Take it easy, she said. A-Yi, a middle-aged Taiwanese woman, rushed us out the door. Go eat! Enjoy! Thirty seconds earlier we sat at her table and enjoyed the two different teas that she prepared for us. I tried to pay, but she wouldn't have it. Take it easy.
Odd behavior for a woman who runs a tea store. We came in looking for some tea cups we wanted to buy, but she only had one left, and Leo wanted four.
Want to drink some tea, she had asked? We'd already had two pots, but it's hard to turn down good tea.
We sat far an hour or so and drank two teas from Dong Ding, her hometown. We had a nice little conversation about tea, her store, and our lives. When my rough Chinese failed, she called her daughter's husband to have him translate a few things.
Or maybe it's not such odd behavior to refuse payment for tea, despite owning a tea store. These sorts of things happen all the time in the tea world. I can think of three times I've walked in to teahouses for the first time, had tea with the owner, and haven't been permitted to pay. I can think of dozens of other times where I've been given extra tea or snacks.
And then there are less egregious, but still incredible occurrences. The previous day Leo had been invited to tea by Stéphane, who he had never met before. He brought a beautiful antique tea set to a really cool park in Taiwan, and prepared a 30-year old Puerh for us while telling us about his teaware and the park.
I'm not sure if tea brings the best out in people, or if generous people are drawn to tea for some unknown reason, but I'm constantly struck by the kindness of tea people.
Sometimes people ask me why I like tea so much, and I feel a little bit ridiculous liking a simple beverage so much. But it's moments like these that remind me that it's not just about drinking cups of leaf-water.
Photo is Leo and Stephane in the park. I was so focused on trying to speak Chinese that I didn't take any pictures in the woman's tea room. If you would like to visit it, it is called Chong Er and is in Taipei.
Athletes aspire to get their own sneaker. I'm not an athlete and I don't wear sneakers, but today I'm announcing the equivalent in my world: my own tea set!
But first, a little background. I don't remember when I first drank tea, but I do remember that at the time that I found out how healthy it is, I hated tea. I thought that it tasted like bathwater. But newly aware of its health benefits, I was determined to like it. My method was to drink six cups a day until I changed my mind -- aggressive taste acquiring.
And, sure enough, after a week or so of little Lipton tea bags, I decided that I liked green tea enough to continue to drink it. I wasn't a connoisseur, but I was an enthusiast, downing the stuff solely for the health benefits.
[Note: I wrote this as a sophmore in university.]
I believe everyone should spend at least one Mother’s Day away from their mother. It’s not everyday that you can admire the “Chinglish” dabbled across the ice cream cakes at the local Dairy Queen. This will surely remind you that there is much more to Mother’s day then “I ♥ The Mom” cakes and memorabilia. Coupled with the Chinese culture of Confucianism, many Chinese people have embraced Mother’s Day out of the traditional ethics of filial piety and respect to the elderly. Filial piety is a term at the root of Chinese culture and behavior, as respecting one’s parents is an all important aspect of life. These two words encompass the essence of my relationship with my mother.
These past four months here in Shanghai has been one of the most enjoyable times of my life.
In between bargaining for DVDs and eating soup dumplings I often think about the difference I see in Chinese and American cultures and customs. I observed a very interesting comparison in the foods of the two nations. My regular morning meal in China has consisted of soy milk and baozis. Baozis are in essence, the cultural equivalent of doughnuts here in China. Each wooden stall that sells the boazis is like a franchised Dunkin’ Donuts in its own right, equipped with unmarked plastic bags, wooden chopsticks and a napkin if you are lucky. They are simple, filling in moderate amounts and taste really good.