I was about to become homeless in Hong Kong, during my first visit to Asia. My housing agreement didn’t pan out.
But then I lost my passport returning from Seattle (where I saw dead people), and turned my backpack inside out for the next few days.
If I put the passport by the food in my bag, I might’ve noticed it slipping out– but I couldn’t decide which sugary cereal to get at the rest stop before the bus driver marched us back, so I had nothing to put the passport beside anyways, and remained starved and half asleep on the way home.
This morning, my friend David told me to report the missing passport and gave me a government phone number. “Did you file a police report?” he says.
“I don’t think it was stolen,” I say.
“My friend replaced her passport three days before leaving the country,” he says. “Don’t worry– you have two weeks.”
I visit the bus station just in case, and as I decide to leave the convoluted buildings, the customer service lady returns from lunch; she has my passport in a binder of credit cards and IDs.
What this shows me, despite David’s insistence otherwise, is not that I have good luck, but that it’s a relief to have friends who know what they’re doing; David has lost his passport several times.
In music, our teachers light the way through musical genres, and we have a responsibility to surround ourselves with the right people; if we want to be the best, we must learn from the best. Or shut up when we realize how much we suck.
The litmus test is asking yourself, Do you want to play like your teacher? Would you want to teach like they do? Fortunately, we don’t have to see people in a dim room each week, nor call them teacher, to learn from them.
We look for a listening ear to guide us, not judge us, and often these people are hard to find. Once you find these special people, do everyone a favor and keep them close.
Photo by my lovely friend Alan Wu