The older you get, the less firsts there are to experience- or so it seems. This is a sad state.
What astounded me on my trip to the home of tea was experiencing so many new things, every single day, that I'd never even imagined I would. I'd dreamed about it, of course, but I also dream about waking up in a pile of money and Steve McQueen bringing me breakfast in bed (and neither of those have happened yet).
I didn't believe that I would ever be pulled into a room that was full of tea leaves quietly oxidizing. I could never have conjured the aroma of this process, both floral and green, complex and comforting as the scent of a beloved person, or even pictured the fading glossiness of the leaves as their moisture almost visibly evaporates.
As happens to me almost daily, I simply wasn't prepared. My initial peek at a little tea processing in an small, sparse room, just that first sniff of freshly picked Tieguanyin- it absolutely knocked me out.
I floated through the subsequent walk through the tea fields, the conversations of the farmers and buyers around me, even the sitting down and tea tasting itself.
I can't ever forget it.