It was my birthday today. My Tai Chi teacher has invited me to one of her students’ house in White Rock where they were throwing a potluck party to celebrate the end of their training course.
It turned out to be in a posh neighbourhood in South Surrey to be exact, but it’s close enough to White Rock to be considered there. I found myself parking my old Subaru wagon behind a BMW sportscar and no matter which way I looked, I was conscious that my car did not fit in on that street.
Nonetheless, I sheepishly made my way to the right mansion and rang the doorbell. When the host opened the door, I introduced myself as a student of Master Li and I had come upon her invitation. I was ushered into the house and into the kitchen where I found a happy, chatty bunch of women gathering around the dining table. There were a lot of food on the table, someone was still cooking. The feast has yet to begun.
After a while, we adjourned to the courtyard where I was requested to lead the group in practising the No.1 Tristar Taiji form and No.2 Tristar Taiji Fan form. I didn’t know anyone except for Master Li, but clearly it did not make a difference. I was not to act shy or weird according to the protocol; being a reserved person around strangers, I was noticeably quiet compared to the rest. It wasn’t difficult for me to blend in as I could speak in fluent Mandarin but I was quite aware of the fact that I was the only person not from Mainland China in the group.
After completing the demonstration practice, we went back to the kitchen and started eating. The food was simply delicious, all homemade and brought together by the Chinese housewives. I felt very fortunate to be invited to eat together with them, even though I had not bring any food but myself. I made friends with some of them as they were very curious about who I am. It was very interesting to talk to them and get to know how they organize learning and events in their communal setting.
After dinner, we went to the beach to watch the sunset and took more photos of us doing Tai Chi. It was a very lovely way to celebrate my birthday.