Through a Looking Glass

“As the Moon Reflected in Water”-Buddhist text

In looking at my life with detachment—as if through a looking glass—I try to observe with mindfulness and understand the landscape of my life. Did I miss a turn or an opportunity to do better? Did I really make the best of it?

I went with my artist friend Carol to the unusual, spectacular fashion exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, “China Through the Looking Glass.”
I admired the high fashion designs of the last fifty years that had been influenced by Chinese art, the fabrics, patterns and viewing the films of the times, exhibited in unusual and artistic rooms, each like a splendid stage set. I began to dwell on my past travels through Asia and the influence they had on my life, my design world, fashion, food and outlooks in so many ways. Especially in the Hong Kong of the seventies, before skyscrapers or the tunnel between Hong Kong and Kow Loon, with huge junks for hourly transport between the elegant Victorian English-influenced Hong Kong side and the Chinese Kow Loon-side with its nightly versatile markets.
For my first three months in Hong Kong I lived on Victoria Peak, sharing the apartment with a 74-year-old American lady, an ex-Vietnam secretary, and her three Siamese cats. Then I had an offer to live on a Chinese junk which seemed so romantic, but ended up being very impractical during typhoon season when the water was rising and my bed started to float!

One night in the midst of a typhoon, I met Carlos Santana and his band, with his then lead singer Leon Thomas. They were travelling on a concert tour throughout Asia. The performance started at the onset of the typhoon, but when the music ended the typhoon signal was number 8, with palm trees bent to the ground. I tried to find a way to get home and asked a western-looking man if he had any idea how to find a car or rickshaw. He happened to be the manager of the Santana group, was unable to answer my question, but instead invited me to the after concert dinner party…a truly welcome choice at that moment. Who would not be excited to meet these great musicians, especially after that fabulous performance!! (You remember “Black Magic Woman”… as great a song then as it is today.)
Details of this story and how the night unfolded you can read in my digital Tea Book where you can find lots of odd and interesting anecdotes and tales like this as well as tea recipes, photos and video clips from my life.


During this walk through the Met Museum it all came flowing back to me: how comfortable I had felt in my new home there, that foreign world with both sides to offer then—the English with their Western influence, and the Chinese people and their unique lifestyle, especially in Kow Loon and the New Territories.
I realized then that the more I am a “foreigner” somewhere, the more I seem to feel at home. I wore my black Chinese clothes, jade bangles on each wrist, lived in Aberdeen on a Chinese junk (which belonged to the Australian art director I worked for), and drank Oolong Tea in the simple tea stalls, which kept you cool in the heat and warmed you when it was damp and cool.
I left there too soon, perhaps, but the imprint it had on my life is apparent in my current lifestyle and living quarters. I always want some Chinese furniture, jewelry and/or clothing around me. And I always drink Chinese Tea.

You will see what I mean if you find time to see this fascinating exhibit at “the Met” showing Chinese opulence and influence starting in the thirties and forties, in Hollywood movies, fashion, and many details in daily life at a time when China was closed to western visitors. We called it “exotic.”

One can also see reflections of this culture in Bauhaus furniture and French paintings in the nineteenth century.

I hope China will again restore itself to its rich historical culture of art, design, and philosophy… and respect the old masters of Buddhist schools and tradition to bring back harmony and freedom to its people and Tibet.
So much beauty and a wealth of knowledge that can now be shared with the world…

And we have the teas:
• Chrysanthemum Tea, from the dried blossom, for fertility and the female cycle

• Peonies, dried blossoms, boiled in water, for headaches

• Oolong Tea, in hot or cool climate, helps to adjust the inner temperature.
On a Sunday afternoon you can also have it as a dessert, with a blob of brown rock sugar and a drop of Cuban rum, as an iced tea or hot drink.
Instead of Irish Coffee, (written like a devoted tea lover).

The homeopathic remedies for the month of June:
• Apis Mellifica, made from the honey bee, for bee stings, creating a lot of swelling, rosy discoloration of skin, soreness and worse from heat and touch.
A few doses will help you quickly absorb the discomfort and swelling.

For insect bites:
• Hypericum, St. John’s Wort, better from warmth, or
• Ledum, Marsh Tea, better from cold application.
(Distinguish between the two remedies by the warm/cold keynotes.)
Both remedies are helpful for insect bites, animal bites, or poisonous bites if taken properly under the guidance of a homeopath.

Enjoy the sunny days.
Your tea whisperer,
Sylvia

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