Sunday, April 25, 2010

Power of Language, Pineapple Hearts, Boiled Water Rooms & LOTS o' LOVE

Greetings Friends!

Oh so much to say! My last few days in Zhengzhou have been filled with so much richness, so much love, love, LOVE, laughs and more LOVE. I feel deeply blessed to have such a profoundly beautiful and loving 'Chinese family' :)!! 2 days ago when Ayi came back from a weekend at her son's home, she entered the clinic with a big smile. She exclaimed she was organizing a special 'farewell' lunch for me and that Zhao Fang (Nicole) and her husband, JunLin and her family, Li Zhun and of course, Dr. Zhao would all be there. Oh YAY!!! We've all been counting down the days we have together – savoring and enjoying each moment. Each day I come to the clinic, Dr. Zhao re-counts again – 'hai you 5 tian' –'still 5days'– 'hai you 3 tian'–'still have 3 days'–'hai you 1 tian'–'still have 1 day,' etc. Each moment is precious – each time I get to fill another prescription with my Sisters, eat another most delicious lunch with Ayi and Dr. Zhao, see my fuyuyuan (hotel worker) friends at the hotel, hug my little Chinese 'nieces' who come to greet me is so precious. Also, I savor each moment of teaching and sharing and experiencing with Dr. Zhao. My time and all I receive from him is such a big gift – even putting all of this into words doesn't do justice to express what I'm receiving. One example of such a moment is two days ago when he read from an old book on acupuncture techniques – again written as a 'gejue'– a poem. It was so beautiful and this time, as he read (and I recorded it on my nifty IPod :)) I actually understood some of it!! WoW! I understood some of the acupuncture points they referred to and their uses. And I'm so glad to have these recordings to continue learning and of course to hear Dr. Zhao's voice again when I'm home.

I also like it when Dr. Zhao calls me over to feel another patient's pulse (now he's having me feel their pulses and then describe what I feel. Gosh, this is soooo great!! I love (sometimes my ego doesn't love it so much in the moment though!) how Dr. Zhao is ALWAYS stretching what I think is possible for me. He's always testing my 'consciousness' and expanding my self-imposed – often unconsciously self-imposed limitations. My training and 'remembering' of Conscious Language has been/is so valuable and I can see how all my experiences up to this point has prepared me to meet and work with Dr. Zhao. In my training with Robert Tennyson Stevens (founder of Conscious Language™ and Mastery Systems), I came to see how a simple thought-form such as “I can't” or “I don't know” really held back a lot of power in my life – and I had several experiences while on tour with Bob of how once I became conscious I was telling myself ‘I can't’ or ‘I don't know’ and consciously made another choice, then doors opened in my own consciousness and experience! Well, I have discovered so many “I can'ts” or “”I don't knows” in my time here. Yet, these have been even more 'sneaky' because they're in Chinese!! :) Yes, I've become rather astute in detecting sly English ‘I can'ts' and “I don't knows” – BUT now I'm becoming diligent in catching them in Chinese! When I'm thinking thoughts in Chinese, these little..."wo bu hui" (I can't), “Wo ting bu dong" (I don't understand), and “wo buzhidao” (I don't know) have, as I mentioned, continued to pop up in their sneaky way, especially when Dr. Zhao is teaching me, or quizzing me, or asking me to recite one of the short gejues he's shared with me! (one time in front of the reporters! Aiya!!) Well, as I've learned/remembered in my studies with Bob Stevens, my language, my words, thoughts and feelings are powerful and are constantly shaping my world and my experience of it around me.

So to give you an example in the Chinese language, I'm going to take a close look at the Chinese version of ‘I don't know' --- which, just as in English, is a phrase that often unconsciously closes a door in consciousness -- As soon as one says “I don't” – it's like closing a gate, and in this case, closing a gate to 'knowing.’ So, in Chinese, the 2 characters for knowing are both beautiful and powerful words – they are ‘zhi’知and ‘dao’道 put together to form ‘zhidao’ 知 道–(look, Dr. Zhao's nephew, Zhao Kuan, helped me download a program to type in Chinese now so I can actually show you some characters :)) – ‘zhi’ is the character for wisdom and ‘dao’ is the character for the way, the path – it's also the character for Daoism (sometimes spelled Taoism in English). To say “I know” is simply ‘wo zhidao’ 我知道 – or one could translate it as “I know as I Am Wisdom and the Way” – or—“I know the wisdom of the Way". To say “I don't know” is “wo bu zhidao” 我不知道 – or one could say ‘I don't know wisdom or the Way’ or ‘I don't know the wise Way'. The character “bu” 不, like our 'not'–resulting in words like can't, don't, won't, etc --, is a powerful barrier and can put up a strong wall/gate in one's consciousness (often unconsciously). It's also said in the 4th tone in Chinese (Mandarin Chinese has 4 main tones and 1 neutral tone) which starts high and ends low and is the 'sharpest' tone of them all.

So all of this to say, I'm now 'remembering' my Conscious Language in Chinese too :) And as I had started explaining, when Dr. Zhao has me feel pulses of his patients, and then asks me to explain what I'm feeling, sometimes these sneaky “I don't know how to say this" thoughts making their way into my head. Well also....being a 'waiguoren' -a foreigner, I have a big excuse to have these thoughts, right? Since Chinese isn't my native language, I can often get away with just being a bit 'shaniu'–'silly girl' that doesn't quite understand. Yet, this ‘doesn't fly' with Dr. Zhao :) (and Thankfully so as this keeps stretching my own limits!!). So with the pulses, even though I've often thought –'oh I don't know how to put words to what I'm feeling – and especially in Chinese!" I it anyway :) – and miraculously Dr. Zhao understands! (even though I'm often using other-than-Chinese-Medical terminology to convey my feelings!)

This highlights another special blessing in my relationship with Dr. Zhao – that is we often understand each other – (of course there's many times we've had some miscommunications resulting in me 'you fan cuowu' – making yet another mistake!! – which often by the way, after we communicate clearly, results in another bundle of shared laughter and me reminding Dr. Zhao how to say "I made a mistake" in English again :)- as he likes to practice his English in preparation for his next trip to the U.S.)

Even though we have our language differences, he often seems to understand what I'm conveying. For example, one patient's pulse was very thin, wiry and a bit floating, while another patient's was ‘thick’, sinking and 'hua' slippery like flowing ‘zhou’ or rice porridge (different than the ‘hua’ feeling of the 2 women who are pregnant). I'll often say a few simple descriptive words and then Dr. Zhao's eyes light up –"oh yes, right – you mean"....and he'll say the very poetic Chinese medical terminology for what I'm feeling :). Even though I'm just starting to feel some basics and feeling the difference between different patients, I still have MUCH to learn as to what all the different pulses mean, several patients still insist (if I haven't done it already) to come over and feel their pulse. They're often smiling looking at me with expectant eyes after I feel, like they're waiting for me to diagnosis their condition! Well, I just tell them to 'dengyixia' wait a moment and ask Dr. Zhao :)

Another example of Dr.Zhao not heeding my “I can't" or “I don't understand” thoughts is with some of the case studies he's written up for me to translate. Again, he likes to write by hand (as he doesn't use the modern pinyin method needed for typing Chinese characters in the computer)—so this means I need to decipher his handwriting. Well, neatly (and I mean school-text-book-neat) written characters are much easier to read than the more beautiful flowing, calligraphy-like handwriting of Dr. Zhao – because, when reading neatly written or typed characters, if there's a character I don't know, I can again use my nifty ipod, draw the character, press ‘done’ and voila! Out comes the pinyin and an English definition of the word. :) –duo fangbian! – So convenient!! Well, not so easy with Dr. Zhao's written papers... .When he hands me yet another case study, he often says, ‘na, ni man man kan ba.' "here, you can read and review this slowly." And then starts working on something else. My “well, what? Wait – what if I don't understand? Wait can you just explain...?...." none of these thoughts are given any space in his consciousness – which then seems to somehow decrease their power in my consciousness – and my response miraculously turns into a no-drama “Hao ba. Wo na hui qu manman de kan ba.” –“okay sure, I'll take this and review it tonight." (Yet, sometimes I'm still thinking, “how will I ever understand all of this?”) So far, though, I've also ‘miraculously’ been given all the extra help (often from either Nicole or Zhao Kuan) I require to read these cases studies and learn a bunch of new words in the process. :)

So I had a most most wonderful ‘farewell’ lunch with Dr. Zhao, Ayi, JunLin, her mother-in-law, Nicole and her husband, and one of Dr. Zhao's sisters. Again these were more moments I treasured. Two of the TV reporters also joined us so they could film our toasts and this special time with 'my Chinese family' :). Below are just a few of the many great pictures we took at lunch and right after with my family :).

