I was on a mission today. The details of the mission itself, I will scribble in a few days. But for today’s post, I want to tell you how it made my day.
It all happened here:
Solarium at my hide-away? Well, in part, yes. The place used to be the residence of the head of one of the major conglomerates of my country of origin. It was built almost one-hundred years ago, but has survived earthquakes and wartimes and remained in large unchanged since its establishment. It has many what were then state-of-the-art facilities and looks very posh, yet strangely very simple and low-key at the same time.
It is fairly close to where I live, so I visit here from time to time when I want to spend some quiet moments (all the while feeling rich and powerful… haha). Sometimes, I even get dressed in traditional wear to feel like I belong there! So you see, it is in a way my hide-away from the ordinary.
But, like I said, I was on a mission today. I had a set objective for coming here, so I did not expect myself to enjoy it like I usually do. I thought I would go in, get the job done (although it is a personal one), and get out. Nothing more to do, nothing else to see.
Well, it turned out I had so much more to do and so much more to see.
It caught my eye at the admission that today, they were specially offering tea servings. Today is the eighty-eighth day from what we call the First Day of Spring on Chinese calendar, and it is said that tea leaves harvested on this date bring lots of good fortune so they are served to wish long-lasting prosperity, i.e., longevity.(*)
Now, the tea they served today were not harvested today, but I felt that the thought still applied. Oh, how nice! It would be rather rude for me to decline such a lovely offer, wouldn’t it? So I stayed for a bowl of tea longer.
(I swear the cute-looking sweets wasn’t the deciding factor!)
Ah, what a wonderful moment I had that I did not expect! I was already very delighted at this point, but wait, there was more… Just as I was leaving, this suddenly came into sight:
“Longevity,” “endurance” and “victory over hardship”
A painting on the door to the phone booth… it’s wisteria, one of the flowers I missed to see the other day. Icing on the cake, I tell you!
Maybe I would have been content just to get done what I set out to do, keeping my eyes shut for everything else.
But maybe it is because I had my eyes open that I was able to upgrade today to be such a splendid day.
Even if it is the same sight you have been seeing time and again, maybe there is something new to see today. Or maybe it is you who have become new today to see things differently. Either way, you see things in a new light if you only open your eyes.
Maybe there are so much for us to see, and a lot that can make us happy, if we keep our eyes open and look around.
— Read on only if you can keep your eyes open through what might be a boring explanation! —
(*) The Chinese character for number eight starts narrow at the top and grows wider towards the bottom. In my culture, it is seen to imply things getting bigger and better with time, so the number is thought to symbolize good fortune coming. The number eighty-eight has two eights, so even more good fortune is to be brought about.
The eighty-eighth day from the First Day of Spring also falls very close to the First Day of Summer, indicative agriculturally of the best time of the year approaching to sow seeds and plant seedlings (most notably rice, in my culture), and among many other things, harvest tea leaves.
Furthermore, we have a very widely-known children’s song that puts this particular date and tea harvesting in the same context, making us associate the two even stronger.