After thinking my 1st “home cooked” meal from the Salvation Army was the source of my digestive issues, it would only make sense for me to accept a dinner invite from some other residents like I did last night. I’ve always heard the best way to conquer a fear is to confront it instead of avoiding it so I say “bring it on Indian food.” After eating, I’d say it was too early to say if the Indian food won or if I did, but one thing I do know is that I got to eat Indian style (with my hands) for the 1st time since I’ve been up here and it was quite enjoyable. My satisfaction in using my hands to eat wasn’t because it was more natural though—it wasn’t; rather, it was because I got to do something I would have never been allowed to do when I was a kid or even back home now. Can’t spank me from all the way over here can you Mom! The food itself was actually some of the best Indian food I’ve had so far, but like I told the chefs of the night, I can’t give them a 10 out of 10 quite yet until I hear back from what my stomach has to say.
In the morning, I didn’t wake up to a lot of digestive activity, which was a good sign and with that, I went down to the Mother House to meet up with my team to volunteer today, but as soon as I said “hello” they were saying “goodbye” and told me to just take another day off to get 100% healthy. Being a man of the people, I listened to my team’s advice and so I walked back to the Salvation Army with another free day ahead of me. After some internet and breakfast on Sudder St, the rest of my afternoon consisted of the following work day: table tennis, tea, read, nap, read, table tennis, socializing, tea, and badminton. It’s tough being Tyson right now I know. With respect to the socializing portion of my day, I had a good opportunity to talk with a senior resident by the name of Errol. This is the 1st time I’ve mentioned Errol in this blog, but he was worthy of mentioning a long time ago as he easily falls under the category of Indian people I’ve wanted to meet while over here. Errol only has an inventory of about 2 lower teeth in his mouth, but when he smiles, you’d think he has a full set of shiny whites. Another reason I like him so much is that his name is easy to remember as it is the same first name as an ex-player on Gonzaga’s basketball team by the name of Errol Knight...but you all knew that. I can’t say Errol from India has the same skill of potentially shattering a backboard like Errol Knight did with his dunks, but I’d say his personality has a similar power in that it would shatter anyone’s bad day in a matter of seconds. Errol’s words of wisdom of the day...”use your day to do good things” and “hurry up and get married because you’re running out of time.”
Later in the afternoon, I finally had my 1st opportunity to play badminton and I’m excited, but equally scared for the matches that will inevitably occur as I’ve come to find out that one of the residents here holds the honor of being the badminton champion at his university as well as a 2 time champion of West Bengal. In watching this kid play, it wasn’t like watching an Adam Morrison type of player either where you’re like really….this guy is putting up these kind of numbers? On the contrary, this kid is so athletic that he takes the “flip flop” sound out of the flip flops he’ s playing with and that’s almost impossible to do just casually strolling around let alone running around on a concrete badminton court. He and I had a casual session last night with a couple other players of just hitting the birdie around, but afterwards, I made a point in telling him we’d need to play one on one sometime and he kindly obliged with a level of confidence that I know too well on the court and that makes me question if I still have it. Time will tell…either way, only when we play against the best can we bring the best out of ourselves and so it will be a win/win scenario for me….maybe not for my racket if I lose too much, but for me—yes.