Pineapple Hearts
Also, below I've included some pictures of me and my friends at the hotel. Oh they are all so wonderful. As I've mentioned, most of my dinners I would eat at the hotel with the other hotel workers. I befriended several of them (especially Da Jie who I mentioned in an earlier update – she's the older women in the pics below) and exchanged warm smiles, hellos and laughter with most of the others. Well I had bought some pineapple, watermelon and apples earlier in the day and wrote a thank you note to the staff and asked if the chef could cut up the fruit nicely and put it out with that night's dinner, as I often arrive a bit after they've started eating. Well...when I arrived that night, the main server had just read my note to everyone and then on the two back tables I saw the platters of fruit! Oh wow! They were so beautifully prepared! I included a picture of one of them below – the chef took so much care in his preparation, he even cut the pineapple into little heart shapes!!! I felt so happy and everyone there was also so happy to see me! I felt such joy to finally be able to thank them all at once and in person and it just opened up such a warmth of sharing and gratitude and of course smiles and more laughs! We took pictures of us eating together and then the main server came in with a gift of 2 red stuffed animal tigers he said was a gift from the hotel! Oh they are so sweet!! And you can just see and feel their sweetness and genuine kindness in these pictures :)

So all this goodness just keeps on flowing and flowing – on my last night in Zhengzhou, after my last dinner with the hotel staff, I was upstairs beginning my slightly dreaded task of fitting all my accumulated belongings in my 1 big bag – when I heard a knock, knock on the door :) – Oh it was my wonderful ‘sisters’ JunLin and LiZhun!! :) JunLin also brought her husband Zhao Miao and they all had big smiles on their faces, came in and my two sisters immediately started organizing my things, asking “kailun, what are you wearing tomorrow? Here hand me your things…What goes in this bag?...” And while I felt I wasn't ‘prepared’ for help (I often feel as though I need have everything organized first before having people come help me...BUT this thinking I'm realizing doesn't make much sense as often people are coming to help with just this – organizing! :) – so I really could relax more and just enjoy my help!), my sisters just came in and pretty much took over, while Zhao Miao added his skype contact info to my skype account and also made sure he and JunLin were in my new QQ account (QQ is like the Chinese equivalent to Facebook and pretty much EVERYONE who is on the internet here has a QQ address – instead of email :)). Well within 45 minutes, all my belongings again miraculously (I realized I've used that word a lot in this update!) fit in my bag! How did they do this?!! In any case, we said our goodnights as we were all going to see each other again very soon early, early in the morning, as Dr. Zhao, Ayi and my sisters had all concluded (along with 3 TV reporters) that they would take me to the airport! Gosh, I feel so loved!
And really our trip to the airport and our last hugs and continued waves and blowing of kisses and smiles and tears as I was making my way through security all just added to the immense Love and Gratitude I have for Dr. Zhao, Ayi, Jun Lin, Li Zhun, Nicole, their whole family, and all, all the many people I've met and become friends with on this trip. I am so grateful and I am grateful to all of you for sharing my powerful, loving and Joy-filled journey. THANK YOU!!!

'Boiled Water Rooms" :)
I've written some of this letter while flying from Zhengzhou to Inner Mongolia (to see Claire and Jergedu) with a stop-over in Beijing. Below are a couple of interesting pics from my airport experience that I thought you'd enjoy too :) – one is of a sign for a “Boiled Water Room”!! HA! I love drinking HOT water and this is something we certainly do NOT see in the U.S. :)! Also, while at the airport I again had the delightful task of .....having lunch! :) – so I went to a Chinese version of ‘fast food’ (they even call it ‘kuai can’ which literally means fast food) BUT I took a picture of their menu because it is actually real food and absolutely nothing like we have at our ‘fast food’ restaurants! It's a little hard to see but the picture shows their ‘picture menu’ of things like seaweed noodles, steamed eggs with mushrooms, mu-er and cilantro (mu-er is a fungus that directly translates to ‘wood ears’ :)), red bean pudding, curried veggies and rice, dumplings, sautéed greens, black sticky rice and coconut yummy dessert (which is one item I ordered :)), and more... Also while these prices were much more than what you'd pay out in the city, my meal still cost me a whooping $2.30!

Clear Blue Skies in Inner Mongolia
So while I'm missing, thinking of, and sending much love to my Zhengzhou family now, I'm also so happy to be in Inner Mongolia with my dear friend Claire and her wonderful finance, Jergedu! It is beautiful here and so refreshing to see the deep and bright blue skies and the bright, brilliant sun and to breathe fresh air!!! I have missed all of these in Zhengzhou. And Claire – I am sooo happy for her! Many of you know her – she founded the first ZY Qigong organization in the U.S. and brought Mingtang here -- she's an amazing practitioner, healer, writer, teacher, colleague and friend. She moved back to China 2 years ago (and that's when a group of us then formed the first non-profit ZY Qigong organization to continue the good work and service she had started), and met her finance when she took a bus to Inner Mongolia, and got off at the very last bus stop with only the desire to find a good, expansive, quiet place to write. Well she found that and much more – she found her true love and they are to be married in August! :) And Jergedu is just fabulous! A native Mongolian, a talented musician and skilled healer and brilliant, warm and at times hilarious being! We all are laughing a lot and enjoying much delicious Mongolian food – I will write more about it in my next update. (there's a picture of Claire and Jergedu enjoying our first meal together here :))

My learnings and experiences with Chinese medicine are continuing too as I've met Jergedu's teacher yesterday who also practices Chinese acupressure, massage and acupuncture and is from a lineage of Mongolian teachers. Wow! His method is powerful! He treated Claire, then we all talked and before I knew it I was on the table getting a treatment myself!

He immediately knew my 'weak spots' and I felt a strong sense that one of my missions is to use my own qigong practice, my gifts of knowledge and experience with Chinese medicine, herbs and foods to bring strength and vitality to my whole being. A lot of inner 'ah-has' are being revealed.

Last night we all also went...DANCING!!! Oh I was fabulously FUN!! Claire is an awesome dancer too and we had a blast! We just rocked out and while the dance-stage floor was closed until the later hours, the managers came over to us and asked if we'd please step on the dance stage and continue our ecstatic funk and hip hop grooves!

I won't be on email much the next few days. Thank you again for all your letters! I really love hearing from you and I send you all Much LOVE!!!!

Love and JOY,


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Newspaper Article Published and Henan TV Crew Comes to Our Clinic!!

Greetings Friends!!!

WOW!!! I have sooooo much to say!!! I haven't been writing much in the last week as so much is happening in the remaining days (for this trip) in Zhengzhou. Remember when I mentioned that the reporters came to interview me - and they came to the clinic the day I 'ganmao le' - caught a cold, and how the reporter came later to take pictures of me practicing qigong, dancing and writing to you all? Well, this morning when I woke up, I had a text message from the reporter saying that the story was going in the 2nd and 3rd pages of today's paper!! On the front page there is also a picture of me - saying 'Ta jiao Kailun...' "Her name is Karen - she's a blond haired, blue eyed 'meinu' woman from the U.S. here studying Chinese medicine - Are you curious what she says in her journal?" ...and then it tells people to go to pp. 2-3 to find out more :) - Oh how exciting! I have several copies and will show you when I get home. The second page has a picture of my typing my one of my updates to you :) Each link below will take you to the different pages.

This reporter did an excellent job. Several people in the neighborhood were so excited to see me in the paper today too. When I went out with Junlin to buy some veggies and tofu for the dinner I made for everyone tonight, one woman ran out from her store front and said "Oh wo kan dao ni le - zai baozhi shang. Hen bang!" - Oh I saw you in the newspaper today -- that's so great!!"

Also, before I got to work today, Dr. Zhao called me and said 'Gankuai lai shang ban. Henan dianshitai yao lai fangwen ni.' "Come to work soon - the Henan TV station is coming to interview you" as they too had just read the article in the paper. OMG!! Wow!

At lunchtime today with Ayi and Dr. Zhao (before the TV reporters came in the afternoon), Dr. Zhao said that although many Americans come to China, very few are in the papers, let alone interviewed on TV. "Yibeizi tamen ganbushang" - in a lifetime most don't get on the media" -- Also, sometimes, Dr. Zhao explained, some people must pay a good sum of money to get in the paper or on TV and this just came to us - the newspaper reporter heard 'through the grapevine' about me coming to study Chinese medicine with Dr. Zhao and today the TV station read the paper and called Dr. Zhao immediately to come do a story too -- This is another Beautiful Gift that just....'plop' .. is here in our lap!! Dr. Zhao is a very humble and thankful man too - and today before we ate lunch, he showed me his alter and the 2 'pusa's' (for many Americans, the equivalent is 'angels') -one being Guanyin watching over him and those he loves. We both bowed and felt great gratitude for our Blessings!

The atmosphere in the clinic was truly one of excitement the whole day and as soon as I arrived in the morning, Junlin and LiZhun already had my 'white doctor's coat' ready to wear for the reporters :). JunLin said to 'lai zhao ta' call her after my lunch with Ayi and Dr. Zhao and we'd 1) do our veggie shopping for our dinner (I made a 'thank you' dinner for everyone tonight and practiced my Chinese cooking skills :) and 2) she'd brush my hair and put it in a pretty hairdo for the reporters :). Oh I love JunLin!! She is so great!! Sometimes I feel like a young girl running over to her friend's house 'to play' after lunch :). At times we ride bikes, or practice dancing, or I help her with English, or we play ping pong, or she helps me with MANY things, or we talk and laugh and eat pineapple or drink yummy hot water and honey drinks (note: this is good for 'meirong' for beautifying our skin :)) before going back to work :).

And I just love both of my sisters -- LiZhun is back working at the clinic now too and the 3 of us are quite the team! We call each other 'Sister' - as I'm teaching them English - and for all the little kids who come to the clinic, we are quite a sight -- the 3 smiling 'Ayi's' "Aunties" :). Also, sometimes if there aren't any patients in the clinic, both 'sisters', Junlin and LiZhun, go to the back room to work with the herbs. As they leave, they practice their English and we all smile and say, "see you later" promptly followed by several giggles :). When practicing our English, if Dr. Zhao isn't busy with a patient, his eyes light up and he comes over with a smile and great curiosity and eagerness to learn -- he loves studying English too and will come practice the phrases I'm teaching my 'sisters' :)

Cooking my First Big Chinese Family Meal (with GREAT help from my 'Sisters' :))
So the TV reporters came in the afternoon and again, the clinic was quite 'renao' -very lively! They also came to my hotel room to film me typing my letter to you:) and to ....Dance!! YAY! This time maybe the dancing part will make the news. And...then the reporters came with me to JunLin's home to film me making my first formal Chinese meal for JunLin's family, LiZhun and Dr. Zhao and Ayi! This was quite an out-of-the-ordinary experience for all of us! First, it's already rare to have a 'wai guo ren' come to one's home, but then to have one come that is bringing a TV crew of 5 people is even more rare!! Everything happened so fast that I realized I hadn't even asked JunLin about the reporters coming into her and her family's home.....but her and her family were just Thrilled! These reporters were a lot of fun too -- all in their 20s and everywhere we went there was a lot of laughing and good cheer.

