Saturday, April 30, 2011

Reflecting with Gongfu Cha

The past six months of my life have been one hell of a ride for my normally quaint and boring life.

I bought a brand new car, the boyfriend and I both landed steadier and better paying jobs, we both survived the holidays along with one of the worst flues we have had in a while, and I have been preparing for a vacation and a move this summer. That may not sound like a lot, but after feeling like my life has been in limbo for the past four years (being either unemployed or under employed while still in college) these are major changes taking place.

It is nice that everything is finally changing for the better, but it seems like it is happening all at once. Thus, I am taking some time to slow down and reflect on everything that has happened with a Gongfu Cha session.

Filling and starting the kettle.

I can’t even remember how long it has been since I have spent some quality time with my one and only yixing pot. He is now sitting on my tea table along with my two favorite tasting cups which are accompanied by my pitcher (or fairness cup) and strainer.

The water is ready… just under a boil.

I poured the hot water in the empty yixing pot, replaced the lid, swirled it around and dumped it into the pitcher. I then poured the water from the pitcher to the cups, and then dumped the cups. After pre-heating the tea ware, I filled the yixing pot about 1/3 full of leaves; the tea of choice being the deliciously awesome Bai Lin Gongfu from Canton Tea Company. I rinsed the leaves by pouring hot water into the yixing pot, waiting a few seconds, then pouring the water out. I gave the leaves fresh hot water, let them steep for about 40 seconds, poured this brew into the pitcher, and then into the cups.

Smelling and tasting the sweet, caramel scent and flavor that is Bai Lin made me wonder why I waited so long to sit down for a gongfu cha session. Has my life really been THAT busy?

Let’s see…

I HAD to get a new car. It didn’t really have to get a brand new one, but for me it was the better route to take. This purchase gave me a car payment that I didn’t have with my old car, but it was either that or pay more than what my old car was worth to fix it. I am really not sad to see my old car go because I love my new little wintergreen Chevy Aveo5.

Pouring hot water on the leaves and steeping a second time for 40 seconds.

My boyfriend obtained a well-paying job… which changed everything for us. I can still remember the day he told me he got the job… I felt like we had just won the lottery. A couple of months later I received a better position with slightly better pay which helped us even more. We aren’t millionaires by any means, but at least we are no longer starving and struggling college grads. These opportunities are bitter sweet, though. Neither of our current jobs have anything to do with our college degrees or our long term career goals, but at least it is a start. I finally don’t feel guilty and ashamed for the next three days after impulse-buying a candy bar.

Definitely less astringency and more caramel flavor in the second steep.

I remember 2011 did not start out that great. Both the boyfriend and I had seriously bad flues with fevers, coughing, sneezing, and terrible body aches. On New Years Eve we were in bed by 11pm, incapable of staying up and joining in the festivities. However, starting out the new year like that means it can only get better – and it has!

Heating water for the third steep.

I am currently planning a vacation to Charleston, SC to visit the only tea plantation in the United States. This is something I have wanted to see, but never thought I would be capable of doing it this year. It is exciting, but it is a lot of work planning the week long visit.

The major thing on my mind is the move. After four years of dating, the boyfriend and I finally get to move in together this summer. It has taken us this long because we wanted to secure good, reliable incomes before taking this huge step. This move means that I will be on the road less and have my tea stuff with me more… which also means… you guessed it… more blog posts! I have lived in the same house since I was two years old, so I find each step of the moving process fun and fascinating.

The third steep still has a lot of body to it. Not watery at all.

I think the tea could go on, but I am done. My thirst is quenched and I am out of things to write about. Charles Dickens was right… tea does clear “my muddle of a head.”


Sir William of the Leaf said...

You will enjoy the plantation in SC if you go! It is quite the experience! And the smell of the place...lets just say you will never forget it! It is a pleasure for the olfactory!

lahikmajoe said...

I really like how you mix the personal day-to-day with your tea ponderings. Nice post. Glad things're going so well for you and yours right now.

Steph said...

What a clever way to organize your reflections!