Labelled a thinker by his Nonna when still an infant, Andrew has lived up to the billing. The journey to the academy, 3 legs on a plane plus an adventurous taxi drive, had his thoughts churning.
Why had he come to China? Was he hoping to achieve something in particular or was it merely an opportunity to escape from the rigidity of his hometown and the oppressive social norms?
He still didn’t know, though as with all things, a combination of factors undoubtedly played their part.
Fittingly, in the week leading up to departure, Andrew had experienced a shift in mindset. Reading Tony Robbins often has that effect on people. As someone who is easily angered, Robbins insights had taught Andrew that, his reactions were a consequence of self-imposed rules. Rules which others had no awareness of. Having developed this understanding, Andrew had been working to alter his rule system and also recognised that most of those around him, are not malicious but well intentioned.
Things had started to happen too. He was more open, viewing most situations as an opportunity to learn.
Late in the week he had visited his Nonna. The lady has a love for her family that only just exceeds that for her garden. As he made his way through the back gate, as is customary, there she sat on an upturned milk crate chopping the roots off green, leafy vegetables. She called him over to proffer advice.
‘You must call your mother every second day. At least. She worry about you’ she says in English yet to be refined despite 50 years living in Australia. Andrew assured her that he’ll keep in regular contact. His mother comes over and the two begin to converse. As they do, Andrew took stock of the situation.
It had become evident to Andrew that life is made up of the small things. Looking across his Nonna’s garden, it offered fennel, beans and spinach. He thought to himself, why haven’t I taken the opportunity to spend more time with Nonna in the garden? Learning about agriculture and subsistence living has always appealed to him. He made a mental note to block out some time to help out in ‘la giardina’ upon his return.