So I and the TV crew arrived at JunLin's about 6:30 p.m. and I was aware I had much to do -- I had bought LOTS of veggies for several dishes, tofu, and a small fish. Cooking Chinese food is very fast....BUT the chopping and preparation is what takes the longest. 'sisters' (Bless them!) had prepared all the veggies - washed and chopped them, put them in neat separate bowls, cleaned the fish and stuffed it with ginger, my other Ayi (JunLin's mother-in-law) made a big pot of millet and sweet potato zhou (porridge)-- YUM!!, had the coal stove piping hot (really - they are super efficient and HOT HOT HOT!), and had smiling faces and an apron ready for me to wear. They are so wonderful!!

So when I arrived, JunLin and LiZhun guided me into the kitchen, put on my apron, had me do a 'spin' for the reporters, fixed my hair, put the spatula in my hand and said, "Lai, Kailun, ni chao cai ba" - "Come, Karen, you can stir-fry all the veggies now" :) Again, this was all while the 5 reporters also followed me in with their cameras!

After the cooking, the reporters left saying they'll come back tomorrow and they're also coming to the airport (along with Dr. Zhao, Ayi, JunLin and LiZhun) the day I leave for Inner Mongolia to see me off! I just keep thinking, "This is so amazing!!!" All of my experiences are so much more than I imagined!!! Each day I make it my practice to 'see, feel and be the Perfection and Love I desire" - as one of my teachers, St. Germain instructs. I feel so much awe and gratitude.

Family DANCE
And, another thing to share from this evening....after dinner and chatting and cleaning up, Dr. Zhao and Ayi left -- with Ayi pausing with a twinkle in her eye, saying to 'hao hao wanr yihuir' -- to stay and 'play'/enjoy my time with my 'sisters' for awhile - as both she and Dr. Zhao know how close we've all become. So....after they went home, JunLin's 12-year old son (he is GREAT!!) put on some of the dance music I gave to JunLin and we had a most Awesome, Spontaneous family dance!!! WoooHOOO! Included one dancing picture below of me and her niece. JunLin, her son and her mother-in-law also danced with us! JunLin's husband, Zhao Miao video taped us so JunLin can 'study ecstatic dance' while I'm away! It was so fun to dance with them!!!

Oh I have so much more to say!! I'll be writing more in the next few days. I have much to share on what I'm learning with the medicine, feeling pulses, 'writing' another prescription -- really it's Dr. Zhao telling me the herbs and this time I actually knew how to write them (as I've been practicing!! :)), and more.

Thank you again so much for sharing my journey with me!! And THANK YOU for your emails!!! Also, thanks to my friend, Rick, for creating and updating my travel blog where all these emails are posted. (see BTW, he does great web work if you're looking for someone to help in this area :))

Much GREAT LOVE and BLESSINGS to you ALL!!!!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dr. Zhao's Gege (older brother) and his Gift, 'Sitting for a Month' & Twins!

Greetings Friends!

I am so moved and deeply touched. yesterday Dr. Zhao's 'Gege' - his older brother whom I call Da Bai -- came by the clinic again. What I didn't tell you in our last exchange is that he said he was going to write a poem for me and write it out in beautiful calligraphy on special scroll paper as a gift. Well yesterday he came by the clinic with his most precious self and heart and his beautiful gift. I actually have tears in my eyes. I just read his words again (to make sure I understand them all in preparation for my translation for you :)) and feel an ache in my heart -- it's a 'gratitude ache' -- Do you feel those sometimes? It's not a painful ache, it's a depth of feeling, an awe and thankfulness ache :). It's an ache that often spontaneously allows me to let go of any 'xiao shiqing' -- small thing thoughts -- and surrender to the beauty and magic and grace life can bring. Sometimes so unexpectedly, without feeling I've done something to earn just here in my lap and presenting it's beauty to me.

So Da Bai (Dr. Zhao's older brother) came with a scroll wrapped with a red bow. He proceeded to tilt his little navy blue cap back and pull out another rather large piece of rice paper, unwrap it and explain that on this paper he wrote me a note to explain his feelings, his poem, why he wrote it, and also to write the poem out in more 'readable' characters so I would know exactly what it said. Wow! Well this 'note' is quite a piece of art in and of itself!!! His calligraphy is outstanding - most beautiful and what he said brings tears to my eyes and my depth of thanks ache to my heart. He writes with such elegance and grace and truly honors the Chinese language with the beauty he creates through his choice of words. One special thing about the Chinese language is that much, much can be said in just a few characters. Each character has a depth of meaning and can have multiple, varied meanings depending on the context. Putting them together in a way that uses few words, and yet paints a deep picture and creates a beautiful cadence is a true art. I'll explain the letter and then translate the poem.

In his letter he says:
Kailun Laoshi (Karen teacher): "Ni xingku le! Neng zai wo de jia xiang yu ni xiang shi, bei gan rong xing. Nin zhi shen yi ren, yuan bu zhong yang lai Zhongguo yanxiu zhong yi, qi xing wei, qi jing shen kan jing kan pei, ling ren dongrong xinzhe. Wei biaoshi dui nin de jingzhong zhi qing, wo wei nin xie le si ju shi. Shi shi zheyang xie de:

"I acknowledge your hardships! Having you here and the opportunity to be your acquaintance, I feel very fortunate. You, on your own, came across the great oceans to China specifically to study Chinese medicine -- your manner, your spirit, evoke respect and admiration and cause people to feel enchanted. As a way to express my feelings of great respect, I wrote this 4-lined poem. The poem goes like this:"

And here's his poem:
Da Yang bi an mei Kailun,
Qiuzhi cong bu wei jianxin.
Gong cheng ming jiu zhi ri dai,
Chun feng hua yu cao mu xin.

From across the ocean shores beautiful Karen came (note: this has 2 meanings "mei" means beautiful and it is also short for 'Mei Guo' which means America :) - or Beautiful Country! How did we get so lucky to have the Chinese name our country - beautiful country?! :))
Eager to learn she has no fear of hardship.
Her success is soon to come - as close as the next rising sun,
Life-giving spring breezes and rain, fallen petals creates new life (this last sentence - so elegant in Chinese alludes to the life-giving essence of spring to the life-giving essence of education - and learning from older knowledge, wisdom then is born again in new life through us.--- See English takes many many more words to express than Chinese :))

In his letter, he also mentioned that he wrote 2 poems for me -- one -- the one I just translated above, and the other (so there's actually 2 scrolls) is a poem written by a famous poet, Guo Moruo - he wrote it while in Hangzhou (one of the most beautiful cities in China) as he was so moved by the beauty he experienced there.

I wish I could convey the essence of the beauty of this all written in Chinese -- below are some pictures 1) of the 'letter' he wrote me, 2) - though it's blurry - of me and him holding up the scroll with his poem, and 3) one of him and Dr. Zhao looking at the poem rolled out on one of the treatment tables.

I was so moved by his kindness and generosity, that it seemed most of my Chinese left my brain for a few moments and all I could say is -- Wo ganxie nin, wo hao gandong!!" Thank you - I am so grateful and deeply moved!" I desired so much to express more how touched I was and how honored I am to know him and what a marvelous poet and person his is ....and well...I am hoping all I desired to express in words, he was able to receive from my spirit. I also had a great desire to give him a BIG hug!!! And as I mentioned in one of my last updates, that hugs are not the norm here, I managed to restrain myself long enough to ask him if he'd be okay with me giving him a hug. I guess Dr. Zhao has told his family about our American hugging 'customs' because he laughed and said 'yes, yes' and I gave him a big hug! Yay!

The 3 of us (Da Bai, Dr. Zhao and I) sat at Dr. Zhao's desk for a while while Dr. Zhao was talking about some of his research. Da Bai listened and also began to scribble something on a piece of paper in front of him. He then handed it to me while returning to look up at his younger brother and listen to what he was saying. I looked down and it said, "Kailun hen liaobuqi!!" "Karen is amazing!" Wow! He is amazing! This is so amazing that he is saying this!! And how fun to pass notes too!! :) So I scribbled something down and passed it back, while I then returned to looking up at Dr. Zhao and listening to what he was saying. :) I had written, "Nimen hen liaobuqi!!!" "You both (meaning him and Dr. Zhao) are AMAZING!!!" Da Bai looked down to see what I wrote and began to laugh! :) Gosh, remember when I said coming to China is a great way to 1) get a self-confidence booster and 2) become younger? Well here's another example of the gifts of so many compliments that are given so generously and genuinely. (Have any of you booked your tickets to come yet? :) --I'm planning to come back so maybe you can come too! :))

Heart Patient
Also included below is a picture of me with one of Dr. Zhao's patients.

