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Enlightened Athletes

After our hike to the temple and taking the silk road back down to civilization, the group stopped to eat some noodles. While eating our noodles, we found a xiao peng you (little friend) that happened to be a monk. He and his other monk friends decided to allow us to play some soccer with them. We new right form the beginning that they were going to be as good as Messi and Ronaldo combined. Upon further inspection we found our suspicion to be correct. The teams were Americans vs. Monks and Olivia and I. These Monks were dribbling through every one, and scoring with easy. It got so easy that our goalie was just hanging out on his phone, because the ball had no chance of being able to get to him. Eventually the ball would get through to the other half of the field, but by this time the monks would be able to easily catch up and have the ability to take the ball as the other team started to regret eating so many dumplings.

After some time of a complete beat down, a monk brought over a basketball. Us American immediately seized the opportunity to play something more familiar. The court wasn’t exactly NBA quality. It happened to lie directly on the soccer field which in itself consisted of several dirt patches covered with dead grass that was as yellow as some of their shirts. Every dribble had the chance of hitting a stray rock and bouncing 50 feet away. We decided to play a game where it would be Americans vs. Monks (again). Here we felt a little more comfortable, but don’t let that distract you from the fact that we were still on their home turf. The game was a great time, it was competitive but also not very serious. Later, we decided to switch of the teams were mixed the monks with the Americans this turned out to be a great idea, as the only thing that the monks cared about at the time was beating one another. They were playing like their lives depended on it the only exception to that, was that everyone had ear to ear smiles.

It was so incredible to see the brotherhood that these monks were able to bind with each other. You could see and feel genuine love for one another. Kai explained to us that some of these kids had been orphans and/or that they were the kid that they decided to give up. You could see, going back to the love, how the did really care about each other and how they respected each other. We all could sense that love that they all had and the only response that we could muster was a smile and a “women qiu” (our ball).