Just a grrl
This morning I woke up to complete silence. The bed was really comfortable, there was light coming through red curtains. The large mirror has not been unwrapped, and everything was basic. I got up and went to brush my teeth, it was an orange and white toothbrush. A mosquito buzzed at my legs. Afterwards I walked out into an empty living room. White walls, a TV, a small couch, with the dehumidifier on. I stood there and looked around for a long time while the same or another mosquito buzzed at my leg. I did not move, I watched as it landed on my calf and slapped my right hand on the spot and came away with half a mosquito body in my hand and the other still stuck on my leg. I got a tissue off the table, wiped it away, then found a rubbish bin. I noticed I was staying in room 1. There was no one else anywhere.
I went into my room and packed up my stuff. There wasn't a lot. Just a plastic bag filled with wet clothes and towel. My water bottle that was empty, my phone, wallet, keys and my ever present banana custard body wash/shampoo/bubble bath combo in a small plastic bottle. I have it with me always in my backpack because whenever I take it out, I am going to do something that would mean I need a shower at the end of it. Even though pretty much everywhere has it's free cleaning agents, I always prefer my own. There is something more personal about that.
I noticed that my baby blue, bamboo soled flipflops were not there, I must have left it outside and upstairs last night. I look at the clock and know it's far too late. I should have gotten up hours ago to windsurf before I go to the city. But it was so nice to lie in a basic room with nothing, in pure silence, away from everything that is life that I decided to stay in bed. I never get silence at home. I live right above a bus stop and road.
Before I left I considered what to do with my toothbrush. It seems a waste to throw it away. I could take it home but that didn't appeal, so I walked up to the TV and opened an empty draw and hid it there. From experience, that's one place that no one who visits or backpacks generally leave things, they would prefer it in the cupboards of one's room because the room can be locked. I wondered how long I could keep it there, and whether I would ever come back. The first thought I had when I walked into that apartment was, if I ever need to come back to Hong Kong I think I would ask my couch to let me stay there.
As I left I turned off all the lights behind me, closed the door and walked up some concrete stairs. It reminded me of Central America, I thought how odd that I had to go half way around to world to experience what I can only an hour away from home, but this wasn't really just a little bit away from home. I got here through a journey of devoting sometime to a practice, a skill, and putting myself out into the ocean. I got to stay there last night because my windsurfing couch invited me.
A few weeks before, I hit the big winds. I could barely hold onto the sail, in fact much of it I could not. The wind was strong that weekend. Force 4. I thought it would be fun. I had not considered how much strength it would take when I got out into the open waters. I still have to learn about the different distances, and had followed the general direction of a few people and having gone too far and did not realize how much stronger the winds would be once I got further out in the bay. Losing a certain amount of control I had gone precariously close to the giant fishing boats. I never knew how big the boats actually were only having seen them from afar but when I got closer, they simply loomed over in a much greater mass than I could imagine. I felt fear. It was just a sense of its vastness, its destructive power, and how it feeds the mouths of greedy masses all around Asia, where over fishing has left the Hong Kong and surrounding waters devoid of its once plentiful sea life. These boats were necessary monsters, and I felt like a very small entity surfing next to them. I was also in awe of its electronic netting devices, the power of the engine, and how I was right next to the hull. There is no glory in colliding with them, although I would be able to laugh about it later.
I honestly was not sure if I could return on my own or whether I needed to be rescued. I was unsure if that sport was even for me. I wasn't sure if I had the strength to handle larger sails, bigger winds, far more precarious conditions. I wasn't sure if I had the intellect to learn the ways of the winds, and how to direct a small board of fiberglass, synthetic material to go the way I wanted, to the destination I needed which was the beach: Kwan Yin Wan, the Mother of Mercy Bay. But [swear words inserted] I really wanted to. I wanted to tame the board and go with the winds.
After an hour, I tamed the board and learned the way of the winds enough to get back to home base.
I walked back completely triumphant for myself to be met with a certain amount of nonchalance.
"Hmm. You came back yourself," I was told.
I nodded and said, "I wasn't sure. I was pretty scared."
"What's there to be scared about?" My couch said, "You are sure to come back."
"I wasn't sure."
"You need to believe in yourself."
I came back not to homebase but the next week. Only a few days after a giant typhoon that has left 40,000 passengers stranded in the airport, 100 year old trees uprooted from the ground, I got on the board again. The shallow water was filled with debris and trash that was whipped up from the typhoon, and although the wind was not strong, I finally learnt the meaning of tempestuous.
There was no logic to the winds, it came and went as it pleased. It shifted directions ever so slightly at various intervals. It grew strong and weak, and the only way I knew it had changed its mind was when my sail would whip towards me. I struggled, and pushed, I pulled and fell. I swore at the board a few times and hit it once.
All this was viewed through the binoculars to the great amusement of a few at home base. Si Hing (the scholarly older brother, meaning someone who has more experience than me who follows the same teacher or school) told me it was like watching horse racing as they announced my new moves. "She's gone towards the rocks! She's going around! No, she's gone back! Wait... she's going to fall... oh, no.. wait! She made it. Oh wait. She just did." I have decided that next week, I will get there early to sit on the patio, over take commentary duty just to return the favor.
In fact, part of the fascination this week was whether or not I could go around "Bread Rock" as I was sent to do. My couch said, "Well if you want a small challenge, you should go to the rock over there then go around counter clockwise because that way you would have passed through all three kinds of winds."
Having been told to believe in myself, I tried it.
Having not told anyone else in the shop that was my assignment, many believed I had gotten really lost and when I returned they were surprised.
This time, I was better, this time I knew I could get home. I believed in myself. Thank you couch.