She came in because of feeling dizzy. Dr. Zhao felt her pulses and then called me over to feel. They weren't regular or even -- almost like a hesitation in her beating. He told her to get a cardiogram and in 1 hour she came back with the results. It was amazing to see what we had felt with our hands on paper!! Last week, Dr. Zhao had explained the very basics of how to read one of these cardiograms to me so I could tell by looking at it where the irregularity in her heart cycle was. Dr. Zhao then had me do a basic neck massage treatment and afterward she exclaimed, "Oh qing le!" "Oh I feel much lighter!" Oh excellent! I was very happy and so was Dr. Zhao -- he told me to get my camera and he would take a picture of us both -- it's the one of us both sitting down -- I'm wearing one of the 'herbal dispensary' aprons :).

"Man Yue" - "Full Month Celebration" - Twins!
Also included are some pictures from an event I went to with Ayi on Sunday -- it was a 'manyue' (full month) event. When women in China and Taiwan give birth, the month afterward is a special time of rest, recuperation and regeneration for the mother and an important growth time for the baby. During this month (called 'zuo yue zi' -- meaning literally 'sit for a month' -- I did my college Anthropology senior thesis on this topic from my field research in Taiwan -- if any of you are interested, I can tell you a lot more about it -- there are many riches in this one practice :)), woman and their baby are to stay inside, not to shower (to prevent any chance of catching cold), and must eat many very 'bu shenti, bu xue de dongxi' -- nourishing food for their body, blood and bones. Usually it's the mother-in-law's duty to cook and provide the up to 5-6 meals a day and take care of her daughter-in-law and new baby. These days it's often whomever is closer -- the mother's own mother or her mother-in-law -- and in some cases they can both help a new mother go through this month. Well, at the end of the month, there's a big celebration -- and it's called 'man yue' -full month -- the Chinese love 'renao' (lively atmospheres), this event is again very 'renao'! There are lots of kids, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends of all ages who come to celebrate, share a meal and bring gifts.

This 'manyue' party was celebrating a the birth of Ayi's older sister's daughter's daughter's babies (I think I got that right! :)) And guess what? They're twins!! A boy and a girl! And they're adorable!! I also took a picture of Ayi's older sister's grandson and her daughter-in-law. As I've said, the kids here are sooooo cute!!! I could make a photo album just of all the kids I've met :)

Huang He
Also included are a couple of pictures of my outing to Huang He (Yellow River) with Dr. Zhao, Ayi, and their grandson, Gaogao :). Huang He is a HUGE and powerful river and much history (most recent during WWII in the late 1930s when the Chinese decided to open the levees to prevent the Japanese soldiers from advancing - which it did -- but it also killed 100s of thousands of Chinese civilians and caused great environmental damage) surrounds the ebbs and flows and floods of the enormous amount of water flowing in this river. Included is a good picture of Dr. Zhao and Gaogao in front of a big memorial for those who died in the flood mentioned above. While the river doesn't look so big in the picture, now is its dry season -- it can span the length of the LONG bridge we saw (it's so long I didn't even see the other end of the bridge!)

And I included a picture of Ayi and Gaogao. We had to take Gaogao home to finish his homework. As it was his English homework that he had left to do, I thought, "oh good! I can help him!" But as I sat next to him, he said in his mischievous way, "Bu. Bu neng. Ni bu hui!" "No you can't -- you don't know how!" -- Ha! "ta hen tiao pi" :) "He's a mischievous little boy" -- he was quizzing me on my English when we were in the car together when we went to Kaifeng and I must not have 'passed' his test :)

Oh, my time here is so precious. I just also got back from another evening session with Dr. Zhao. We're going through some of the herbal remedies in the book he gave me. Each herbal 'soup' has a beautiful 'gejue' or poem that explains what it's for and what herbs are in it. Dr. Zhao has memorized this whole book!! He's been reciting many of them by memory for me today! Quite amazing!!

He said he started studying Chinese medicine just bit by bit. In starting he didn't think, 'oh I'll be a doctor someday' -- he just desired to learn and grew up around herbs and his grandfather who was a brilliant doctor. So he slowly learned. But he said, I'm lucky. At least I have a teacher who is willing to teach so patiently!! His words are so true. I feel deeply blessed. I have another week here and will then go to Inner Mongolia to see my friend Claire Johnson before coming back to the States.

Thank you again for all of your emails!!! Even if I haven't responded yet, I am so grateful for your sharings and love receiving your letters.

Much Great Love to you!



Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My First Prescription, Joys of Being a Woman & Dancing in the Clinic!

Greetings Friends!

Oh my two dear new friends, Su Mengwei and Tai Mengyu are sooooo sweet!! Today they came by the clinic today when I was about to leave to see if I had developed the pictures we had taken together last week (I had told them I was going to have them later this week for them). As soon as I walked out the door, both Su Mengwei and Tai Mengyu said, "Ayi!" with Big Smiles on their faces and came up and gave me big hugs!! Oh Wow! They are soo adorable! And again I feel blessed with their hugs! As I mentioned hugging is not a custom most Chinese people have (whereas I'm a big fan of hugs -- my family has always been big on hugs and I love to hug my friends -- it's just a natural response for me when I'm excited to see someone :)) -- sometimes I forget this as I did when Li Zhun came back to start working again at the clinic yesterday (I met her when I went to Kaifeng for the day with her, Dr. Zhao and his grandson, Gaogao :)). Well I was so happy to see her again that I just went up to give her a big hug! But quickly remembered that's not the custom here when I realized she didn't know quite what to do or what to make of me coming up to her with an expression of glee, big smile and open arms! Jun Lin was there too and started to giggle. She again graciously reminded me, "uh..Kailun, women chang chang zheyang wo shou" -- ah..Karen..we usually just shake hands in this situation" :) Oh yes! And we all laughed together.

So below are a few more pictures of these two beautiful young girls and Su Mengwei's little brother!

Oh what a cutie! He's 2 years old. Su Mengwei was excited for me to meet him and she also brought her mom. I love meeting almost the whole family!! Su Mengwei had to leave soon so Tai Mengyu again walked with me back to the hotel while asking me many more questions about the U.S.: what it's like where I live; how many days left do I have here; when am I coming back; do the phone lines really reach all the way to the U.S.; how do I like our new president; what are my favorite Chinese foods; what do I eat in the States; does everyone in the U.S. have blonde hair, and more! :) Actually the blonde hair question was when I was still back at the clinic with all the other kids and when I replied that we have people with all different kinds of hair of all different colors, black like theirs, blonde like mine, red (well at red there were bunches of squeals and giggles and big open eyes! :)) I also said we had all different kinds of ethnicities, nose sizes (more giggles), heights, weights, and so on. Oh they are so curious! Next time I come back, I'm going to bring a photo album or slide show to show them all about our life in the states :).

Today I had another surprise in the clinic...or well actually more than one. First, I had another acupressure exchange session with Dr. Zhao where I give him a treatment and then get feedback and then he treats me so I can learn through experiencing it in my own body (plus I get the benefit of feeling soooo much better afterward! :)) Well, then he said, 'okay, let's treat your knee once more.' So I rolled up my left pant leg and he started to do the 'wamping' treatment again -- yes it hurts! But wow! My knee is again much better! It got red and hot again and then I felt my knee get warm and hot from the inside out. YAY! Wow - how great. I have had years of off and on and sometimes very debilitating knee pain and now I know how to help myself and others!

Writing My First Prescription

The other surprise was....well I was sitting with Dr. Zhao at his desk observing him diagnosing patients and also feeling the basics of their pulses. Dr. Zhao, after doing his regular diagnosis of pulse-taking, asking several questions, looking at the patient's tongue, etc, reached for his herbal prescription pad of paper and pen to write a prescription. All is fine and normal up to this point.....except, then Dr. Zhao said, "Kailun, lai lai" – “Karen, here, here" and he gave me the pad of paper and pen to write the patient's prescription! What?! Oh wait, what's happening here? - I thought :)! He had me write out the patient's name, gender, and then he started to name the herbs and their amounts for me to write down. Well, for those of you who have studied Chinese -- reading and recognizing characters is one thing, but having to remember how to write characters from memory (especially ones one has just recently learned) can be quite challenging and takes practice! Oh dear! Again I felt I hadn't adequately prepared for this 'pop quiz'! "Sha niu" (one of my nicknames when I do something silly! Or make a mistake!) Some of the characters, (THANKFULLY) I actually knew and wrote down, and many I could see an image of them in my head....but not all the details :) and a vague, fuzzy image of a character doesn't do much good. Especially when I'm trying to write out an herb with both Dr. Zhao waiting patiently so he can continue to list the rest of the herbs, the patient and his family peering over my shoulder to see if I know what I'm doing and if I can really write in Chinese (and probably to make sure their prescription comes out right!!), and Jun Lin and Li Zhun waiting in the back for me to finish up so they can fill the prescription! Aiyo! :) And then with some herbs, when even a vague image didn't appear in my mind, Dr. Zhao would begin scribbling the character on his note pad in front of him, saying "It's like this..." -- But it was 1) upside down (from my view), and 2) in his fast handwriting that I find challenging to read already! Sometimes after a couple sighs, he would turn the character around so it was at least right side up, but I still found it challenging to decipher.

Well by this point both Dr. Zhao and the patients were trying to help me in any way they could. And if you speak and write Chinese you know this - because many characters have the same sound, when writing, for example if someone is saying their name and it has the character "yu" for rain, people will say -- oh it's "xia yu de yu" -- it's the same character as in the phrase for "rain". Most Chinese words are made up of 2 characters put together. This way when people are clarifying which character they’re referring to to write down, they will often say a common 2-character word that contains that character needing to be clarified. This way the person can ‘spell' -- or really 'draw/write' the correct character. Well this is a great help, again for those who are native spellers/character-writers, BUT several times yesterday, while I know the words they were saying to let me know which character to write, I didn't know how to write it by memory. And other times I didn't even know the words they used as an example! Oh dear! What Dr. Zhao may have meant to be a confidence-building experience of ‘writing my first prescription’ actually just highlighted in blaring red lights another area I require to “xia da gongfu” – “put in much more study time and effort!”
(Note: I have a picture of 'my first prescription' below :))

JunLin and Li Zhun are both so sweet – they are really amazing – in a situation like this where they (or anyone) could easily pass a judgment on me – they don’t! Instead, they just love me! And they do what they can to help me improve! This morning when I got to the clinic, Li Zhun handed me some scrap paper stapled together make a little notebook and proceeded to start naming off herbs for me to write – so I could practice for my next ‘pop quiz’ with Dr. Zhao! And of course, Jun Lin jumped in too when she arrived :).

