How to starve the apothecary

Appreciating tea and good company at the English Club’s Chinese Evening

Knead, roll, fill and fold – practicing the art of dumpling-making (Photographer: Marina Ivanova)

On 26 June, the cosy FPM student club turned into a gate to China when it hosted the lively Chinese Evening organised by the English Club in conjunction with students from the English Department. Entering the dormitory pub, the guests could immediately join in the cooking of the traditional Jiaozi dumplings which they could taste afterwards. Since the dough and the filling had already been prepared by the hosts, I found rolling, filling and forming the dumplings very soothing and therapeutic. The dish also tasted great with a spicy cucumber salad and a sweet coconut rice ball — Nuo MiCi — for dessert.

The beautiful setting of tea appreciation (Photographer: Marina Ivanova)

The tea appreciation table was an eye-opening experience for me since it showed me how tea drinking can be turned into a sensation. In my family, tea has always been associated with winter and sore throats, so until that evening, it was not one of my biggest cravings. However, seeing the beautiful packages, flowers and leaves, and holding the gorgeous miniature traditional cups with three fingers made the moment feel special. As the name of the ceremony suggests, the size of the china cups makes you drink slowly and carefully and ensures you enjoy and appreciate every sip. There are a lot of Chinese proverbs and sayings about tea, and one of them is “Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary.” So as it turns out, it can also have a lot of health benefits.

My first attempt at calligraphy (Photographer: Marina Ivanova)

Not only did we get to partake in the degustation of aromatic tea. We marvelled at a selection of photos taken by Prof. Josef Schmied, Chair of English Language & Linguistics and a few snaps captured by my fellow student Dan Fan from their recent visits to China. It all brought the country even closer to the guests. The quizzes and impressive stories that supported the slide shows pointed at numerous interesting aspects of the history, geography and culture of China. The calligraphy table also demonstrated the complex writing system and the skill of mastering the art of its traditional lettering. Like the other activities that evening, calligraphy demands a lot of patience and concentration. I tried to figure out the points where my colleague had applied more or less pressure with her brush; however, holding my brush like a pen did not help me to replicate her characters. I was shown that there is a specific way of holding the tool, yet mastering the grip and the angle was even more difficult than learning how to hold chopsticks. Our calligraphy teacher told of the extensive practice which was needed to perfect her style, and with the encouragement of my colleagues, I was determined to continue practicing.

While I was observing the writing of different names and words in Chinese characters, some of the guests tried out different paper cutting techniques while others learned how to play a Chinese card game. In the end, a combination of compelling stories, vivid pictures, delicious food and good entertainment left students both from China and from abroad with at least one new travel destination on their bucket lists.

 

Don’t miss out on other English Club events! For more photos from this and other thematic evenings, check out the official Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/TUCEnglishClub/.

 

Wishing you all the best for the final stretch of the semester!

Marina

(Master English & American Studies, 2nd semester)

 

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