Staying at home

The world’s in a lockdown. Those of us in Hong Kong have gone through this phase already – the whole panic buying of food and toilet paper, the closing of schools (which are still closed, at least physically, and probably for the whole semester), and the avoidance of social contacts. It does work – I think people I know here generally feel fairly safe from the virus, as cases are known and isolated very quickly, and close contacts have to go through enforced quarantine, which are difficult but perhaps necessary.

I’m teaching my history of tea course this semester for the first time here in Hong Kong (I’ve taught it once in the US some years ago). It’s a real bummer – not being able to share, physically, what I’m doing when we do live demonstrations. That portion of the class has instead turned into a kind of cooking show where the students get to watch me muck around with tea and teaware, helped by my intrepid teaching assistant as a makeshift cameraman and interlocutor. Granted, there are silver linings too – there always are. Because I was doing this at home, I could actually light a real fire using charcoal instead of having to use a heat plate (which is already probably illegal to use in a classroom). Students get to see just how much hassle you have to go through to get a fire going to boil some water for tea. There’s a reason people had servants do this kind of work.

In the meantime, my daily tea consumption is mostly grandpa style brews of various aged oolongs, and the occasional puerh. As I was making myself the cup of tea yesterday, I realized that the mug I use is almost 30 years ago – time flies. In that way, time will fly for this virus too, and life will, eventually, get back to normal. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy everyone, and enjoy the little things while practicing social distancing.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.