Seeing Perfection (even in my Chinese Character Writing!)

So I kept practicing with all my scribbles and first attempts, cross-outs, rewrites and repeats of several characters for different types of herbs. Well,…the love and patience and practice of “seeing Perfection” just gets better! Dr. Zhao’s younger sister and her friend came back to ‘the herbal dispensary’ area to see what I was up to as I was eagerly scribbling away at something. They saw my ‘new little notebook', picked it up and said, “Oh hen piao liang! Ni hui xie zi! Zhen hao!” “oh how beautiful!! Wow you know how to write Chinese characters! That is so great!” Gosh, that is just so sweet of them –really b/c if you look at my characters they are actually rather “nan kan” -- …um…not so attractive. Part of the art of writing Chinese characters is in having them all the same size – height, width, length…Well mine are often all over the board – some are too tall, some too fat, some too short, some spaced out in an awkward, non-native way :) But as I’ve mentioned before, they are always giving me the ‘benefit of the doubt” (what does that phrase really mean anyway? Kind of a strange figure of speech!)

My First Qigong Class!

So then another surprise, after admiring my Chinese character-writing, Dr. Zhao’s younger sister’s eyes lit up as she asked, “Ni hui lian qigong, shi bu shi? Ni keyi jiao wo ma?” – “You practice qigong, right? Can you teach me some?” – Oh how great!! One of my favorite things! (in addition to dancing that is…and eating Chinese food!) So She came back behind the counter and I showed her how to shake and do some wamping. Well this was just too much fun. She then took me by the arm and said, “Let’s go out to the back room.” Dr. Zhao was busy with a client and she whispered “meiguanxi – ni lai ba” – “it’s okay, come! :)) So we went outside and she quickly called over another 2 friends of hers and we went in back and I taught my first mini qigong class in China! :) What fun!! We did the 8 Brocades and they loved it. They invited me to teach another class tomorrow morning for their friends and asked me to please bring a DVD next time I come to China so they can continue to practice! :)

So I’ve just had surprise after surprise the last few days. Another funny one was later this morning in clinic. Dr. Zhao was finishing working with a patient. At the end of a treatment, he usually has his patients roll over on their back and then pulls and shakes their legs (called ‘dou’ in Chinese). Well usually he calls me over to do this last part. Today he called me over as his patient was turning over on her back…and I naturally thought “oh he’s going to ask me to “ba ta de tui dou yi dou” – shake her legs. But! That’s not what he said at all. Instead he did the shaking and said, “mo yi mo ta de tui” “feel her leg”. So I did – wondering what I was supposed to be feeling for. Well, then he said, “See these are special women’s style pants; they’re soft and they might be long enough for you.” Oh he was trying to help me on my ‘other mission' of finding pants long enough for my rather long legs! Ha! That was unexpected and nice of him to even think of that! Just as the quest for me finding a pair of shoes that actually fits my – what I found out are very Big feet in China – has been taken on by Dr. Zhao and his family, so apparently is my finding pants that are long enough!

Dancing in the Clinic!

Today (Saturday my time) has really had such a “weekend” feel to it. I always enjoy my time there and this afternoon just seemed particularly relaxed. Before our lunch break was over, I met JunLin at the clinic – we were going to meet Li Zhun there to bike to the post office together to mail a package of herbs we bundled up in the morning for a patient in Inner Mongolia. As it was just her and I in the clinic, I asked her if she wanted to dance! Oh boy! Her eyes lit up and we giggled and then locked the door. I took out my music and….we began to dance! Jun Lin is GREAT! She was smiling and said “shi bu shi zheyang?” “It’s like this, right?” – as she shimmied her shoulders and swung her hips. Wow! She’s got it! She said she’s been practicing! :) Li Zhun arrived and knocked on the door and a bit later Dr. Zhao’s sister came in too. They were curious, so I put on some more music – Li Zhun and Dr. Zhao’s sister were more shy and just watched but were smiling big – more DANCING JOY seeds are being planted! :)….

Also, for some, being at work may feel like more of a serious task, and indeed diagnosing and treating patients (and filling prescriptions) are all important and require much care and focus. I also, though, LOVE how fun each day, hour, minute, moment is here. I so enjoy being here and I’m in a surrounding where everyone is truly right here right now and loving what they are doing. Many of Dr. Zhao’s patients have become good friends and daily there are numerous joyous greetings of old-time patients coming back for some treatment. Sometimes for a new condition, sometimes they’re bringing a friend or relative – and also bring some sort of fruit or special treat for Dr. Zhao and his family. Also, right now when I’m working in the ‘herbal dispensary’ it’s the 3 of us ‘girls’ – Jun Lin, me and Li Zhun and we all love each other and love being together – it’s just so much fun! They’re often helping me with my herbal studies and I’m helping them study some English, and Jun Lin comes over to fix my hair or fluff up my sweater – and we whisper, joke and laugh about all sorts of things. One thing I love about being a woman is it is so easy and natural for us to share loving affection with one another. While (as I mentioned) hugs aren’t the norm here, girlfriends often hold hands or link arms when walking down the street together. They lovingly play with each other’s hair, pick the ‘nubbies’ of each other’s sweaters, and do lots of little loving things that show how much they care for one another.

One other thing I’m so aware of here is Harmony. We have and live in a great sense and atmosphere of harmony, order, and Love. From my studies with one of my dear teachers, Robert Tennyson Stevens, I have learned the value and difference of creating and maintaining an atmosphere of immaculate beauty and harmony. Well, this is what Dr. Zhao, Ayi, Jun Lin, Li Zhun create and maintain at their clinic. And it’s all done with such ease, grace and joy. Life can really be lived from our greatest state of Enjoyment. We are here to enjoy our life, to enjoy and love one another and living this way just creates more and more and more Joy and Love to give and share.

Flying Kites

I have another beautiful story to share. Today as I was walking to clinic in the morning, two young boys were flying kites on the sidewalk next to me. One said “Hello!” with a big smile and I said an exuberant “Hello!” back. I continued walking around the corner and then saw something in the corner of my eye and heard a young voice. I turned and it was the boy who had been flying his kite. I didn’t understand what he said so I said, “shenme?” and he repeated. I still didn’t quite get it so I asked him to please repeat again. Then he smiled sheepishly and said in Chinese, “Zao shang hao” – “Good morning!” Oh, he had been practicing his English and came to say “Good Morning” to me in English. My brain kept trying to figure out what Chinese phrase he was saying instead of listening for English! Oh I was so touched by this little boy! I said, “Oh, yes!!! Good morning!!” And told him his English was great…as he smiled and was running back around the corner to rejoin his friend. :) The kids here are truly adorable. And each day I’m meeting more and becoming the “Meiguo Ayi” “American Auntie” to more and more kids :)

Introducing Da Jie

Gosh, this is already such a long update....But before I end, there’s one more person I’d like to introduce you to. I call her Da Jie (Older Sister). She is just great! She’s in her fifties and while I’d normally call her ‘Ayi’ – Auntie, she likes to be called Sister :). We’ve become friends as she was one of the more 'brave' ones who started talking to me when I first arrived at the hotel (she works at the hotel I'm living in) and we quickly came to feel a mutual sense of joy whenever we happened to bump into each other. Indeed, i started to look for her each morning while eating breakfast as she's usually just starting work (if she has the morning shift). Her work closet with the brooms and mops for cleaning the front lobby are right in front of the glass doors leading to the dining room - I always pick a table with a view of the closet just in case she comes by while I'm eating -- and she often comes by her closet at about 7:30 just in case I may be enjoying breakfast...and then we both exchange smiles and excited 'nihao' waves to one another through the dining room door windows :).

She has 3 kids and one of her daughters married a German and is now living in Germany. Her husband who she loved dearly has passed on. She said they had a most wonderful loving relationship and she doesn’t desire to remarry. She loves the memories she has with her husband and is now also enjoying her freedom. She is a delight – she has such a shiny smile and twinkling eyes. She is most curious about my days and sometimes, if she has the evening off we go walk to the park together. Other times, if she’s working the evening shift, we eat our dinners together (as I eat with the other hotel workers. They don't normally serve dinner for the guests, but because being a 'foreigner' in China can at times opens all kinds of doors and exceptions to bend the rules and offer favors, they've graciously agreed and indeed most welcomed me to eat with their staff :)). Also, as I make my almost daily evening trip to the neighboring grocery store to buy…yes, ‘suan nai’ –yogurt :), I, being in China with LOTS of yummy things available to eat, often come back with some other treat to explore as well. Da Jie works in the front lobby sweeping so each time I come back, she comes over and I share with her the goodies I’ve collected to enjoy for the evening :). She is really truly wonderful and a delightful person. She’s told me a lot about her home town in Xinyang – the countryside with tall, tall mountains that she loved to climb as a little girl….

