Well I should have a lot more posts about my journey, but lack of internet access has led to a hinderance, but since I found some wifi, figured I would share a short excursion TUSA (Taiwan US Ambassador Summer Scholarship Program) provided for us: a Tea Ceremony class inside a buddhist temple.
As you can tell, no one has shoes on. We had to take them off after we entered the building. Makes sense. Each table held around 6 people (some might have had more???) as well as the tea teacher.
STEP 1: HOW TEA WORKS
Seated at our tables, we were taught the art of tea making/tea serving. I admit, I thought I knew what was up, but was sorely mistaken when it came time for me to serve to everyone. Since I can't really express the way of tea making in written form (best to see one in person to experience the magic) I won't go into the details. But I will say it's very magical, and I can see why were were sent to a Buddhist Temple. Which brings me to the next part of the activity.
STEP 2: TEA + BUDDHISM = BALANCE
While the Tea teachers were showing us the WAY of tea making (y'all know what I mean :D), the head monk of that temple and her translator gave us a brief overview of the history of tea and its relationship with Buddhism. The books you see above are books the temple provided each of us, one an english/chinese book of proverbs that go from Jan 1st to Dec 31st. The second is an english translated text of Humanistic Buddhism. Both seem very fascinating, so looking forward to diving into them when I can. After her lecture, she left us to show off (or not) our skills that we learned.
STEP 3: HOW TO FAIL AND HAVE FUN
Here are a few pictures of fellow students trying out their tea-making skills. All in all, it was a fun time with free tea with some cool kids, taught to us by some wonderful teachers, one of whom is only in the 5th grade!!!!
...Finally, because I love tea, below is a picture of tea I've procured thus far.