Part of my recent project involves working with university educators on a MOOC course about tea. To read and listen about the history and business of tea is intense and fun. It also brought me back to a bizarrely cute tradition we had during our MBA program in Cambridge.
During the first term, we always had tea breaks within a class. During the class break, in the corridor, a table would be set for us with coffee, tea and biscuits. My brains, by then, would be stuffed with new knowledge. My stomach, on the contrary, had plenty of room for something yummy. A tea break was just what I needed (especially after the statistics class).
Looking back the cute tradition – tea break, I suddenly started to cast new light on this old tradition. Was the tea break purely designed to fill our belly and rest our brains? Maybe there was more to it. Maybe it meant to be a social occasion purposefully arranged for us to know each other better, to exchange ideas and thoughts on what was just taught to us, to debate, to argue, with the nice company of tea pots.
A Chinese banquet is more than a dinner. It is a vehicle to break the ice, to discuss seriousness less seriously in format. The coffee shop offers more than coffee. It is a venue people interact with each other, to chat, to fall in love, to exchange thoughts and spark new ideas.
Would you like a cup of tea, cat?