I really hope spilling tea isn’t considered bad luck here…
So, I meant to mention this in my last post (The Return), but I forgot. I remembered as I fell asleep actually. It’s been bugging me since. Now I’m all unorganized… aghhhhhhhh
Okay, so on our way home, Yuan Yuan pulled me into a cute, quaint tea shop nestled into the side of a street corner. Pillars of tea (there were literally huge sacks of tea in tubes that stretched almost to the ceiling) guarded the entrance, and a small, old woman sat behind a desk while gnawing on watermelon rinds.
While Yuan Yuan filled the room with Mandarin and chatted with the woman, my curiosity got the best of me. I drifted between shelves, sniffing sacks of herbs and lifting delicate cups off of their tea tables for inspection.
It was a dream. Well, no, not literally a dream, because I was actually there, but… see… I love tea. A lot. Anyone that knows me knows I love tea (hey, Jess! You should have a cup of our favorite tea for me when you’re at my house next… You can even use my “goblet”).
Before you get all antsy about me exploring the tea shop, I’ll just say right away that no, I did not break anything.
Yuan Yuan found me and sat me down in front of a young woman that had replaced the older storekeeper. She set out a kettle and soon handed me a small cup of tea… iiiit waaaas soooooooo goooooooood.
Extraordinarily good. I drank two pots of tea while my mom and the woman had a 45 minute conversation. No charge, either. Fantastic.
Well, today was also Chinese tea appreciation day.
I’m just going to say real quick that I’ve had a great day; learned a lot of Chinese grammar (my favorite) and drank tea for the entire afternoon.
We learned the traditional ceremony in which you prepare the tea. Before actually drinking, you must bow, sit down, bow again, wash the cups, collect the tea, mix the tea, add the water, pour out the tea, add more water, and then pour the tea into the cups.
Every movement of your body is choreographed, and it all must be set perfectly.
Well, I screwed up.
Of course, everyone messed up a few times. But a woman was trying to help me and told me to shake the tea, but she didn’t know that I had hot water in it… It’s confusing to explain without showing the pieces we used, but I ended up with hot water in my lap… fun… at least my skirt smells nice now!
There were about 12 people in the room with huge cameras, documenting the entire experience. You couldn’t take a sip of your tea without a lens pointed at your nose. I got the WeChats of a bunch of the people there, so I will hopefully receive those pictures. There’s probably one of me spilling my tea…
There will be a long cultural post coming up in the next few days, most likely. I’ve had many conversations with Yuan Yuan about China vs. America, and I think it’s important for me to share some of the points we discussed. Only a few weeks left, so it’s time to reflect.
Another nice walk after dinner with Yuan Yuan. We got lost in a park… Lots of fun!
Sorry for the jumpy post. My thoughts are rather scrambled and I’ve been very busy lately.
I’m going to get some sleep tonight, so goodnight!!!