kung fu sifu at shaolin xiao long wu yuan

An angry sifu keeps a close eye on his flock

This place has the eerie ability to make time feel like it is both crawling and flying by.

It seems just yesterday that I was arriving at the Shaolin school, but at the same time the 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. days never seem to end fast enough.

Yesterday, I officially started my 10-day countdown to leaving Deng Feng, which puts me into single digits today! I’m getting short. I managed to sneak out of the school and made it into town today where I stood in line to book my train ticket out of here in one week. Due to the big national holiday the first week of October, seats were half booked up. I ended up with a hard seat on an overnight train for the eight hours back to Beijing. Uncomfortable, yes, but after a month here I will bloody stand in ma-bu (horse stance) for the entire eight hours if it means getting out of here faster!

The idea of staying here longer than necessary makes me throw up a little in my mouth, so I will be first in line Thursday night at the train station.

There has pretty much been an exodus of foreign students lately. They leave for various reasons such as university, cold weather, jobs, etc — but all of them seem bittersweet about it. I will probably be no different, after being in one place for so long, you develop a nice comfort zone and close friends. Even the pain starts to grow on you after a while. Even still, 32 days is too long for a vagabond to sit still, even if the kung fu was good, so I am anxious to get my feet back on the open road.

One more week. Life is good!