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All the tea in China?

Not much going on this past week. It’s been a grind sort of week. Wake up. School. Home for dinner. Hit some golf balls on the field. Talk to Aiyun before bed. Rinse. Repeat.

Hosted a poker game Friday night. A full table of the usual suspects. Good times. Likely host the same game in two weeks.

On Saturday I took advantage of an opportunity to visit a tea museum here in Hangzhou. My colleague Jenny was the host for the event and organized the day.

Your bizarro East/West cultural difference of the day… It’s raining outside, so everyone will be 15 minutes late. Or a half an hour. This is surreal to me. It’s almost like everyone here in China sees that it’s raining, so they see it as a permit to be super late. So they are. It’s like it’s built into expectations. I had a class of 15 kids first block once this past week and there were only two kids in class at the start of the day because there was a light rain. Not a monsoon. Not dangerous conditions. Just some light sprinkles. I don’t get it. This could be related to my living and work conditions. There’s an awful lot of entitlement with the wealthy families that send kids to our school, but add in some rain and their world stops beyond what feels reasonable. My best guess is that when people here expect someone to be late, they don’t want to show up on time and wait. Of course everyone thinks this way, so they all just plan to be late. Shoulder shrug.

Do you remember hearing the phrase “all the tea in China?” As in, “I wouldn’t trade you that for all the tea in China”. Today I learned about China and its history with tea. A group of us went to The Chinese National Tea Museum here in Hangzhou. Our group photo is above. Can you find Waldo ? I learned a lot about tea. 6000 years ago a dude in China put some funky leaves in hot water and let them soak for a bit. Tea is born. There are six basic varieties of tea in China. Dark (not black, that’s something different), green, white, yellow, oolong, and puer. They don’t like to do the tea-bag thing here. They take the dried up leaves and soak them in hot water. There’s a process that gets them from the bush into your cup, but the leaves are just there floating in the water before they sink to the bottom.

The Tea Museum is surrounded by beautiful fields, ponds, and stuff. It was pretty cool scenery. Have a look.

The museum was huge. Lots of interactive displays and educational stuff about tea. We learned about the different teas. We learned about the history of tea. We got to sample teas.

Afterwards we had a big lunch including some tea that was just south of lava hot. It was quite nice after it cooled down.

A really fun and educational day. Best part was just spending time with some of my friends and students here at HIS. Andrew is one of my favorite students. He’s the young man taking the selfie above in the lower right of the photo. He led quite a bit of the tour today and shared stories about the history of tea in China. His tea knowledge was quite impressive. Just sitting around and chatting with Marcella and her boyfriend Romario was nice too. She teaches math in the room next to mine. I’ve felt fortunate through the years of my teaching career to have math teachers that I’ve enjoyed collaborating with.

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