Tellus: (tel’us), n. 1. [Latin] earth, soil, and the land; a country; the world. 2. a collection of Willamette University student’s insights, stories, photos and thoughts from their experiences studying abroad.

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The Teahouse

In the middle of Old Town Shanghai, there is a garden called Yuyuan and on the small lake lies a teahouse only accessible by a bridge of “nine-turnings.” As I walked up the stairs into the tea-rooms, I felt as though I was entering a completely different world. This was not the China I had come to know, but an older, more simple version. I drank tea from a tiny porcelain cup and whiled away the hours. Although I knew I was still in Shanghai, I felt as though I had traveled back in time or maybe just out of the big city. In the room across the stairs, a small band of musicians played traditional Chinese folk songs. The man playing the pipa must have been eighty years old, his back curved uncomfortably but he played with the agility of a twenty-year-old. The four men played together for hours, not working, but having fun. They communicated with each other through music. I learned a lot from those four musicians. They gave me a look into their beloved culture just though their playing. I will never forget the few hours I spent in that tea-house, enamored with the history and culture brought together in the center of one of the largest, busiest metropolitan cities in the world.

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