by Ann Israel
I have been playing Mah Jongg for a number of years now and, with each game I play, I learn something new. And perhaps that is why I started thinking about some of the reasons why I love Mah Jongg so very much.
- For me, the most wonderful part of this game is the social aspect. I have met such terrific people through playing and teaching Mah Jongg…people I never would have met otherwise. For example, in my weekly group I am playing with a group of women that I either didn’t know very well or didn’t know at all. Over the years we have gone through so much – births, deaths, divorces, marriages, surgeries, illness – and each event has brought us closer. These women are my very special friends…brought together in a Mah Jongg class and now bound together as dear friends forever.
- I love the fact that my career as a Mah Jongg teacher has brought strangers to me – and I know I would never have met these people if not for Mah Jongg – that I now consider to be dear friends. Yesterday one of the groups had their last lesson – we were all so sad about it that they immediately signed up for another series of lessons to begin in January – and now we are wondering if we can wait a full month to get together again! I know that they love the game but, more than that, they love when we all get together – and so do I!
- I am a visual person and having the honor of playing with these beautiful sets is such a joy and delight.
- Snacks! Oh, I have to mention all of the yummy snacks that seem to be a big part of this game. I especially love the snacks that have a double entendre with the game…such as Dots –
- I love the times when it is my turn to host our weekly game. I have so much fun planning a 12pm lunch, followed by game play, and then the 3pm dessert. I work hard to set a special table and serve an elaborate lunch since I love to cook for my dear friends.
- I love the way I can feel my brain working as I process all of the different aspects of this game – strategies, what’s exposed on everyone else’s racks, what tiles have been discarded, what tiles haven’t been picked up, what is sitting in my rack, what hands I might be able to play off the card, what hands I think others are playing…so much is going on at the same time and I know this is the best brain food of all!
- I love watching a new player – around the 3rd lesson – as the lightbulb over their head goes on and suddenly they start to understand how to play the game. What a great feeling that is!
- I love receiving the phone call or text message from a Mah Jongg friend saying, “Are you free tomorrow evening for Mah Jongg?”
- Lastly, but certainly not least, I love Mah Jongg for all it has given to me – a wonderful game to play with wonderful people. Who could ask for more? As I always say, Mah Jongg people are the best people!
Ann M. Israel
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