I feel restless, excited and curious, as I was about to leave for an exotic journey. A journey that will bring me back in time, in a school where today I will hold two seminars.
Many years passed since last time I entered a high school. The long and wide corridors with classrooms on both sides. Voices of students. The bell ringing every hour. The extreme used of the polite form. Feeling the tension of the students prior to exams.
I recognize immediately Prof. Perusi, Marco to peers. Who else, if not the professor of Chinese, would wear a traditional shirt under the suit? He welcomes me warmly, with distinguished and calm manners. His students study international relations, marketing and Chinese at the Technical Economic Institute L. Einaudi, located in Verona, Italy.
After a cordial greeting to the school director, Mr. Filini, we set up the table for the gongfu cha in the room where Prof. Perusi’s lessons take place; a large and welcoming space, decorated with objects of Chinese art and culture.
At ten o'clock, punctual, about twenty students enter the room; it is their last year in this school so they have been following the lessons of Prof. Perusi already three years long.
In being among students, nostalgia and enthusiasm alternate inside me. They watch with attention and surprising interest the presentation on Chinese tea, extended for the occasion with information on the marketing of our company.
After the presentation, the students gather around my table to taste tea. They are many and today I am alone. So one of the boys kindly offer to help me in the preparation. He uses the gaiwan first time and does a great job!
We prepare two green teas simultaneously to appreciate the difference. A delicate Huangshan Maofeng and Long Jing, the most famous Chinese tea. Many questions and answers follow. I do not have time to answer a question that the next one comes. Before leaving, the students ask me a full-bodied and strong tea. I please them preparing Fo Shou, a Rock Tea (Yan Cha) with roasted and brisk flavour.
They are curious about my trips to China and ask about the organizational details. Their eyes long for adventure.
The time flew by. With a bit of envy I say goodbye to the students, returning to their classroom. Gladly, I would travel twenty years back in time to may follow them.
For lunch Chi Hua and Gianni join us. Marco takes us to a Chinese restaurant, where two friendly and smiling waiters delight our palate. Chunks of meat that melts in the mouth and fresh Chinese vegetables!
In the afternoon a similar event takes place. This time the participants are not students, but members of the cultural association inAsia. Founded by Marco, Chi Hua and Gianni, the association aims at spreading the facets of Asian culture. A successful attempt to balance globalization, ruled by market dynamics.
The adults are more lively than the students! They make so many questions that I can hardly proceed with the presentation. We drink the same green teas as in the morning, and continue comparing two black teas: Zhen Shan Xiao Zhong and Jin Jun Mei. The audience appreciates the former and is surprised by the intensity of the second. Someone associates it with chocolate, someone else with tobacco and there is even who think at pumpkin while drinking it!
We end the afternoon in a small circle, calmly enjoying the natural and stimulating flavour of a Pu'er from the Lincang county, year 2012.
Tired but satisfied I take a train to Venice, where in the evening I will meet Michela.
The conditions were excellent and the event at the school L. Einaudi has been even more pleasant than my expectations. A meeting that has enriched me at least as much as the participants.
Written by Gabriele