Allie Roberts ’16 reflects on the significance of the Chinese tea ceremony, and Tia Jonsson ’16 finds joy in the Deerfield friendships she’s strengthened while abroad:
Allie: Today we joined a group of students from Washington, D.C. for a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. Our teacher taught us the steps that needed to be taken to perform an at-home tea ceremony. There were lots of very intricate directions, some including facing the the spout of the tea pot away from any guest (as facing the spout towards the guest is seen as a sign of disrespect), and pouring the tea into a small cylindrical glass, putting the drinking tea cup on top of that glass, and flipping it over to let the tea drain out into the drinking glass.
The tea ceremony is a vital part of traditional Chinese culture and is performed in many households, as well as in formal settings. It was exciting to get the chance to experience another aspect of the fascinating Chinese culture, one that has been held in extremely high regard by Chinese citizens and beyond for many years.
Americans do not usually do anything this intricate for social gatherings, partially because of the lack of time Americans want to spend on cultural ceremonies and partially because of the lack of desire to put effort into something that is not seen as interesting. But seeing how many Chinese people take this event so seriously made this experience an eye-opening one.
Tia: This past Monday, the nine of us, along with Mrs. Kelly and Ms. Singer, visited Xander Li (Class of 2017) at his home outside of Beijing. Being away from the busy and sometimes cramped city was a relaxing change of pace. We’ve also been able to see Xander several other times this trip. On Tuesday, we all visited the Temple of Heaven. After we all lined up and took a picture, Ceci, Allie, Coco and I were stopped by a Deerfield alum. She graduated from Deerfield in 2010 and just graduated from Stanford this year. I don’t quite know how she recognized us (it could have been Ballard’s Deerfield swimming t-shirt or the picture we took with Mrs. Kelly), but we were all so excited to have made the connection.
Even though we are on the opposite side of the world from where we came from, we have formed and strengthened friendships here with Deerfield as something in common.