Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tea Tasting Ceremony?

After a long sweaty day, we went up to our third floor to take a shower.  My husband went into the bathroom first.  I heard him call out that the water pressure was low.  The next thing he was standing wrapped in a towel with suds all over himself.  There was no water.  
I suggested we try the second floor—perhaps the water might have made it up that high.  So I put my bathing suit on and we went down there.  He was in the shower, trying to get water, when my brother-in-law came up.  He said something about important business, a friend, downstairs.  I didn’t catch it.  So he shouted through the shower door before rushing off.  My husband came out of the bathroom, but instead of mentioning this all-important business, said that there wasn't water on the 2nd floor either.  He suggested we  go to the well.  
So I in my bathing suit and he--soapy and with but a towel around him--walked down to rinse off at the well.  I asked what his brother had said that was so important, and he said that he had some important things to take care of at work.  A friend would be by later with tea.  
We got downstairs in all our finery to be greeted by this friend.  Perhaps "later" means anytime after now.  The friend didn't raise an eyebrow, and my husband didn't miss a beat.  He acted as if it was normal to run around naked in a towel with suds on his shoulder....and normal to have his wife prancing about in her bathing suit.  
We sat in suds and sweat, and this man gave us a tea-tasting time.  He had brought four kinds of Oolong tea.  The Chinese tea cups are small, slightly larger than a thimble.  He poured boiling water into a small container holding tea leaves.  Then he strained the tea into a tiny pitcher.  He poured the tea from the pitcher into our thimble-sized cups.  The first pour was always to make the tea cup hot.  Like wine, after the third cup, I couldn’t tell the difference.  
It was fun... and funny.  
When the friend left, we went out under the stars and took a well shower.

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What People Are Saying About My Half of the Sky

My Half of the Sky was the BookSense Pick for August 2006 as well as a Forbes Book Club Pick.

"McBurney-Lin tells a wonderfully entertaining story with the traditional coming-of-age theme (which is experienced universally)...weaving in the cultural challenges of growing up in China's rapidly changing social system."
Mary Warpeha, co-President of the Minnesota Chapter of US-China Friendship Association
March 2010

"The novel ...includes many of the tales and the folk ways of the people living in the rural areas of South China, still followed provincially. The story takes place in current China, but could relate the dilemma of any young woman in rural China through the ages."
Kitty Trescott, National Board of the Midwest Region of US-China Friendship Association. March 2010

"A lot is expected of a young Chinese girl. My Half of the Sky by Jana McBurney-Lin is the story of Li Hui, a young girl who has just achieved marriageable age. She seeks to make the most of herself, but the expectations all around her make it difficult, as her parents seek to use her as pawn to their advantage, she is faced with what she believes to be true love. She must balance career, romance, and family, all to somehow make everyone happy, a tough endeavor indeed. An engaging and entertaining read from beginning to end, "My Half of the Sky" is a poignant tale of the modern Chinese woman, and recommended for community library collections.
--Midwest Book Review November, 2008

“It is a rare women’s novel that sensitively describes the life of a young educated woman in modern-day China in its full complexity, without resorting to unnecessary sentimentalism. Jana’s deep knowledge of the realities of life in China and Singapore makes the reading extra rewarding. In fact, with every new page the novel gets harder to put down and you find yourself gobbling it up before you know it. Finally, the author has given a voice to the Li Hui in all of us, as we struggle for the golden middle between tradition and the modern momentum of our world.”
Isabella Sluzek
Friends of the Museum Book Review 2008

You'll be rooting all the way for Li Hui as she struggles, ahead of the curve, to be her own woman in an emerging, modern China. Jana McBurney-Lin's My half of the Sky is a beautiful, witty, touching debut novel.
Thomas B. Sawyer
Head Writer TV Series "Murder, She Wrote,"
Author - The Sixteenth Man

A complex and mesmerizingly original tale of a young Chinese woman caught between the modern world and the pull of her ancient culture. McBurney-Lin’s intimate portrait of China sparks with insights and is peopled with characters so rich and alive, they seem to breathe on the page. Dazzling and unforgettable.
Caroline Leavitt,
Author - Girls in Trouble

McBurney-Lin's debut novel is a gift. Li Hui is a memorable heroine, a young woman torn between her heart and her culture.Her daunting journey is a trip into China's complicated soul, and a deeply moving exploration of love, honor, duty, and loss." Frank Baldwin, Author - Balling the Jack

My Half of the Sky is a wonderfully-crafted story that was obviously written with a piece of McBurney-Lin's heart. A masterpiece."
Lee Lofland, Author - Howdunit: Police Procedure and Investigation

My Half of the Sky heralds the arrival of a fantastic new storyteller. With artistry and precision, Jana McBurney-Lin's clear-eyed prose takes the reader on a new journey into a past world that speaks to a modern sensibility, a modern world, a modern woman. This is a book to be treasured.
Emily Rapp, Author - The Poster Child

Through vivid descriptions of sights and smells, Jana McBurney-Lin's My Half of the Sky is a haunting, emotional journey of what it means to be an honorable female in modern China. Jill Ferguson, Author - Sometimes Art Can't Save You