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Friday, June 21, 2013

Synchronized Fun . . .

On my first morning living in Beijing, I went on an early morning walk, exploring the neighborhood that will be my home for the next year and possibly longer. I saw one local shepherding his two young daughters out of their apartment, one wearing a fairy princess dress as if she was going to a party. I’d noticed when I visited China before that families, and especially children, are very important here. In that, they don’t differ much from Koreans, but the Chinese seem to make more time to play with their kids. My first and most lasting memory of Tiananmen Square in person was of the many family groups flying kites together.

A little later on my first full day, while on my way to the local supermarket for more of the necessities one needs when setting up a new home, I heard loud music and saw a crowd of people gathered on the street. I joined them, expecting to see a party, but instead found the local kindergarten doing their morning exercises, with almost perfect choreography. The most noticeable thing, as they ran and danced and jumped, was the huge grin on each child’s face. This was no mass calisthenics a la the southern neighbor’s Mass games, but a game the children were enjoying and a great way to get them exercising at an early age.

This morning, my second day of waking here, I saw a similar thing at the high school that my 7th Floor apartment overlooks. I had wondered what the structure in front of the basketball courts was, and realized this morning it is a stage. What appeared to be the whole school was doing routines together, some led by their student peers on the stage. Imagine, if you can, a cheerleading practice that includes the entire school, not just the “cool” kids.

I have yet to visit one of the parks that hosts morning tai chi routines but have seen many Chinese and others doing the same thing in Sydney parks, and hope very much to find somewhere that has the Chi Kung (Qigong) form I used to practice myself while in Sydney. I’ll happily join the group for that . . .

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