Chess – Curtains – A Reflection

Chess and Curtains are short reflections authored by Ilia Kramarik on page 100 of Ilia’s epic book of art and poetry titled The Future Never Gives Up…The featured image I choose for this reflection is from my you tube channel for some of my home theater songs…The featured image depicts the chess board with red lace and my smart phone is on it and I am performing home theater in my smart phone…I will share the song I produced for my you tube channel at the end of this reflection…Chess fascinates me I find the game fascinating and I am fascinated by the fact the the white wins most often though expert chess players would kick my butt in chess with black or white pawns as I do not fully understand this fascinating board game…In Chess Ilia writes…”Chess plays with us.” — In Curtains Ilia writes…”Stage curtains are living without a live audience.” — I consider life to be very much like a game of chess or like a dance…Life can be full of joy and full of surprises and life has its ups and downs like a dance…I have a story I would like to share with my readers and this is a true story about my time in Hong Kong China when I was nineteen years old…Sit back and relax and enjoy this short story about the wonderful hospitality I experienced during my time in Hong Kong China twenty nine years ago in the year 1992 when I was nineteen years old…

Chinese Hospitality

At the tender age of nineteen I was a college student almost a senior at university ready to graduate with my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration which I accomplished with flying colors with one masters level course completed by age 20 so that before I turned 21 I already had my bachelor of science degree and could have gotten my master’s levels done…I made the mistake of not pursuing my master’s levels and to this day I never did get my MBA…The school of business I attended has international recognition as one of the best schools of business in the world and the place to go for your MBA…Their MBA’s are highly competitive and sought after from around the world…I made history when I graduated not because I was so young as the average student graduating was at least twenty one or twenty two I was only twenty but because it was the first graduation class from their school of business which was new at the time of my graduation twenty eight years ago…I still have the same back pack from my college years it is a Jansport back pack and my Jansport back pack has been with me throughout my extensive travels including Europe…To this day I use my over twenty year old back pack…I tease my son that my back pack is older than him…I wash my back pack gentle cycle in the washing machine…While in college I befriended a wonderful Chinese young lady around the same age as myself named Tracy…I was blessed to be housed in the international hall of students…I met students from all over the world while in college which broadened my horizons and brightened my days…Tracy was delightful and very bright…We were attending a social event and Tracy needed a nice blouse and it so happened I had a blouse that was nice that fit so Tracy wore that to the social event…As my friendship with Tracy grew I expressed an interest in visiting Tracy’s homeland of China which for Tracy is Hong Kong China…Tracy agreed and was amazing…Tracy helped me to get my international visa which is permission from China to visit China…Visa’s are very important to get in advance prior to traveling…Always make sure the country you are going to is researched and if they require a visa be sure to get your visa in advance…I had to get a visa to visit Turkey and that visa was very easy to obtain and not costly…Always dot your I”s and cross your T’s when traveling particularly for international travel…I got my visa in a timely manner and Tracy ensured that her parents were ok with my coming to stay with their family in China as I could afford the flight and modest spending money but could not afford a hotel after all I was a poor student…I will never forget when I called my parents my mother and father were surprised by my announcement…I did not ask my parent’s permission to go to China I simply called mom and dad and said I am going to China I booked the flight I have my visa and everything is in order can you please take me to JFK airport…I flew out of John F Kennedy Airport in New York City…My parents were not thrilled that I was going to China but I explained how lovely Tracy was and still is to this day and that I would be in good hands with Tracy’s family…Reluctantly my father — may he rest in peace — to his credit had faith in me his nineteen year old daughter and agreed to take me to John F. Kennedy airport for my visit to China…At JFK while getting in line to prepare for my flight prior to meeting up with Tracy…To my joy a man called my name he said my name and asked “is that you?”…I said yes it was a family friend named Andy who was returning to the USA from Ireland…That was a precious moment because the chances of seeing someone you know at a major international airport are very slim…I was thrilled to see a familiar face and I told him I was on my way to China…Our world can seem very small at times and then other times our world can seem so very vast and large…My Mom and Dad knew Andy well and I believe I told my parents I saw Andy at JFK airport…Andy like so many other immigrants like Tracey and myself who come to America from countries like Ireland and China and other parts of the world did very well…Andy married a lovely lady and has children of his own and is doing fantastic…Andy’s wife is very bright she studied law and is an attorney who helps immigrants from Ireland get their papers legally…An amazing woman…My Mom and Dad did not get to meet Tracy because I was meeting Tracy at John F. Kennedy airport to fly with her to China…The faith my parents had to let me go to China is impressive and let me go they did…My Dad could have flat out refused me this request but my parents realized I was growing up and putting myself through college working part time at university and doing alright for myself at such a young age…I managed to get my four year degree in business administration with an economics minor in record time before age twenty one including