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the weekly tea
Lu’an Gongjian
from white2tea
weekly tea: lu’an gongjian
Anhua heicha is a dark tea from the Anhui province of China, one that is a combination of vegetal and smoky, with an intensity of flavor so palpable that it feels like a shiver down the spine. 
As a general rule, I prefer teas that are not what I would call “too much”—too much bitter, too much chewiness, too much of that rough smoky taste. Some teas—many teas, I think—have an innate respectfulness to them. They wait to be introduced. They don’t overstay their welcome. They’re there when you want them, and not when you don’t. I like this about tea.
But the world of camellia sinensis contains many things in it, including teas like this. Teas, that to extend our analogy, are (gentle shudder) extroverts. 
This is the kind of tea that walks up to you and slings its arm around your shoulders while you’re thinking, “oh shit, I know this person, what is his name, how do I not know his name when I remember that his daughter does competitive robotics?”  It asks invasive questions and then says things like “Oh hey, it’s George, you have to meet George!” and before I know what I’m doing, it’s forcing me to socialize with people I don’t know.
This analogy is straining, but still, I tend to avoid anhua heicha the same way I avoid large gatherings. Too much sensory data leads to shut down.
Nonetheless, the white2tea monthly club occasionally sends packages of anhua heicha, and when it does…
If I know what I’m getting into, it can be fun? The way that sometimes you think to yourself, you know what, yes, I am going to PARTY, I’m gonna go meet seven people I’ve never met before, and maybe I will like one of them! Who knows! Let’s go with the flow and see what our friend Lu’an Gongjian is going to bring to us tonight.
As long as I’m prepared for it, I can gird my gaiwans and say, right. I’m going in, and I’m going to enjoy it. Every sip feels like a sensory chaos of OOH SMOKY and RAWR SO ROUGH and HERE’S THE GOOD MIND CHEMICALS, HAVE SO MANY THAT YOUR FOREHEAD STARTS TO HURT. Even though you know you’re going to finish the night huddled in a ball desperate for some silence, while it’s happening, it’s also deeply enlivening.

Speaking of things that make my head hurt: New Year’s resolutions are not my favorite thing. Yes, they can be motivating, but—and here’s my inner cynic coming out—if you are capable of a change, you should be capable of it at any time of the year, and if you are not, the resolution only serves to make you feel badly.
Nonetheless, when I think of 2024–as compared to the years that have come before—I feel tired. I think that anyone who claims to know what is coming is probably fooling themselves. All I have to do is look back four years, to January of 2020, and all that happened in that year that was an epoch, to know that surprise is possible. 
The only thing I am sure of is that 2024 is going to be an extrovert: it’s here, and whether we like it or not, we are going to have to interact with it.
So this is the year in which I am going to try to rest. This doesn’t mean not work—I have a lot of things I want to do, and I’m already working on them.
I mean rest. Not just finish working and then feel badly that I could be working more; not procrastinate with things that make me feel antsy. It doesn’t just mean that I spend hours not working. I mean being really mindful about the things that actually make me feel better, that make me feel rejuvenated, and then purposefully doing those things, so that I have the capacity to take 2024 for what it is.

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At the point when I wrote Unclaimed, I was both a law professor and an author, and I was well and truly exhausted. I was also at the point where I wondered how I could ethically collect a salary that was being paid by students who were going into enormous debt.
And so there’s a part of Jessica—a Jessica who is Just Done with her job, and knows she can’t go back—that feels maybe a little too real.
Buy Unclaimed on:

Until next week!
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