8th of August 2017
My doctor in London, a Chinese friend, asked me to buy tea for him when I went to China to see if my house was really being built!
I love Chinese tea. On my first trip to the country I had figured out that it was really worth investing in. You could not find good summer quality in the shops in Iceland and I brought a lot with me, to enjoy until I moved.
Wherever you come there is a beautiful tea table. Wonderful hand cut tree table. It does not matter if you are just in a tiny shop with a mechanic or an even smaller shop that sells yarn. The tea table is there and you are invited to sit down and have a cup. A very small cup and you have to learn how to drink the tea. There is a Chinese way to do it.
You can also be in a big shop or a company, but rest assure, the tea is there, waiting for you.
I found a beautiful teashop not far from my hotel and went in. Was on my own. Asked for tea and the price. The manager gave me a price and the girls almost choked. I was a foreigner and they don´t get Chinese prices!
Eventually we agreed on the price. That was after many cups of tea and a translator on the phone! Did I get a good price? Not going to tell you anything about that !
The tea culture is everywhere in the land.
I lived for a while in Quanzhou, not far from the wonderful factories. Outside the workers are sitting, collecting the leaves, separating them from the branches. There is something wonderfully peaceful about this. I went inside and looked around. Different packages. Different brands. But the same atmosphere in all the rooms. A fresh crop of tea. The summer crop.
The above picture is from Min Hou. I found this group by pure coincident. One evening I was walking around one of the universities in my neighbourhood, watching a fashion show there. The Chinese are always celebrating something and the show was a celebration. 2 of the young men approached me and after talking to them I offered to teach them English for free until I left in January. They talked to their friends and we had a wonderful time working together. No classroom. Just outside, sitting on the grass, learning to speak English. Can you imagine! This photo was taken at our last meeting just before Christmas, and I got gifts. A wonderful book made by my group with personal notes from everyone, and a big box of quality tea. Wonderful tea.
It is common to give tea when foreigners are leaving. This group made me happy. Some of them had not been able to use their English and we managed to get it out. When we finished everyone spoke fluently. We have kept in touch and they are still friends. Now they are grown up and their lives have changed, but the bond is still there. If your students like you they love you forever and they keep in touch.