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There is a word in Cantonese that means, well, something like serendipity….but more personal and somehow less of an accident. Capricious but more friendly and relationship based. Kinda. There is no word in English that adequately says the same thing. Or so we are told by the students we have visiting.
We learned that while poring over pouring the various Chinese teas we served in their first afternoon with us. One of the teas was so named. Untranslatable. But it came up in conversation anyway.
We have four female early twenty-something students who collectively weigh almost what I do and haven’t a clue as to what they are experiencing out here. The forest was a surprise. The trees were a surprise. The boat was a surprise. They are in a state of gobsmack.
And, because of that state of awe, they are a lot of fun.
It seems we are almost serendipitously bonding as friends. And, it seems, there is a word and a symbol for that.
Today they went kayaking for the first time. In water that was clean (seen for the first time) and saw wildlife in the ocean (for the first time) after sleeping in til 11:00 AM (which I am almost positive was the first time) and after watching the night sky complete with a canopy full of stars (never seen before due to the excess ambient lightscape of Hong Kong) while being accompanied by two dogs (each of which weighed as much as the kids). Two slept in the boathouse. Two slept in a tent on the new back deck.
We have a ham radio tower on which is perched our poorly performing wind turbine. The tower is 45 feet high and Sally was the one who first climbed it to place the turbine atop. The girls were amazed to hear that Sally had done that. So Sally said, “Wanna go up? We’ll send you up. You can do it!”
The girls eyes almost popped out of their heads but they are game little chicks and they all said ‘yes’. Theoretically and legally they are consenting adults. So Sal rigged a block at the top for a safety line and we harnessed them in and let them climb. You could see their little legs and arms shaking. “Y’alright?” we called. “I am fine”, each one said. And they all climbed to the top, had their pictures taken (natch) and came down to cheers. It is like an Asian Outward Bound-thing out here. And they are loving it.
We are giving them an experience. Probably of no relevance to anyone. Don’t ask me to explain this. I can’t. It’s weird. But we think it is a good thing. There may even be a word for it. I have no idea.
Maybe in Cantonese?