August 24, 2009

gates of heaven

it was our second day  in beijing, china. we went with a tour group and the first stop was the ming tombs.  on our way out, the tour guide, justin, brought to our attention an arc called "the gate of heaven".  he gathered us for a short huddle and in an almost breathless fashion, bellowed:  

"1. when you get past the gate, never ever look back or you will bring bad luck with you from the tombs;  
2. as you cross the gate, the men should step with their left foot first and ladies, with their right;  AND 
3. if you're with your husband or wife, hold hands, as the chinese people believe that when you do that, you will still end up with your spouse in the next life."  

at this point, a chinese-american guy in his 50's  suddenly cried, "uhm, i'm not sure about that!" to the delicious laughter of our group. 

"oh, one more thing", justin added, "you have to shout- i'm coming back!!!-while you're passing through."

and so i looked at jake and muttered, "hey, it's your choice." the subtext being, "well, it's up to you if you still want to end up with me in the next life because if you do decide to hold my hand as we cross that gate, you better be prepared for two lifetimes of dealing with my laziness, my yakking around, my drama shit, and all the things you constantly hate about me." jake then put his arm around me in his usual rough way of showing his affection. subtext, as i imagined it being, "fine, i'm here for the long haul."

we did hold hands when we crossed the gate, didn't forget to step with the proper foot, and screamed, "babalik kami!!!".  but as we walked a few steps, we heard our other couple-friend yell "we're coming back!" and jake did the forbidden act of looking back! so i guess his bad luck is, he's stuck with me for the rest of his life and the rest of his after-life, if we were to believe this chinese superstition. 

wow, what a sweet thought.

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