He had begun to lace up his shoes for an afternoon training session when Forde confronted him, “Hey man, what are you up to?” he asked expectantly. Andrew explained himself and Forde responded with “Oh…I’m heading to the restaurant across the road to hang out with some Chinese buddies. I was hoping you’d come along so I wouldn’t be the only one who couldn’t understand what was going on”.
Andrew managed to override his default response of ‘no’. He reminded himself that he was writing his own adventure. Perhaps something could eventuate from this situation, a lesson at the very least. Forde was elated when he said he’d tag along. He’d try anything once.
Andrew and Forde made their way across the road to the house-cum-restaurant, the set-up of which was unlikely to pass the most lenient health and safety inspection. Escorted by a Chinese man in his thirties, communication was made possible thanks to the wonders of Google Translate.
They made their way up to a small gazebo where a group were conversing and passed a boy with bandaging around his big toe. Andrew recognised this to be the child whose toe had been inadvertently shortened by his American buddy. The remnants of lunch, including chicken and various soups, sat on the table. Immediately they were offered beer and tea. An odd combination, Andrew thought. The tea was pleasing while Andrew feigned drinking the diluted beer.
He hung about for half an hour, battling to communicate, before calling it quits. Forde pleaded with him, “Dude don’t abandon me!” Andrew was resolute however. He had acquired an experience and recognised it wasn’t for him. The gathering was centred on drinking and smoking, neither of which Andrew found particularly appealing.
He returned to training proud of his ability to be flexible with his plans, try something new and subsequently not get drawn into anything that didn’t meet his values. This, was a small win.