Oh and one more thing to share, I had the great delight of Dr. Zhao’s daughter (Nicole), her husband and daughter taking me ‘out on the town’ last night. They are sooo wonderful! I had a great talk with Nicole and her husband and really, I feel so so much like I am exactly where I am meant to be, meeting and talking with just who I am ‘meant’ to talk to. I feel so blessed to be blessed with such rich, fulfilling conversations, friendships here. Nicole took me to see a BIG shopping center last night that again had pretty much anything you’d like – including of course, lots of yummy Chinese foods! Well, Nicole bought me several treats and…..then we went upstairs and I noticed they had shoes! Well even though I’ve been to Numerous shoe stores and have encountered the same situation of seeing numerous ‘hen piao liang de xiezi” “beautiful shoes” – all of which are just too tight,--- today….I found a pair that fit! WOW!!!! They actually had a size 41 and they’re cute…and they’re woman’s shoes :). Some stores I’ve gone to did have what they call “te da xie” – “especially big shoes” but they’re usually not very attractive – at least for my tastes. These, though are perfect. I was excited and said ‘oh I’ll buy these!” Well, before I could get a word in edgewise, Nicole swept them up and said ‘Great! I’ll get these. They’re my gift to you!” Oh that is so sweet of her!!

So many gifts and smiles and blessings each and everyday.

Below are pictures of: my 2 young girl friends; the 'prescription' I wrote - well this is the 2nd one that Dr. Zhao then took mid-way through to finish as I was taking a weee bit longer than he does!; a picture Dr. Zhao took of me, Li Zhun and Jun Lin filling and herbal prescription together and obviously having LOTS of fun; a picture Jun Lin took of me while feeling a patient's pulse; Ayi cooking us a most delicious lunch; and one Jun Lin took of me while we were dancing in the clinic! :-D

Thank you soooooo much for sharing my journey with me. And if you’ve made it down to the end of this long update, thank you!!! :) And thank you thank you thank you for your emails. I sooooo soooo love to hear from you!!!

Much Much Much LOVE, Harmony, and Great JOY,


Friday, April 9, 2010

Newspaper Report, Exploring 'Green Squares', Joys of Lunchtime & Nighttime

Greetings Friends!

YAY! The reporter and I have been playing phone tag and yesterday it finally worked out for both of us for him to come by and take pictures of me writing to you (he was actually taking the pictures right as I was typing this paragraph :)) And he took pics of me dancing! YES!! Oh I so love to dance and my desire is these pictures inspire others to put on some music and dance their JOY!! Even with my little ipod without speakers, as soon as I hear the music, I’m bouncing and boogie-ing (how do you spell that anyway?!) I then shared with him lots of funny stories from my letters to you which he’s going to put in the article – it will be fun to see it written in Chinese :) I’ll send you all the link to the article when it’s published (most likely later this week).

A Day of Exploration - Ren Min Gong Yuan – People’s Park

On Monday I thought Richard and I would be joining Dr. Zhao and Ayi on the national holiday of "Qin Ming Jie" to pay their respects to their ancestors but it turns out Dr. Zhao felt it was best he and Ayi just go themselves….which meant we had the morning to play and explore on our own! :) We looked at a map and decided to head for a big green square – which was Ren Min Gong Yuan – People’s Park. I realized in this freedom to go out with Richard, that although I’ve been here for almost 1 month, I really haven’t explored Zhengzhou very much – it’s a HUGE city!!

I loved going to the park as it was again so green! Lots of flowers are now in blossom (spring is finally here) and I love seeing so many people all gather together – there were several groups of elders gathered in pods of 3-4 people with one or two playing a Chinese traditional string instrument and others singing the traditional ‘xi’ – Chinese opera songs. Richard noticed that although there were MANY of these small singing groups in a relatively small area (each one gathered by some wooden or stone stools/benches under trees (as it was actually quite warm! – not so today-BUT I’m happy that spring is showing it’s face more frequently now :)), somehow, miraculously the various songs, instruments, tunes, pitches, melodies, keys, tempos didn’t clash! Each group seemed to have just enough space to fill their area with sound without overwhelming the other groups – which is a great thing, otherwise the trip to the park could quickly turn into quite a noisy, high pitched, squeaky experience – and instead it was quite delightful – hen hao ting – beautiful to listen to :).

And of course there were the older people with their huge calligraphy brushes painting poems on the walkways with water (this is a great way to save paper! :) – and I remember my last time in Beijing in Dec. 2005, I saw people painting Chinese characters in this way – except then b/c it was FREEZING COLD, all the characters froze – so you had the delightful scene of frozen calligraphy poems and songs written on the park walkways :)). There are also the dance groups – modern dance, some form of traditional Chinese dances, tango or salsa, and more. People also gather to play cards, and at this park there were even people bungie jumping in the background off a platform (every now and then Richard and I would look up – and poke the other if one of us didn’t see it yet- to see yet another person boinging up and down :)).

There were also sooooo many kids! The kids here are sooooooo CUTE! And I just love how kids are such a big part of the society here and kids are welcome everywhere! Sometimes it seems in the States that there are relatively few places where kids/families are really warmly welcomed. In China, (at least where I’ve been) most places seem to be kid places, family places, elder places – places open and welcome to all ages. And I love how integrated their society is – kids, grandparents, parents, cousins, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles (and of course all the appropriate Chinese terms that go along with all these relations – I’ll save that ‘lesson’ for another time – see Update 5 for more info on what I’m referring to ;)) are often seen together.

Before we left the park, Richard and I heard what sounded something like a marching band and singing (yet quite different from any of our ‘American’ marching bands) and promptly went over to investigate. There was a group of probably about 60 people gathered with BIG smiles and open mouths, singing songs they obviously all knew – and it wasn’t a generational thing either as elders, parents and – well I guess most of the kids were watching their parents sing with great curiosity but not singing themselves. Because it was a holiday, more people of all ages were singing, but usually it’s mainly retired folks who come once a week to sing. What a great activity! The woman leading it had a strong booming voice and at the end of one song, exclaimed, “Nimen kaixin bu kaixin?” “Are you happy?” And the crowd roared, “Kaixin!!” “HAPPY!!” Although I thought Richard might get bored since it was all in a different language, we stayed for many, many songs. Afterward Richard commented that he just loved being in that energy and could have stayed even longer. He felt several chills and energy running through his body while listening to and observing the joy in the crowd. It was a full, enriching, nourishing and uplifting energy to be in – as was apparent by the many loud, Bright, smiling and singing faces. As we were walking away and Richard said this, it just reminded me how sensitive we are to the energy around us. Just walking through a busy and noisy crowd, I noticed my body energy felt a bit more chaotic – yet amongst the singing I felt a strength, harmony and uplifting energy….

The Joys of…Lunchtime!

So soon after our park experience, Richard had a plane to catch so we exchanged BIG hugs (it was soooo great to see him and have him here even if it was a short visit) and hopped in a taxi to fly back to Zhong Shan. So I was then left on my own to enjoy the fun adventure of....eating! YAY! I love meal time in China! (I guess I love it in the States too b/c I love to eat…but in China it’s even more exciting b/c there are soooo many delicious, nutritious options and they’re sooooo cheap!!) So I walked around looking at the Chinese characters on the store fronts – and found one mentioning ‘chao cai’ – ooooh stir-fried veggies – Yum! So I popped inside and seeing that it was full of locals, I sat down. Another young man sat down with me as there were no other open tables. He quietly ordered his lunch and I then ordered mine. His came before mine and it looked so delicious that I had to ask what he was eating. He was surprised! He didn’t expect me to speak Chinese. He smiled big and asked me where I was from. When I said from the U.S. he delightedly proclaimed I was the very first American he ever spoke to! He said he had seen some Americans before but never dared talking with them. He was afraid either they wouldn’t understand his English phrases or he wouldn’t understand their Chinese :). We were both thankful to have a meal companion and enjoyed our yummy food together (I got stir-fried Chinese white cabbage with tofu over rice) and our mutual good company.

After lunch I still had a ways to walk back to the hotel (as Richard and I had taken a taxi to the park which was a fair jaunt from my hotel) and I decided to take this opportunity to explore my greater neighborhood :). So I began my stroll and at the same time started to desire having some fresh fruit. Right at that moment, as I was walking down the sidewalk, an older woman peddling a cart of fresh plump mangos bumbled by…”Ooooh mangos!” I thought. Well it was as if my thought was so loud that she heard me because she then promptly stopped to ask if I wanted some mangos – oh yes!! Yum!! We started chatting and then another older woman walked up to ask for the price. And then we all started talking. But what is funny is after a couple sentences with me, this other older women appeared startled and said, “Oh!! Ni hui jiang Zhongwen!!” “Oh! You can speak Chinese!” Even though we had already been talking, it just hit her that I was speaking her language despite the fact that I’m a ‘wai guo ren!” :)

A Morning Surprise from Ayi

Yesterday I was back in the clinic again – We had 2 days off – with Sunday being our ‘rest day’ (when we went hiking – see pictures below :)) and Monday being a holiday. So that meant I had 2 days where I didn’t see Ayi (as she didn’t go hiking with us on Sunday). Well yesterday when I arrived at the clinic, Ayi was there and as soon as she saw me walk in the door, she said with a big smile – “Wo hao jiu bu jian ni ah!” “I haven’t seen you in so long!!” And then gave me a BIG hug!! Wow!! I was so touched and I too felt so happy to see her again!! The Chinese don’t often give hugs so to receive a BIG hug from Ayi was such a wonderful surprise and gift!!!

