MAN CHA TEAS

Purveyor of Premium Chinese Tea and education provider to children in need.

Bruce Lee, ” As Confucius says, under the sky, under the heavens there is but one family..”

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Whole class

Habibi!! (Arabic word meaning my beloved) This was the usual greeting I got every time I stepped into my Putonghua class. What a change to the mornings at my old school, when students would run across the playground shouting “Mr Man!” Both are extremely endearing and will always cheer me up.

Been back a little while from Guangzhou and overall it was a fantastic experience. My Putonghua is a little better, my French has been revised and now I know a few words of Arabic. Oh I ate some deep-fried worms too!

Outside GZ uni

At first I had great apprehension of China (see previous post). Living in an over crowded city like Hong Kong can narrow one’s perspective of the people of China. Fortunately this trip banished those stereotypes and has hopefully made me a more accepting person. Sometimes getting out of your comfort zone and stripped bare of your luxuries makes you see life from a more appreciative perspective. I still remember the first night in my mosquito ridden dorm and asking “what have I put myself in for?”

Dorm

Things quickly got better and armed with some basic Putonghua I was ready to make friends. I was not alone in this, as most foreign students I met were studying with the purpose to learn Putonghua in order to improve their lives. I was amazed by the diversity of students. There were students from Yemen, Senegal, Togo and Madagascar to name a few.

Simple PTU

Homework

Some students were from war torn countries and many had stories full of atrocities. Often I was speechless, when they were retelling these stories, as I could not find words to ease the silence or express my sympathy. These students were so strong and their great smiles and warmth will always give me strength.

Hamid

Class was very interesting. The arabic speakers would sit on one side and the French speakers on the other side of class. Some classmates didn’t speak English at all, so I would sit in the middle and took the role of a very amateur translator. It was heaps of fun with lots of language learning and we used Chinese in a meaningful way.

African studsAklanAnnie Gz

One day after class, I played my first football match and it was then when I felt most settled. I love playing football and I was so excited to get a kick get around. My classmates joined me plus a few other people. We ended up having a massive match something like 16 vs 16!  

Hussan

Football

It was literally moments after I took this photo that I started thinking about all the previous football matches I played in. All my old friends, my new friends and my family back home. I was hit by an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.

I thought how lucky am I to have married the love of my life, to be playing a game that I love and to see many people from such diverse backgrounds and countries all smiling and sharing this moment. As Bruce Lee says, “under the sky, under the heavens there is but one family..”

Wouldn’t it be great if more often, people in the world from all different countries could settle their patriotic and religious differences and just enjoy life and appreciate the moment more.

KungFu

WuShu training with Italian Marco and our trainer, Rock!

Moving outside from University I really appreciated the patience of the local shop owners. Many shop owners would deliberately speak Chinese slower, so it was easier to understand. My favourite shop owner was “Lao Ban” and he was the most kind-hearted and generous of them all. I would often go to his cafe to have extra tutoring lessons and very rarely would he charge me for coffees or drinks! Often if it was late he would even invite me for dinner cooked by his friend, “Robert Go.” Many occasions we would sit, eat dinner and get merry with a version of Maoutai or as they would say his cheaper cousin! So many laughs, stories and wonderful memories.

Robert Gor

Moving even further away from Baiyun District and “the lung of the city” to Guangzhou city centre. There are some really attractive sights and also some ghastly industrial areas. Depends where you venture and the metro has expanded so much that most of Guangzhou is easily accessible.

GZ Opera House 2

GZ opera house

Guangzhou Opera House

Road works GZ

As a takeaway, I would I highly recommend Guangdong University of Foreign Studies and Guangzhou as a wonderful introduction to learning Chinese, meeting people from diverse backgrounds and also as a short stay to understand the lifestyles of Guangdong people. I have so many happy memories that cannot all fit in this blog post. I hope my new friends have fond memories of me too, aswell as some of my old things which I didn’t need!

Leftover

Pick up leftovers

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!” This idiom really describes this whole experience so well for me. Although some parts of Guangzhou may not be the most attractive. I do believe you can find treasures in non materialistic things and unexpected places. I definitely found the most precious thing that treasure cannot afford; new friends, happiness and a huge appreciation of life outside my usual surroundings.

Stay tuned for my next post, which will feature more about TEA in Guangzhou. Goodnight!

Sleep GZ

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This gallery contains 19 photos


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Tea drunk..post again because WordPress is drunk?

The next day I had arranged to meet Scott, whom I met briefly in Hong Kong. Little did I know an Australian would lead me around Taipei to witness the most amazing tea discoveries and prove that there is still life in the old (TEA) lady! In fact she is healthy and still breathing life into the young people of Taiwan.

Scott was a wonderful host. I admire his deep knowledge not just of tea and Taiwan but everything! He jokingly said he was close to genius! I can’t deny that claim for he knows a hell of a lot about a lot and it was a delight to hear his idioms of knowledge.

Scott led me through back streets, nooks and crannies to show me all these tea gems. We met several people from his tea academy talked and drank tea. Went into numerous other tea shops talked and drank more and more tea.

tea drunk

At this point I need to apologize that we drank so much tea that it all became a blur. I had heard of being tea drunk and this was the first time I had experienced it! Burrp!

What I do remember through photo evidence was that young people were still into tea and tea ware. In one shop I admired the tea plate the shop owner had. It is common in Taiwan for people to have these plates to look, smell and admire the tea before they sweep it into their teapot.

Tea Palate

I later found out that the young man sitting next to us was actually the craftsman who made it! I was so happy to see his passion for tea ware and hopefully more people like him can keep these traditions going. It’s like a family recipe of your favourite dish. If the knowledge is not passed on then it will sadly be forever lost.

tea designer

Long live tea and tea culture!

ps MASSIVE thanks to my pal Scott too!