Tuesday, 6 July 2010

...coursed through my veins and warmed my extremities...

Am rereading Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea, and plan to periodically bring up things I find there. There's a quote from Sir Edmund Hillary's sherpa that begins one of the chapters, and I wanted to talk about it a bit.

Hillary asks: 'Tell us, if there were one thing we could do for your village, what would it be?'

And the sherpa responds: 'With all respect, Sahib, you have little to teach us in strength and toughness. And we don't envy your restless spirits.

Perhaps we are happier than you? But we would like our children to go to school. Of all the things you have, learning is the one we most desire for our children.'

Then Mortenson goes on to describe what led up to him promising to build a school in the village where he was treated so well. But what I thought about while I pondered this quote was the restless spirits part. I'm definitely a restless spirit, but to a different degree. I love living far from my homeland. I love that everyday is a sort of cultural adventure, but it's not like I'm a perpetual backpacker. When I go to visit a city a city in southern Europe, it's a far shorter plane ride and I nearly feel like a German in my matching socks and hat.

But I am restless. I need to see more. Even though home is endlessly comfortable, I want to experience as much of this world as I can. That's where tea comes in. Tea slows me down. I've said here before that I love how I seem to be able to do more while guzzling tea, but there's also the reality that if I take the time that carefully brewing a cup or a pot, I need to slow down a bit. Or even a lot.

So today, I rushed home, made a sauce to go with my lunch, sat down and rushed through the paper that I didn't have time to read this morning. I'd brewed a pot of Java Santosa while I was cooking, and something happened as I took the first sip. It's a strong black tea, but doesn't have the same bitterness that many Assams have. It's ok with milk, but is really just as good without any.

As I sipped and took a deep breath, I realised that I was still completely wound up. I put the paper down, looked out from the terrace onto the bustling street in the distance and watched cars whoosh by...

The tea coursed through my veins, and warmed my extremities. I wasn't even aware that I needed to slow down. But here I was letting the tea work its magic. Somehow I was relaxed and reinvigorated simultaneously.

Whatever I decide to do with the rest of my afternoon, I'll try to carry this moment with me. Won't be too difficult. I assure you it won't be difficult.


  1. Never had a Java Santosa.

    I wonder how you'd feel if you didn't live in a big city? A big city always keeps you on the go, it's always in a rush. Even just looking at the busy, bustling flow of people and cars is enough to keep the adrenaline pumping;) Having said that, I love Munich!

    Either way, have you ever lived in a more laid back place? Knowing how you've traveled and seen a lot, you probably have?!

    I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to see more, wanting to explore more. The main thing is, that you enjoy the wanderlust when, and wherever it takes you. Off you go and see the world, just take your Java Santosa with you.


  2. The problem being that what gives us our restless spirit is partly our education coupled with our desire to know everything or most things.