09 May, 2009

A Tieguanyin for All Seasons

Normality, I missed you.

Ouseley Garden

I like normal life very much. I know when normal life is happening, because I have time to make my wife matcha in the morning, and stir-fry a dinner in the evening. I have time to polish my shoes, catch up with friends on the 'phone, appreciate a new geranium brought home by Lei. Normal things. There's nothing more awesome to me than normal things.

For in the dew of little things
the heart finds its morning
and is refreshed.

Normality is a state I enjoy very much indeed. For one reason or another, I've not been getting a great deal of it lately. As normality begins to exert itself once more, I reach for a sample of tieguanyin (thanks to Nada for this one), and breathe out a long, relieved sigh. Like a deflating balloon. Ahhhhhh.

2009 Nada Tieguanyin

I don't know much about the tea other than that Nada enjoyed it, and it's easy to see why he would. I don't drink a huge amount of tieguanyin, for no particular reason. At one point, I had bags of it knocking around, but it didn't feel too positive to have tea "needing to be consumed". These days, we keep a little lucha, a little qingxiang wulong - just what we can drink in a season, without fear of it fading. Small quantities to be enjoyed and then forgotten.

It's been a rather huge period for Lei and I lately, and I'm glad it's over. As I'm sure you know, there isn't much stability being a junior academic. Perhaps that's true for other careers, too. So, you never quite know what's going to happen. It can be good training, in a way, to concentrate and enjoy what we have in the present, rather than fretting about tomorrow. Certainly the short-term nature of junior positions makes this a reality. At the same time, you need to ensure that your tomorrow is not going to be a complete disaster. It's a juggling act.

I went on a course recently where a don of English Literature was dispensing some wisdom. She said,
"During your studies, you're probably used to succeeding. You're used to winning the prizes, and getting the grades. This is because it's just you against 'the system'. But when you leave your studies, and start applying for positions, you must be ready for disappointment. Suddenly, you will not get what you want. Statistically speaking, most of the job applications you make will fail, because they are competetive, and because there are many applicants. And you need to be ready for those rejections, and not become disheartened. It's a big change, and that takes some learning."

Heidu Snoozing

It's been good advice to me, as I've been going about making applications for various roles in my university. I've been getting a first-hand taste of the change of mindset required.

Eventually, I'm happy to report that the news is good. However, the road is a tough one. With every position here typically attracting applications from some 50-70 applicants (many from outside the university), most of whom I'm sure have much more impressive career records than me, I've had plenty of disappointments. A number of seniors have been giving me their similar stories of woe, telling me how they took a year or two to get the positions they were after. It's a humbling process, just as the professor said, that takes some learning.

I felt like I've learned a lot, lately. That's got to be a good thing. Maybe I'll bore you with the details some other time. That normality that I crave, however, has been long returning and is all the more welcome when it finally arrives.

Normality is everyday life, and there is nothing more awesome than everyday life.


Tony Shlongini said...

"Normality is everyday life, and there is nothing more awesome than everyday life."

I've been saying that for years. Languor and tedium are my best friends, and ennui is my goal.

But did you like the tea?

Montreal foodie said...

I come from an academic family, too. With two black cats. We don't drink quite as much tea around here, however, although we aspire to.

Normal life rocks.

eileen FELDMAN said...

As Heidu seems to be hinting at, go with the flow. Glad to see you posting. eileen

Hobbes said...

Dear Tony,

You know, I have trouble remembering the last time that I was bored. This is not because my life is a white-knuckle rollercoaster ride, packed with thrills from dawn to dusk. It's more to do with contentment and the way we look at our lives. From the eternal wisdom of Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes,

"There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want."

Dear Ariadne,

Firstly, you have a truly awesome name. You are, without doubt, the first Ariadne I have ever met. Secondly, keep up the cats and the tea-drinking. :)

Dear Eileen,

It's nice to be back, thanks for the kind words :)

Toodlepip all,


drumhum said...

And with you coming back to tea-blog land, a small part of my life has returned to normality. - Thanks for that Hobbes ;-)

Hobbes said...

Haha - thanks, Drumhum. It's a privilege to part of your normality!



Hobbes said...

P.s. The tea: remarkably small leaves, for tieguanyin. Tiny things, they are! Buttery and delicious, this is a fine wulong. I love 'em green, and this is green aplenty.