completing a masters level course and an internship at the local hospital where I attended university and a trip to China without a car of my own…My father told me I would be a good provider and that I was a real go getter…I was hardworking too…I worked my first job at age fifteen and never looked back…I met my friend Tracy at John F. Kennedy airport and we boarded our nineteen hour flight to Hong Kong China…On our way we landed in Anchorage Alaska for a short stop and I got to set foot in Anchorage Alaska briefly at their airport…At that time in Anchorage Alaska manual signs were used for guiding plane traffic as their airport was very small then…I can say that I set foot in Alaska so I count Alaska as part of my travel experience…We then stopped in Seoul Korea which I also count as part of my travel experience…Then we landed in Hong Kong China…It was a very long flight and Tracy slept most of the time which impressed me because I could not sleep I was way too excited…This was my first major international trip on my own with my friend a dear friend since I flew on my own with my two sisters from Ireland to the USA at the age of thirteen…I turned fourteen the summer we moved from Ireland to the USA in the year 1986…When we landed in Hong Kong China Tracy guided me and we met up with her family her mother and her father and her brother who spoke Chinese…I was fascinated by how crowded Hong Kong was and when I was being transported to their home you could reach out by putting your hand out the car window and almost touch the cars next to you…Hong Kong is a bustling very busy Chinese city…At the time of my visit it was two short years after the Tiananmen Square Massacre and people were still talking about the shock waves of horror that gripped China during and after that dreadful day…Students who were peacefully protesting in China were gunned down in Tiananmen Square…I was told that blood was flowing down the rivers the Massacre was that horrible…Health care wise America was watching those who visited China like a hawk screening those of us returning from China to the USA for TB or Tuberculosis as there was a major TB outbreak during my time in China…I was not aware of the TB outbreak until I returned to the USA and had to take medication as a precaution despite the fact that i was immunized against TB in Ireland…The CDC or Centers For Disease Control were very thorough and not on their watch would I be allowed to contract or spread TB in the USA from China…I do not fault them for that as diseases can spread rapidly these days as evidenced by the current Covid-19 Pandemic…During my time in Hong Kong I shopped for clothes and enjoyed that very much…In Hong Kong you could dicker or talk them town in price I learned that was fine to do from my friend Tracy who felt I paid too much for a bathing suit…I went out to eat with Tracy and her friends which was a wonderful social experience for me…Tracy’s friends were lovely and a pleasure to meet…Tracy being industrious and hard working lost no time in looking for work and I prayed that she would find a summer job quickly and she did find a job quickly…Finding work in China back then was easy not sure what it is like now but back then there was lots of work to be found in China…Tracy had a lovely boyfriend whom I met and whom Tracy went on to marry in a lovely traditional Chinese wedding…A wedding I would have loved to attend but was unable due to finances…Tracy invited close friends and family to her wedding which was lovely I was not invited but was not offended at all as I knew there was no way I could afford another trip to China at the time…Tracy went on to do phenomenally well in America in Real Estate and has children of her own and to this day is doing fantastic…Her husband works hard too is also very bright and is also doing fantastic…I share this story because my Chinese friend is hard working decent very bright and has carved out her own piece of American apple pie with little help from others…That woman God love her worked very hard to get to where she is today…I admire Tracy and I am so grateful I got to experience Chinese culture and hospitality…When I first arrived in Hong Kong I was taken to Tracy’s parent’s modest chicken farm…I was told by Tracy that her parents worked very hard on their chicken farm which is how her parents were able to help Tracy go to America to get her college education and to continue Tracy’s American good life…I knew to bring Tracy’s family a modest gift and so I did hand them two modest gifts as my small way of saying thank you for your hospitality…My small gifts were well received and Tracy’s father really liked the ring I had gotten for Tracy it was an Irish ring with Connemara marble on it…Tracy asked me if her father could keep the ring and I said yes…I was then given a doll by Tracy’s grandmother who was visiting from Indonesia…I rested at their modest farm for a time as I was very tired from the long journey…I noticed that to use the bathroom you had to use an out door hole in the ground and use a bucket of water to flush it…Not very sanitary but that is how the bathroom worked on their modest farm…I really admire Tracy’s parent’s for how hard they worked and all they accomplished from their modest chicken farm…I may have not understood the kind of farm Tracy’s parents ran but my understanding is it was chickens that they kept and sold…Meaning they sold chicken eggs and were industrious chicken farmers…All I know is Tracy’s parents were decent hardworking folks whose hospitality I will always remember with a warm heart…Tracy told me her parents wanted me to try a piece of fruit…Let me tell you this fruit had a stink to it…It did not smell good it smelled awful but I was expected to try this fruit…Tracy explained to me that it is tradition for guests to try this fruit and the taste is not as bad as the smell…It took me some time to work up the courage but I tried the fruit it tasted ok not great I simply had to over come the bad smell of the fruit…After we exchanged gifts and I rested on a single bed in a small space that had a wrought iron fence and tin roof but no privacy to speak of…I realized that I may be expected to stay at this modest farm and so I decided I would make the best of it…After I tried the stinky fruit Tracy’s