Evening Class #2

Last night I had another evening class with Dr. Zhao. I arrived as he and Ayi were finishing dinner and also watching some ‘wushu’ – Chinese martial arts boxing :) As Dr. Zhao washed the dishes, Ayi looked over and asked if I’d like to hear her sing a song. “Oh Yes!,” I replied. She said this was a song she used to sing in school…and then she began…Wow – it was beautiful – sounded somewhat like some of the Chinese opera songs – so many different tones and levels even within singing one word. Half way through she hesitated and started to laugh …she forgot the words…yet I said she could just continue, make them up – I would never know the difference :)! Anyways, as Dr. Zhao and I left to go into the clinic to study, she said she’ll review (as she took out an old song book) and sing for me later this week. I love Ayi! She is so wonderful and she continues to make me so much wonderful food each day at lunch – often times she comes up to me at clinic saying what she’s planning for today’s lunch – I think she probably enjoys how much delight and excitement I express in my anticipation of enjoying her food! :)

So in last night’s class, first….before we got started I told Dr. Zhao that my knee was hurting again – from the inside. This has happened to me before – and can sometimes be quite debilitating. His eyes lit up and he said, “Oh lai…wo jiao ni zenme zhi!” –“oh, yes – come here – I’ll teach you how to treat this!” – He had me sit on the treatment table, roll up my left pant leg and then said that this would probably hurt…but not to worry. I would feel much better. He said this was the same method he used with my mom (I remember how painful it was for mom as I was interpreting for their session by phone as my mom lives in San Francisco and Dr. Zhao was there for a few weeks last summer). Anyways, he proceeded to slap my knee all over until it got very red (and yes it hurt!!) and water started to come out from my skin. He said my knee pain was caused by cold stuck inside and the slapping technique (which Mingtang uses too) gets the cold energy to come out. Wow! I feel so much better! My knee got warm and hot and now is much much better. Dr. Zhao rolled up his pant leg too and then had me practice on him! What a teacher! :)

We then had a class on different types of neck and back conditions and treatment. I love how he teaches and he teaches with such patience. I, again, am recording with my little ipod touch and scribbling my mix of Chinese, pinyin and English while Dr. Zhao is writing in calligraphy with his paint brush every word he says. This way we both benefit as 1) he gets to practice calligraphy while teaching, 2) I get to see and review how to write all the characters – as some of the terms are new to me, and 3) this slows down the pace of his talking so it’s easier for me to understand and absorb/digest his teachings :).

Ayi came in with some fresh hot water for us towards the end of our session and said, “Kailun, ta nenme xinxi de jiao ni. Ta meiyou zheyang jiaoguo beiren. Jun Lin, Zhao Fang, Zhao Peng – ta dou meiyou zheyang jiao tamen. Zhi you ni. Ni zhidao ma?” “Karen, he teaches you from his heart and with much much care. He’s never taught anyone else like this before – not even Jun Lin or his children, Zhao Fang and Zhao Peng. Just with you. You know?” I am so grateful to both Dr. Zhao and Ayi and am so grateful for my time here.

Oh and a quick update on my young friends, Su Mengwei and Tai Mengyu. They often come by at the end of the day to see if they can squeeze in a quick hello, give me a hug and maybe if they're lucky, get to ask me some more questions about America. :) My time is pretty full right now with clinic hours, evening study, my own study, my writing work, dancing, eating and of course my sharing with you all :) -- and Dr. Zhao is very aware of and protective of my short time left -- sometimes tells them that they must go if I'm still working or am studying. Even so I can tell he too is touched by how precious they are and their strong desire to see me :). Yesterday as I left and was getting a ride back to my hotel with Dr. Zhao, they both came up to the car with big smiles. Tai Mengyu gave me a picture of her and they both gave me another journal. Then they said, "Ayi, Ni kan!! Women dai ni gei women de dongxi" Look Auntie! We're both wearing the beautiful hair pieces you gave us!" Oh how cute!! Last week when they walked back to my hotel room with me, I showed them my room and they LOVED seeing and exploring all of my "American" things. I had just bought 3 sparkly hair pieces when I went shopping with Junlin and decided to have them each choose one for themselves. This way we could all sparkle together and think of one another :) They loved these hair pieces and had me show them how to tie their hair up in it. Well, as I was just learning myself, I didn't do it so successfully for them but told them to show their moms and that they would help them put the sparkly hair pieces in their pretty hair. I was as delighted as they to both see them and see these sparkles in their hair yesterday :)

Also, attached below are pictures from my hike with Richard, Dr. Zhao and Jun Lin on Sunday. We went to a beautiful canyon out in Luoyang called "Long Tan Da Xia Gu" Some of the pictures are a bit sideways as for some reason Dr. Zhao likes to take them like this :) (I will make a note to ask why :))

There's also one of Richard and I by a waterfall and notice the Chinese woman making the 'peace' or 'victory' symbol -- the little girls did this in my picture with them too -- it's a popular thing to do in photos here.

The plant is of 'lian qiao' -- this is an herb we use in clinic -- we use the seed pods (you can see a few of them) -- Lian qiao is good for fevers and sore throats. I also included a couple pics from our lunch (it was funny -- as we started eating, a mother and 2 little kids came up to me -- the mom asked if her kids could have their picture taken with me -- Oh yes!! I love taking pictures with kids :) So we took pictures....and then the mom asked if she could take her picture with me.. and oh yes! of course - that's great!...and then in a few moments she came with her younger brother -- oh yes! yes, that's great - let's take a picture. And then... her older brother and their cousin came....and by this time another family and their kids has also lined up to have their pictures taken! It got to be quite humorous and after awhile the excitement (especially with 2 'wai guo ren' present!!) settled down and we all got back to eating our lunch :)) The last picture is of one of the many village stone home we saw in the mountains :)

Well, gosh it’s already my bed time yet again! I just get to writing and keep on going :)

Thank you again for your emails!!! YAY! I feel sooo happy hearing from you, and again, even if don’t respond right away by email, I AM sending my Love!!

Much LOVE,


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

More Park Stunts, Chinese Lesson for Beginners, & My Joint Project with Jun Lin

Greetings Friends,

My friend, Richard (many of you in the qigong community know him :)) is here - he just got here yesterday and last night the 2 of us went on another outing to the park with Dr. Zhao! :) This time I remembered my camera and took some pictures (and several videos) of his park stunts (see pics below)! :) Once again we had a growing crowd to see this short, white-haired man perform physical stunts that most 15-20 year olds can't do! (this, combined with the fact that now 2 foreigners were present made coming over to watch this show simply irresistible to most people nearby :))

I'm so happy to have Richard here! He arrived at the same hotel I'm staying at about 4:30 yesterday and gave me a call. I went to go meet him at the hotel to then walk him back to the clinic and half way back I kept hearing someone saying my English name -- But! being in China, no one knows my English name - so what was happening? I thought it was just in my head until....... - oh yes! Richard! - I realized it was him walking towards me on the other side of the street and calling my name. :) As soon as I saw him, he began to cross the street -- my instincts were to go to the other side and escort him (as he is a 'wai guo ren' - 'foreigner' and therefore not used to the no-rules-anything-goes traffic game here -- or so I thought!! I forgot that he's already been living in China for the past 10 months and is WAY more comfortable and "Chinese-like" in crossing the street than me. He actually just seemed to float across so naturally, easily and quickly -- kind of like watching a leaf in a relaxed manner just float down a stream - there may be other big rocks or logs and twigs, but the leaf just easily, and swiftly moves along in a relaxed, efficient flow -- and that was Richard floating over with a big smile and hug to greet me!

Faces in Chinese Characters?
It's also fun to see the Chinese language through his eyes (he hasn't studied Chinese in school and therefore has a different, fresh perspective on the language and characters). For example, we went into the little grocery store last night next to our hotel to buy some...yogurt, of course! (I love drinking their 'suan nai' here! :) I mentioned this in my very first update and have faithfully continued sipping away at these delicious drinks several times a week :)) -- we also looked at some of their snacks, all of which are packaged in bags and wrapping with Chinese characters. Well, Richard surprised me in saying, "Oh here are some sunflower seeds." How did he know?! It's all in Chinese! Well he said he recognized the face on the package - "What?! What face?" I asked as there were no pictures -- only characters. Well the the character on the package for "xiang" (meaning "flavored"), when looking at it from a 'non-reader' perspective, he said, really does look like a face!! And it does! See the pic below - it's the top bold character for 'xiang gua zi' :)

Nighttime Studies #1 at the Clinic
Friday night I had my first evening lesson with Dr. Zhao. Again I am feeling such a sense of awe for how and why I've been somehow placed here in Zhengzhou, China, sitting on one of Dr. Zhao's little wooden stools next to his modest wooden desk, in his most humble clinic (except, as I've described, for the quietly hanging 50+ 'jinqi' tapestries all given by patients who were once seriously ill and had a most miraculous recovery through their care with Dr. Zhao. Only in such a circumstance will people give one of these tapestries of gratitude and honor). As I've mentioned, I feel I am just starting to get a 'glimpse' of who he really is and the magnitude of what he has to offer. That night he told me that sometimes he feels as though he has this great, great treasure - a treasure which within it holds so much knowledge, skill, wisdom, ability to benefit many, many people -- that is buried and no one knows about. He dutifully does his service day in and day out at his clinic, with patients young and old, rich and poor, near and far all coming to receive the same quality, dedicated, loving and masterful care. And yet, how can he share with the world what he has to offer?

He takes all kinds of patients -- from common colds and back aches to the most rare skin diseases, neuro-muscular disorders, severe coronary heart disease, eye damage due to electric lights, stomach cancer, severe depression, epilepsy, lupus, the list goes on and on....Many patients I've talked with have also gone to the hospital, used Western medicine --sometimes over many, many years. Then after hearing about and coming to see Dr. Zhao, they finally regain health, often in a relatively in a short amount of time. He lives the wisdom of his craft. He is a true self-made Master in his profession. As I've asked before, how is it that the world has yet to know about him?

