Sam Bronckers ’20 recaps the groups day learning about Chinese cuisine and the art of tea.
This morning, Nathan Hu and I decided to start the day off with some basketball. Although basketball is not exactly the same as the morning gymnastics of Shiyan High School students, it sure is a great way to unwind from yesterday’s intense activities such as dancing and Kung Fu.
After a quick shower and a nutritious breakfast at school, we had our third Chinese class of the week. We further enriched our knowledge about food in China by learning more about Chinese specialties for lunch and how to order these in Chinese. Some of the types of food we learned about were: 主菜 (zhucai) main dishes，汤 (tang) soups and饮料 (yinliao) drinks. Finding out more- and becoming more aware of all the different types of Chinese dishes was especially interesting because we have already had the opportunity to experience many of these dishes ourselves.
In the next class, we got to master our tea-drinking skills and knowledge; we learned about the different kinds of tea and its history, as well as how to properly prepare tea ourselves. Even though my fingertips might still feel a little burnt for a couple of days, I can proudly say that I now know how to perfectly prepare tea. A few interesting components of tea-drinking are: keeping tea leaves in a fridge to maintain flavor, putting your index finger and middle finger on the table to show appreciation to the host and holding your cup with three fingers on the top- and two on the bottom of the cup.
After lunch at the 餐厅(dining hall), we explored the Chinese history in the National Museum of China. Being able to see the progression of human civilization in China from prehistoric times to today was truly an eye-opening experience; I was stunned by the beauty and quality of all historic pieces and especially how they all differed from each other, and yet stayed the same over time. Even with my sole knowledge of modern Chinese, for example, I was able to identify certain ancient characters on pottery.
In the evening, Logan, Nathan, Allison and I summarized the day together while playing ping pong, and later decided to explore more of the city’s residential area. This combined with a refreshing cup of green tea made for a great way to end this exciting day.
Today has been both fascinating and extremely fun, and I am extremely excited to explore even more in the many days to come.