Presence

The academy did not offer water or toilet paper. This gave enough reason for Andrew to venture to the nearest town. Thankfully, Martian offered to chaperone the newcomer.

“When we get to town, I show you which shop you can trust and no trust” he said as the Tuk-tuk spluttered up and down the hill. “Some time I buy green water. It make me sick”. Andrew committed Martian’s mistake to memory, though it seemed obvious that green water was likely to result in an upset stomach at the very least.

Meat hung from a vendors stall at the main intersection of the town. After paying the driver, Martian and Andrew made their way to the trusted supermarket. Martian had begun to open up on the short drive in. His time in China was a matter of more than learning a martial art. Difficulty finding work coupled with the high cost of living in Poland had forced his hand. Asia, to him, seemed like a good destination to begin the next leg of his life. Initially he plans to travel, living off his measly disability payment, before looking for work. Not wanting to pry, Andrew has yet to uncover the exact nature of the disability and its severity.

Martian is of the belief that the Caucasian man is in high demand in Asia. “White man can get well-paid job doing very little. White English teacher paid same amount in one day as Chinese English teacher gets paid in one month” he exclaimed with the most exuberance Andrew had observed up to this point.

They picked up what they needed, including two cumbersome water jugs, the type one would normally find atop a water cooler. Hopping aboard the Tuk-tuk, Martian spoke, “In China, you can live simple life, if that’s what you want”. As was typical, he did not expand on this thought, but Andrew began to think.

Life can be interpreted in so many ways. Every culture, every person has his or her own view on what constitutes a good life. Then there are those, like Andrew, who are unsure of the right path.

His readings had exposed to him to ideas of the hunter-gatherers who may have stumbled on the recipe for a happy life. That’s the essence of life isn’t it? Happiness? Or is it contribution? Andrew had yet to work this one out.

“Lots of poverty in China, but China rich” Martian pointed out as they neared the academy. Andrew went back to his thinking learning that a single sentence often constituted a conversation for the Polish national.

Hunter-gatherers and others of similar ilk have a greatly reduced sense of the future. They are concerned primarily with the present moment. They did not have to rely on crops but their expert foraging skills. A slip-up in this mindset, to think of tomorrow for example, could be detrimental to their current state. Perhaps this is what drew him to researching these cultures as his mind was forever stuck in the past or present. This current method of living proved tiresome and unfulfilling.

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