He shook his head and said this is a weakness in China -- sometimes so much talent is 'wasted', is lived in a short life and then gone before it is noticed, recognized, and shared for the benefit of many. Some doctors put more attention on publicity and advertisements, yet Dr. Zhao prefers to focus on his task, on his purpose and mission to serve and be the very best Doctor he can be.

A Gift
During our evening session Dr. Zhao also gave me a very special book. We were just about to start our lesson and he took out an old tattered paperback and began writing on the back (the cover had long ago fallen off - along with the first few pages :)). He then handed it to me and had me read: "Zhe shi wo du le 38 nian de shu. Jintian wo ba ta songgei Meiguo pengyou, Kailun nushi. Xiwang ta neng guo xue hao ZhongYi. -- Zhongguo, Zhongyi, Zhao Fuxue, 4/2/2010, Zhengzhou, Wulibao Zhongyi zhensuo." -- "This is a book I have studied for over 38 years. Today I give it to my American friend, Karen. May she study Chinese Medicine well. -- China, Dr. Zhao Fuxue, 4.2.2010, Zhengzhou Wulibao Chinese Medicine Clinic." The front he wrote a poem that he said I'll understand once I've studied well.

This book, he said, is a book all of Chinese herbal remedies. "If you learn, study and really know the contents of this book, you will be a master at Chinese herbalism," said Dr. Zhao. While he has a newer copy of this book, he said this one is more precious, as it contains his "xinxi" - his love, his sincere and dedicated love to his craft. Again I feel so touched and honored. Dr. Zhao leafed through it some and showed me the many notes it contains that he wrote to himself many years back -- these notes give me yet another glimpse into knowing/understanding my dear friend and teacher. He then, as Ayi came in to join us for a bit, also began to recite by memory, some of the formulas. Just as I have told you about the 'gejue' -- the poems/songs for the different acupuncture points along the meridians, there are also such poems for many, many formulas. He has dedicated much of his pure love and energy to reciting and making these words an integral part of his being. Ayi mentioned that he had already memorized most of this book before they were married!

Dr. Zhao's desire to teach and share what he has invested a lifetime in mastering (not to mention the generations of doctors before him for which he is carrying the 'torch') is soooooo GREAT! It's a big responsibility he is carrying. And sometimes I feel his frustration in 1) his desire to share with the world, and 2) feeling held back by obstacles of his own and other countries' governments, not to mention visas/green cards, etc. He said he could easily invest his lifetime here in China, continuing in his quiet service, helping those fortunate to hear of and know about him - yet what will happen when he passes on? Will anyone be able to carry on and keep this wisdom, knowledge, mastery alive?

Also, while he says his heart tells him to teach me and he feels a natural willingness and desire to do so -- sometimes we both laugh and mutually wonder why? As -- while I am very receptive to learn -- and being that this material is mainly new, I am a very clear slate -- I am also one who, sitting at his desk next to him on his little wooded stool, is just starting to comprehend the very basics of the basic of even just the subject topic headings of what he has to share!!! Yet he continues to share with patience and persistence.

Another Pop Quiz
For example, yesterday during clinic hours, I had 2 other 10 minute lesson periods (in between clients) during which he would write out with his calligraphy brush some of the 'gejues' for specific point categories. While writing them out he would also explain the meaning of the poem. (I'm using my nifty ipod touch and can actually record him on my voice memo to listen to later in my room! :)) Well I guess I hadn't listened to the previous day's lesson enough b/c, in the midst of our lesson....I got quizzed! Yikes!! I guess I shouldn't be surprised given that that occasionally happens in the 'herbal department' with Jun Lin and Ayi, BUT I hadn't prepared....and when Dr. Zhao mentioned some "Luo points" he has told me about the other day -- he quickly said - 'What meridian is this on?" Oh dear! I froze....and felt somewhat like Eddie Izzard (he's a hilarious British transvestite comedian for those of you who don't know him) -- saying "Uh duh, I...I have no idea" And then another time, I did - honestly remember the right meridian - Bladder channel -- but I blurted out the Chinese word for "gall bladder" instead....oh dear! And then a big sigh from Dr. Zhao. Sometimes he says a nickname for me under his breath that he and Ayi use at times if I make a small or-- sometimes rather not-so-small mistake (of which there have been quite a few lately!!) It's-- "Sha niu" -- Well to explain -- "niu" means cow -- but often parents call their daughters "niu niu" -- which is used as an endearing term....BUT "sha" is not so endearing as it means "foolish" -- so "sha niu" is kind of like saying, "oh you silly!!" Even so, he says it with a twinkle in his eyes and sometimes follows it with a 'bu sha.' -- basically meaning 'not foolish' -- or those of you who have participated in Conscious Language - it's like saying 'cancel clear' :)

GeJue Lesson - 10 Simple Yet Powerful Points
On the subject of "gejues", I'm excited because I actually completely understand one whole gejue that Dr. Zhao shared with me yesterday and it is soooo cool!! So he sat down with his 'maobi' - his calligraphy brush and started writing out the ge jue while explaining each phrase in language I could understand while I scribbled my jumbled mixture of pinyin, English and Chinese characters in my little notebook and had my ipod mic recording next to his brush (which ended up being a little noisy!). Today, while in the car on our way back from the LongTan Canyon (which Dr. Zhao took Jun Lin, Richard and me too -- so beautiful!! -- I may need to include more pics from today's trip in a different email :)) -- I looked up each character I didn't know with some help from Jun Lin and located all the points mentioned in the ge jue....and then re-listened to Dr. Zhao's lecture, read the ge jue and....I Understand!!! YAY! So I'd like to share it with you b/c it's both 'neat' and useful. This ge jue was written by Ma Dan Yang, who was a famous doctor during the Ming Dynasty. It's a simple and short ge jue highlighting 10 acupuncture points. As the story goes, Ma Dan Yang was able to cure any kind of sickness with just these points!!! So here it translation:

Zu San Li and Nei Ting (2 points on the stomach meridian) can heal any stomach or belly illness.
Qu Chi and He Gu can be used for any head or face sickness. (these are both on the large intestine meridian)
For great pain in one's waist/hips or back, the points Wei Zhong and Kun Lun (both on the bladder channel) can be used.
For neck/shoulder pain, use Hou Xi on the small intestine meridian and Lie Que on the lung meridian.
For knee and other leg joint pain, use the points Huan Tiao and Yang Ying Quan - both of which are on the gall bladder channel.

Then it says, that of the over 360 points, none can match the usefulness of these 10! :o) (again in Chinese, it rhymes and has a beautiful cadence)
If you look up some acupuncture charts online, you'll be able to find these easily and can start poking yourself or each other if you have an ache or ailment and help yourself naturally feel better quickly :)

Herbal Log - a Joint Project with Jun Lin
I have included a picture of one of the herbs I've photographed for my herbal study log. This is a joint effort between Jun Lin and me :) -- She's so great! Often in her kind way, if sees me going about doing something in a less than graceful or efficient way, she quickly offers another way to go about whatever I'm doing. For example, in my notebook (of which I also included a picture to show a snapshot of my scribbled part Chinese characters --(and scribbled re-writes of some characters!), pinyin and English), I started sketching little not-so-accurate looking pictures of the herbs to help me remember them. Well upon seeing this, Jun Lin astutely suggested -- "Kailun, why don't you just take some photographs of these herbs?" Oh, what a great idea! So I started photographing them, peering my camera into the little drawers of herbs....and again after watching me for a bit Junlin said..."um...Kailun, ni yinggai zheyang..." --"um Karen, you should do it like this..." And she took out a clean square sheet of paper (that we use for wrapping up our herbal prescriptions) and put a neat pile of the bi xie herbs I was photographing on the paper. She looked pleased and said "There. Now take a picture like this." I did and we both examined it and yes, it came out much better -- we both laughed and then I continued in this way -- writing on a separate piece of paper the order of the herbs I was photographing so I could look at it later while looking at my pictures. Well, then Jun Lin, continuing to observe me, had another brilliant idea and again said, "Um...Kailun, ni yinggai zheyang zuo" -- "Karen, you should do it like this"-- and she then wrote out the name of the next herb I was photographing and put it in front of the neat little pile. Oh "hao congming!" - how smart! Yes, of course, now the name of the herb is in my photo! :) So we're now taking this on as a joint project where she cuts the little pieces of paper and writes the Chinese characters out, and I write the pinyin and gather the herbs for my photo :).

As a side note, I really love learning about the Chinese herbs in this way. I love starting to recognize them by name and 'face' and even am able to decipher some of Dr. Zhao's scribbled hand-written prescriptions. There are sooo many herbs and a good 300-400 used regularly in the clinic. I've probably learned about 60 so far and I so enjoy my task of "zhua yao" -- filling prescriptions with Jun Lin and Ayi and each time I remember an herb, I feel I'm getting to know my 'friends' better. Also, today in our hike, Jun Lin pointed out several plants whose seeds we use as medicine in the clinic. This was so exciting to see too - to see natural medicine all around us in the blooming plant life and to be able to recognize and greet it by name! :)

So another long update! I just get writing and seem to keep going!
Tomorrow is QinMing Jie - a holiday for paying respects to one's ancestors. Richard and I will be visiting some temples with Dr. Zhao.

Much great love to you all. Thank you again for your emails!!! I love hearing from you!! Sometimes I take awhile to respond as my computer time is little here -- and know that I thank you for your sharings so much and send much love!!

Happy Easter, for those of you who celebrate it today! And Happy Day to all!

Much LOVE,