Have you ever felt drawn to people and never fully understood why? On our last adventure before I came back home, we made one last stop. We took a three hour bus ride to meet our Grandmaster. This was a real treat. The hospitality was amazing, the food was fresh and full of great spices, and the people we met were very, very nice people. There was so many young and talented students training.
And about those young and talented students training... well, see for yourself.
There was one person who stood out on this trip more than anyone else, Sihow's mother. Meeting Sihow’s mother, was nothing I ever experienced before. She spoke no English but was one of the most joyful people I have ever met. She went above and beyond to make anyone she could feel welcomed. Her smile was infectious. She truly could make you feel like you mattered. Her energy and her character transcended all cultural, and language barriers, because she made a strong effort to be present in the moment. This is what I took away from her specifically, a challenge to be more present. I will never forget this woman. Can you guess which one she is? Here's a hint, jeans and a smile.
She also lit me on fire. No, seriously. She owned a massage parlor and there was a treatment she uses for athletes where she literally lights people on fire.
After leaving Grandmaster's village we headed back to where we were staying. The final night was on the horizon and for our going away gift, Pablos and I smoked a cigar and sipped on a Coke Zero (our homesick remedy). These were our indulgences.
Master also took us all out for one last dinner. I remember thinking how thankful I was for God allowing, and aligning my path with everyone I had met on this trip. It was not an easy venture, a lot of hard work and sacrifice was put into it, but we grew as men and bonded as brothers.
That night we toasted, not to a good-bye, but to “See You Again.”