I was lost, walking around in circles. I was tired and needed to get to the metro station. Suddenly it appeared, inconspicuously hidden among the other shops.
As I walked towards the place she stood at the entrance smiling at me. This was serendipity. Stumbling onto something you want when you least expect it, feels magical.
She welcomed me inside. I waltzed in happily, forgetting that I was lost and needed to find the metro.
Pretty cups and kettles sat elegantly on shelves. They reminded me of the petite Chinese ladies all dressed up for an afternoon outing.
I gestured to her that I wanted to buy some tea. Earlier in the week, I had asked my colleagues to write down oolong tea and jasmine tea in Chinese so I could buy them. I showed her the piece of paper.
A huge wooden table dominated the room. Placed on it were some kettles, bowls and tiny tea cups. An electric kettle was merrily boiling away.
She gestured to sit by the table. As I did so, she went on the other side and poured some of the boiling water into two bowls. Then she took two types of tea leaves and put them into the bowls to steep.
I understood that one of the bowls contained oolong tea and the other jasmine. I also realized that she had invited me to a tea ceremony. I was elated to be part of this experience.
A couple of minutes later she washed two kettles and the tiny cups with the boiling water. Then she poured the tea from each bowl into the two kettles. From the kettle the tea was poured into the cups. She offered me the tea and asked me to drink.
Me thinking….Is this oolong or jasmine?
The first tea was light and fresh as a summer breeze.
Next she poured the tea from the second kettle. Taking a sip transported me to a garden of jasmine flowers. She repeated this again.
We did not speak each other’s languages, but tasting the teas got me to know what I was drinking.
Watch the tea ceremony Video
I purchased the jasmine tea as I loved it.
I thanked her for allowing me to experience the tea ceremony. Being invited for tea is customary in China and the ceremony is regarded as sacred and important in Chinese culture.
I could have purchased the teas from the local stores. However I had wanted to buy it from an authentic Chinese tea store. The serendipitous encounter that Sunday afternoon, made my day.
Sometimes being lost means, the universe is leading you to something better 🙂