Pressure at the CCCC
I felt a lot of pressure at the Chinatown Cultural Community Center today.
First I arrived for Tai Chi to find Luba, a fairly new Tai Chi student, wondering where everyone was. Linda looked at me and said, “Okay, Caroline, you’re the teacher.” I have been studying with Mr. Pei since last June. But just the thought of leading Tai Chi made me sweat – and not in a good way.
The first round went okay, but I started to feel the pressure build and I began to forget my transitions. When Lucille arrived, it all fell apart and I opted to lead us through four of the eight exercises. Linda gave me a handout with the 24 steps and I placed it on the floor in front of me, hoping that the words would hop off the page and into my brain.
Things drastically improved when I saw Mr. Pei walk into the room with Peter about 11:40. I instantly relaxed. Mr. Pei was smiling ear to ear and he gave me a thumbs up. He looked so excited. On Tuesday, he emphasized once again that when he was gone, we would be the teachers. I frequently move between number three and number six on the list of teachers to pass on the Tai Chi legacy. He kept talking about going away and being in the ground. I suspected that he was discussing his own morality, but we are never fully certain what he is talking about.
I realized that I don’t know the Tai Chi moves and I need Mr. Pei’s whipsered words to keep me on task. I tried to tell Mr. Pei that I was going to record him on Tuesday. He just looked at me, so I finally made the universal paparazzi sign and held up an imaginary camera and snapped a photo. He gave me another thumbs up and started telling me all of the different pictures we should take.
I am also going to record him using my iMic on my iPod, so that I can play his voice on my iPhone and guide us through the steps. Under pressure, I never figured out when to “ward off” and I probably did “cloud hands at least three times in one set. Good thing Mr. Pei showed up and serenaded us with Joyce Kilmer’s Trees. Maybe I can catch that one on video, too.
Then when I arrived at Chinese Brush Painting, Monica really wanted me to paint a bird. I gave up on the crane last week. I had taken off almost a month from painting and they just weren’t coming to life. Monica even said that she wasn’t going to paint today. She just wanted to help me finish a bird so that I could donate it to the CCCC for a fundraiser to send high school students to China this summer. She is hoping my bird will bring $100. So I need lots of practice. Since I can’t paint a flower, my bird will be perched on top of grapes, as seen in the mock-up above. After painting on three different types of papers, I started to believe that it was finals at CCCC.