Saturday, June 7, 2008

Tunes for Teddy Bears

Lights will guide you home/And ignite your bones/And I will try to fix you. (‘Fix You,’ Coldplay)

Shortly after one o’clock, the Chinese NGO team promised, they would come pick me up from my Chengdu hostel and we would return to the children’s camps in the disaster area. Shortly afternoon, I raced out the door, convinced that nothing like a quick run would prep me for revisiting the children I had met the day before. Between the tunes playing in my ears and the thoughts of the chillin’s playing in my mind, my enthusiasm got the better of the time and forty minutes later I found myself with less than twenty minutes left for the entire return leg. Just as the clock struck one I slipped through the gate of the guesthouse, with the fear that I’d miss the Chinese NGO peeps spurring one of the most charged runs of the my life.

Great runs have a tendency to spark great ideas. This one was no different. There is a great Chinese saying, which boils down to something like ‘don’t stop until three have rang the bell.’ Or in other words, get three opinions before making your decision. A staffer from the hostel shared the saying with me as, minutes removed from my frantic run, we headed out the door to find a CD player. Sure enough three stores required visits before I was back at the guesthouse, polishing off the first CD I have ever burned to accompany the new CD player I decided to give to the children. Coldplay’s Fix You was joined by an eclectic cast: a few Chinese pop songs, the Beatles, some Marley and Moshav, Dropkick Murphy’s Boston rally song (thanks Ariel!) and a song composed and sung by a friend that has had a special meaning for me since said friend shared it with me a few months back.

I was buzzed to see how the kids would react to the music. Another child—and another last second run—changed my plans for the day, however. The Chinese NGO called and said we would not be heading to the camps today. Apparently, a pregnant lady had requisitioned the relief workers’ car for a last second race to the hospital.

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