It’s afternoon. I’m in a beautiful ‘tea village’ called Xiamen in China. I walk around with my camera and capture pictures of all the tiny, gorgeous houses that have been preserved for hundreds of years.
In each room tea is sorted and there’s signs hanging outside with ‘come drink tea with us’ written on them. Everyone shares here. Nobody asks money for a cup of tea. I’ve received cups of tea for free all journey long. In each place they only want to share. It’s so beautiful to see. Really beautiful. People share everything. I am met by endless surprising things over here. The people here have really different habits and customs. I walk past an elderly lady. I look at her. She points at the chair by the table she’s sitting at. I think I’m allowed to sit down. Together we sort tea in silence. Sitting on tiny stools. Together we are focused, and sort tea for quite a while.
teaching without words
All of a sudden she gets up, gets a tea kettle. She is gonna make me some tea. It’s these things which surprise me most. I’m a stranger. Not only do I speak another language, I look different too, with my massive backpack and camera hanging around my neck. Yet still, she knows that I have come to watch her do her thing, teaching me the secrets to a good cup of tea, in both flavour and smell. She is teaching me. Just by doing it for me. So simple. So there we are, sitting and having tea. In another room, the rain is seeping through the roof, but we are focused on our tea. Slurping from out cups. And she keeps pouring in more when I put my cup down. It’s time for me to go now, I stand up, look at her, and leave. I thank her inside my head and look at her once more. She’s smiling, all while working on steadily.