be dispirited, trying to bring joy to others?” I ask. Well, the answer is never easy. Our minds are beautiful playgrounds of creation and memories. They can fill us with joy and longing. We’ll get there one day. Wherever there happens to be.
再见/ Zài jiàn / Bài bài / Ta’ra / Goodbye