I am a girl from the north: a small country of 1.3 million Estonians.
Mine is rather a coffee nation, but I got exposure to tea during the three years of my life spent in big tea drinking countries like USA, where I did lots of travelling; and England, where I went after my Social Work studies and where I worked with manic-depressive and schizophrenic people. I became a real teaholic in England (I admit I really enjoyed teabags back then, but how could I have known better?). I also worked briefly at a teashop in Berlin.
I had a very happy childhood, close to Nature and surrounded by loving people. Tea for me was a remedy when sick and something to keep you warm in such a cold country. I wasn't a very ambitious child. When someone asked me who I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was: "A clerk, and I'll sell nice things in a shop." And now I am just that - at a teashop called Chado. It's tiny, but filled with an enormous amount of magic and beauty. I'm enjoying every aspect of it!
For all this, I cannot thank Fortune enough for meeting Steve (who you all know from his cool articles here in the GTH newsletters). I came into his office after my return from my travels abroad.
Soon, it will be seven years from the day when I started to help him with his work. (What work - I mean pure fun!). He is a dear friend and one of the kindest and wisest human souls I know. I've learnt so much from him. It warms my heart that we now have formed a community of tea lovers here in Tallinn.
When we finally saw Wu De in his chicken-yellow hat, stylish walking stick - right out of one of his scroll paintings - and open sandals, despite an Estonian snowstorm last October, everybody couldn't help but fall in love with him instantly. The room where we held workshops was so full of tea-spirit, that even the steam from the bowls formed shapes of hearts. The depth of experience in drinking tea changed for all of us who attended those gatherings. It turned into a meaningful ceremony, as most of you have experienced yourself. It made me more humble and respectful towards Living Tea and offered so much more in other aspects of my life. I made room for a tea corner in my flat where I'll enjoy tea hopefully with more and more friends. My first GTH newsletter arrived exactly on my birthday and it's much awaited every month. I have a funny habit of hugging it before opening it each month.
I'm most thankful for good coincidences and a life that never tires to surprise.
Most likely I won't see you all eye to eye, but we can notice each other's reflection in the teacup when we raise it with GTH's tea, and we can feel the tea spirit that connects us. Also... My head is often in the clouds and I like origami!