Thursday, November 15, 2012

Waiting for Tea

One of my favorite novels is "Waiting" by Ha Jin. I love most his descriptions of the country food the protagonist's wife cooks for him-  pickled turnips, thrice cooked pork and rice porridge.  I must confess my favorite books have some sort of memorably delicious food passage within them, but I remember being quite jealous how Ha Jin's writing talents can handle the human condition so efficiently in such concise prose.  I went to see Ha Jin speak almost a decade ago. He was nothing like I expected- he was likably humble and volubly chatty in contrast to his pithy prose.  The Communist Era Ha Jin and the American immigrant Ha Jin might really be two separate men. I don't want to be a plot spoiler so I'll have to tuck   away my thoughts about "Waiting" for the moment.

For us puerh collectors, the game is all about waiting. Decades after decades. Selecting, second guessing and waiting and more waiting.  Our particular hobby goes straight against our culture of instant gratification. Some may not enjoy the waiting part but there are those of us that relish the waiting just as much as the consummation.   Even as a little girl, I liked saving the Halloween candy in the freezer so I could dole out Snickers bars to the entire family well into the new year.  The notion of waiting a lifetime for tea which seemed at first so novel to me seven years ago is now taking a different form more akin to Ha Jin's lovers.

After my No Buy Pact was over, I only got one bundle of tea which I am patiently waiting for. You are now curious. But you will have to wait with me until the actual bundle arrives.  I've decided definitely no more young sheng buying for me. I'll pick up a few aged cakes if the opportunity presents itself but I am no longer in any hurry at all.

Of the many waitings I treasure - I love waiting for winter.  At the first arrival of Hachiya persimmons, I excitedly stash them about the house.  I'm just like an animal prowling, poking and prodding them until they ripen. The days are much much shorter and darker now and one needs remembrances of the summer to cheer up a meal.  A few years ago, my neighbor Larry borrowed my pickling book.  Now he generously shares pickles made from vegetables he grew himself and he puts a "start eating by" date but the wait is often very short.  Our lives are many cycles of waiting so there's nothing else for it but to to enjoy the wait.


  1. Hello - I've just discovered your blog and am enjoying it very much! I've requested "Waiting" from the library, looking forward to it.

  2. Hi Steph,

    Welcome to my little tea corner. I just saw your persimmon hearts and may try it out for thanksgiving as I've got a happy pile of Fuyus.