I have been living in Taiwan for nine years and during most of my time on this beautiful island I have been an English teacher. In fact, it was July 24, 2004 that I landed on Taiwan and quickly got to work as an English teacher at the Kindergarten level. Nine years have passed now, and along with cherished memories and an ever growing collection of names and faces of some fantastic students, I will be taking home a love for tea and a new memento from one of the friendliest students I met along this fantastic adventure.
May, a mother of two teenage boys and wife to a local mechanic, has been my student at Spontaneous English School for nearly two years. Always prompt - and rarely missing a class - she enjoyed our in-class conversations, topics and assisting other students whenever they needed clarification on a specific word or topic of interest. (She was also a great help when it came to correcting my spelling!)
On the eve of my final "adult" class May approached me at the beginning of the class with a large plastic bag and thrust her hand toward me as if to say, "Here, take this. You'll love it without a doubt!" Well, I did..and without even opening the box I knew exactly what it was: A very old, well-kept and maintained tea set. I was not only shocked but my breath was quickly taken away by the generosity and honour of this gift she extolled upon me.
See, I don't just simply open up a book, stagger to a page and start teaching. No. In fact, in our classes we never used books and only read articles to help the students with their reading ability and comprehension. While considered unconventional to some, my classes were all about daily life, current issues and a collection of conversations from day-to-day experiences. Again, daily life. And this is how May (and all the other students) found out my true, deeply held love for (Taiwan) tea.
So, without further ado let me present this little piece of history. A thoughtful and cherished gift that I will use for an eternity, remembering my good friend, my hard-working student and my unending affection and love for Taiwan: The Tea Set!
Thank you, May. With each and every tasty cup of tea that I brew, share with others and sip myself, I remember this tea set and the wonderful energy you brought to our classes.
Yesterday, we shared a special Tea Outhing No. 5 with our very good friends from Taichung City, Taiwan. Some familiar faces, and a few new ones, came out to our final Tea Outing in Taiwan before Innofarmer Organic Tea moves to Toronto, Canada. It was definitely an enjoyable afternoon filled with good conversation, laughable moments and, of course, some delicious tea.
I would like to thank those who came out yesterday and to those who came out to some or all of our Tea Outings No. 1 through 5. We look forward to sharing our excellent tasting and healthy variety of tea with friends from around the world.
Next stop: Toronto, Canada (which also includes the rest of North America and beyond!)
Growing up in Canada I had the pleasure of enjoying many warm, beautiful summers filled with bicycle rides, trips to the Canadian National Exhibition and more baseball games than a boy my age could imagine. Winters also included an endless number of outdoor activities that were both fun and exciting. To say the least, I enjoyed my childhood.
Most nights as a child I would prepare for sleep-time with a book, completing my homework and brushing my teeth in the interim, and also following my parents around the house as they also descended into their regular night time routines.
While my Mother rarely (if ever) drank a cup of tea before bed, I could always find my Father sipping away on a cup with Lipton or Red Rose. Don't get me wrong: I'm not going to write with a negative tone toward those two types of tea and their underlings. However, I will have to say something about the maturing process and the discovery of great tasting tea.
Now that I am a father and have discovered what I consider to be some top notch tea, I want my son to share in the wonderful experiences and feelings that good quality and great tasting tea can bring to a simple get-together of friends or just for yourself. Still, I don't want to share with JUST my son - - I want to share with the entire City of Toronto and beyond.
Beginning in August 2013 (the 5th to be exact!), Innofarmer Organic Tea - Canada will be bringing some of Taiwan's finest teas to the streets, parks, shops and just about anywhere else that folks like to sip on tea. We will be exploring various types and flavours of tea from month to month in parks and shops scattered throughout Toronto.
If you would like to join us on an afternoon in the park (we call them Tea Outings here in Taiwan) or would like to try this exclusive tea in the comforts of your own home, feel free to drop us a line at email@example.com or check our FB Page for future scheduled events.
It's time to Tea Up - Up - and Away!
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”