Oolong tea leaves, before and after steeping. (A semi-fermented tea.)

An introduction to Chinese tea

My introduction to Chinese tea came during my first visit to China in 1999. Back then I knew very little about Chinese tea, but after more than ten years in China I know a lot. I am really interested in Chinese tea, and hope to help you understand and find an interest in it as well.

Used To

Call it transition, call it grief, call it whatever you like, the result is that I just feel tired. But I was inspired by a list of “used to”s – things she used to do, and things she’s getting used to now. I thought it was an interesting way to reflect on how different the details of life can be during a transition. So here are my own “used to” lists…

Memories of Chunjies past

Today is Chinese new year’s eve! It’s such a fun time of year to be in China and it’s strange not to be there – a reminder that I really have started a new season of my life. This is actually the first time in ten years that I am outside China for Chinese new year! Here is a collection of those stories I’ve written about Chinese new year and its various traditions.

Okay tones

Of the three tonal languages I’ve studied Mandarin has the easiest tones to learn. What most English speakers don’t realise is that we also use tones every day! We use a rising tone to turn a statement into a question. One of the best examples I can think of to explain is the word “okay”.

Photos from my living room on days of varying AQI levels.

The consequences of smog

After ten years living in the thick air of Beijing, I still remember not only what smog looks like, but what it FEELS like. There are physical consequences to breathing smog (which I suspect has affected my health more than I care to know), but there is also an emotional impact to living in a darkened world.

The End

A lot of people have made comments along the lines of “but you’ll be back”. I hope that’s true, but I don’t know for sure. It’s important to me that I close this chapter well, that I don’t leave things hanging. I need this to be a real ending.