parents decided that I was well mannered and appreciative and respectful enough to be worthy of the privilege of staying in their lovely coop home in Hong Kong…After I was allowed to try to drive their stick shift old farm vehicle a task I failed miserably at but tried anyway…I was taken to their lovely high rise coop apartment…This apartment cost them at them time around One Hundred Thousand US dollars was my understanding…They own this apartment like a coop in New York City similar concept to apartment ownership…All I was asked to do was to buy my own towel and sandals because prior to entering I had to remove my street shoes and wear sandals…For the rest of my stay in Hong Kong I was treated like royalty…Tracy’s parents would take my clothing and launder them for me which moved me…I was moved by their hospitality…Tracy’s parents would come once a day with rice and fish and other simple meals that were always delicious…Tracey had taught me how to use chopsticks prior to going to China so I would take what I knew I could eat and not more or less…Tracy taught me it is considered greedy and rude in China and ungrateful to take too much food that you cannot finish because wasting food is frowned upon…I was careful to abide by this custom because I agree too many people are starving in our world it is good to not waste food and resources…I was young then and very innocent so I thought nothing of going to the under ground Christian church with Tracy and her friends…We could not talk about this church at all and so I kept quiet and quietly attended China’s underground church which to this day my father — may he rest in peace —never knew and my mother did not know I did that…I also took a bus trip with Tracy to the Shrunken China Park in mainland China next to Hong Kong…I am not sure if I went to Kam Tin or Kowloon or Tsa Tin…I remember riding the bus and running to get the bus back to Hong Kong…I had to run and pull myself up on that bus as Tracy was already on the bus and if I did not do that I would have missed the bus…I enjoyed the Shrunken China Park it was exotic and beautiful to see…I was so young then and full of adventure and my visit to China went very well and was a fun adventure…I am grateful I got to experience Chinese culture and hospitality which is the best hospitality in the world…I have been to ten countries and the hospitality I received in China was the best ever…Being so young and frivolous I used up my modest spending money too soon so that for the last days of my stay in China…I was embarrassed to tell my friend I had over done my spending but tell her I did..My dear friend was upset with me but told me I would have to stay home and read while she worked until my return to the USA…I did exactly that I took small walks in the city of Hong Kong never going too far because all the signs were in Chinese and I could get lost in minutes…Those were the days with no cell phones…I was taken care of every day by Tracy and her lovely hospitable parents who brought food once a day for supper…I lost a lot of weight because the food in China does not have as much sugar and carbs as American food so I was so skinny when I returned to America I was thrilled with my weight loss…When I was young I rarely ate breakfast and was not usually hungry till dinner time…I was that way for years…For years I would eat once a day…So eating supper with Tracy and her parents suited me perfectly…The last days of my stay in China I watched American movies on TV in Chinese with English subtitles that was a fun experience…It was funny to watch Eddie Murphy speak Chinese with English subtitles…I read an interesting book about two female friends who got stuck while hiking and who almost starved to death and how one friend remained strong and virtuous while the other friend sank into despair and insanity including making repeated attempts to kill and cook her friend for food a task she failed in doing…This book was based on a true story both women survived their ordeal but the insane friend ended up dying…Starvation can cause insanity as the body is deprived of nutrients and if the brain is pre-disposed to mental trouble then starvation does not help…This is my very vivid recollection of my time in China…Time well spent and a fond memory…When I flew back to America I was taken to the airport by my friend and her lovely family…When I flew back I could not sleep I was excited to be returning home to America…I had to watch the staff as they did not speak English…I flew Korean Air…I had to use hand gestures to find out when we landed if we were in Seoul Korea or some other stop…The staff were excellent and did a wonderful job of helping me to understand that we were in Seoul Korea and I recognized Anchorage Alaska on the return flight…The only odd experience was a fellow traveler a woman was overly friendly to me and my intuitive self told me not to trust this woman…I kept my distance was distantly polite she got the message and left me alone…I share this because I was nineteen traveling back to the USA on my own in the days of no cell phones from China…I was not about to let any stranger bother me…Stranger danger applies to this day when traveling…When I landed in JFK my brother Michael picked me up from the airport and I stayed overnight with him at his place in New York…Then friends of my parents were able to bring me home which was wonderful of them…Being young like that I do not recall other than eating on the plane if I ate until I got home to my parents…I am sure I ate but details like that are lost on me because I was so excited to be able to go to China and have that experience…I dedicate this short story and this blog post to my dear friend Tracy and her beloved Chinese family…Thank you for making my experience in China an unforgettable wonderful time…

The End

As a thank you for your likes shares and follows…Enjoy more you tube stuff…My songs inspired by the game of Chess…

…………Namaste…………

…My Chess Inspired Song – Watch this closely for the unique way I recorded this song…
…Inspired by the Netflix Movie titled Whose Gambit…
Inspired by the game of Chess

Enjoy these soothing top Mandarin Songs…I developed an appreciation for beautiful Chinese songs and music during my time in China…Our pet enjoys these lovely songs too…