Testing, Testing…1,2,3

Fresh Wuyi Pouchong Tea

It’s tea time again! I’m back in Taiwan for a few weeks to document the Fall tea harvest. It feels great to be here, but I hardly got a chance to even document what happened in Melbourne. My phone broke. When you live without a computer, AND you are phoneless, it means you are cut off from a lot of conveniences….like updating a blog, updating Instagram, and calling for an Uber at any time of day. You also have to be punctual because there is no way to text an excuse or a reason to the other party. This means you also need to be patient, as you can’t receive any texted excuse or reason.

Waiting for those dis-punctual people and need something to do? Watch your tea leaves get happy and unfurl in a bowl! 

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On the other hand, when you are without “data” and easy access to the Internet, it isn’t all that different from being back in 1999. Remember, back in the day when you had to schedule time to check your emails and go to the library, or an Internet cafe? When you searched for directions in advance and printed out a real map, on paper. But since I wasn’t going to be as old school as paying to print at the library, and couldn’t be as new school to just snap a picture of what I needed, I went the classic route and drew out my map – in a notebook. Moments of frustration appeared when I was at a cafe, surrounded by Instamoments, but sans camera. This happened instead:

JUST CAN’T STOP THIS URGE TO DOCUMENT EVERYTHING

Another blast from the past occurred as well. I do not watch TV  or regularly sit down with newspapers, so current events got filtered down to me the old-fashioned way: by talking! Yep. Everything old is new again.

I’ve hit pause on Melbourne for a bit. During the flight to Taipei, I finally had a chance to reflect on the past few months. I had landed in Australia with a personal test. Now that Melbourne, Chapter 1, is over, the flight out was a good time to ask myself, “How did I go?”

In my life, and especially during this past year, I keep leaving things behind me. I just keep truckin’ elsewhere. Overall, I don’t mind this about myself, but sometimes I can start to panic, because I worry that I am missing out on something deeper. (A case study in FOMO?!) Also, the conventional signs of a life well-lived mostly involve physical markers: the house, the car, the kids, the dog, the memberships…etc. Living lightly is basically the opposite of that. As a traveler, I am trying not to accumulate things, but if I am not accumulating the right things, is my time being well spent?

The test: Instead of building a life with tangible stuff, I wanted to try to build my life with emotion. The stuff of heart. What can I do that will feel right? And can I show up every day to do it, put in the effort, be proud of the work I do, and know that there is nothing waiting for me at the other end except myself? No fat pay check, no awards, no job title, no promises. Ok…well, maybe there is a big slab of cake waiting on the other side, but only because I put it there.

I found out that, Yes. I can do it! and not just for the cake. There is a kind of beauty in doing work solely because you want to be satisfied with your efforts. The drive to be better, to serve, and to connect with others has led me into a community. A community that has served me, and has helped me be better. Quite possibly, I wouldn’t have noticed this community so much had my phone not malfunctioned. Thank you, defected phone, for forcing me to FaceTime in the original way.

Being more present made me see that somehow, I slowly got folded into the delight that is Melbourne. Not completely, but partially. I feel like I am at that point when you’re making chocolate mousse, and the fluffy whipped cream is only half-way folded in so there are all those delicious looking streaky patterns of chocolate and cream.

A little dash of Melbourne would turn this mousse up to DIVINE! 

As Melbourne streaks along around me, I feel pretty lucky and proud to have played my small part in it. My heart has never felt so full. Maybe this is what success feels like, even when the wallet is thin and the address is borrowed. A kind of satisfaction, better than Snickers.

All I have left to say is, “I’ll see ya later Melbourne … ‘cuz I’m coming back for seconds!”

 

More-ish Chocolate Mousse

275g dark chocolate.   Melt up to 50 C. (Not too hot)

75g sugar + 75g water.  Boil to 112 C

6 yolks + 1 whole egg.  Whip in stand mixer.

Slowly and carefully, pour your sugar syrup into the eggs while they are whipping. Be careful to keep the stream down the side of the bowl, so it doesn’t fling out at you by touching the whip. Let it mix on high speed until fluffy.

Fold in your melted chocolate. Let this mixture cool to room temperature.

400g cream, whipped to soft peaks.

Fold this into the chocolate mix, being careful to maintain as much air as possible. Divide into serving dishes. Chill. Enjoy.

 

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