Tea brings people together. Throughout the world, it is often the first thing offered when visiting another’s home or place of work. Tea encourages conversation—and is a wonderful excuse to sit and share the latest news, give and get advice or discuss a problem.
Togetherness over tea can happen anywhere and it doesn’t require a restaurant or tea bar. When we were in Xiamen this past October, our group took a walk on the beach one morning and was invited to share tea with two elderly gentlemen who regularly bring their gongfu tea ware out for socializing. We must have been quite a spectacle because before long we had a group of other Chinese gathering to take our picture and join the impromptu event.
I understood very little about what was being said, but everyone was having a good time and our hosts were so pleased that our morning wanderings brought us to their tea table. If it hadn’t been for the tea, I doubt that we would have stopped and intruded on their conversation.
Our world needs less isolation and more conversation. The innocence and authenticity of tea is a perfect way to begin.