If you enjoy historical fiction, take a journey into the tea-growing valleys of Yunnan province and the Akha, one of the 56 ethnic minority groups in China. This rich tale offers a rare glimpse into a way of life, that honors the generations-old traditions of one’s ancestors, while gradually trying on and adopting new ways of seeing and doing things. With the ever-growing tide of globalization and interconnectedness, it is with increased rapidity that cultures are morphing and changing. Every person experiences transition on their own timeline, and each needs to be respected as their unique process evolves. Too often we become impatient with our colleagues, friends and family members who seem to “cling” to ways that to us seem “inefficient” or “outdated”. Why do we care, especially outside of the time-driven, work setting? Maybe the less direct route offers a better view? Allows time to build more meaningful relationships? Provides insights and detail we might otherwise have missed?
Although this story gives us an opportunity to learn about a particular group of people in a specific part of the world, I couldn’t help but to relate it to what many of us experience on a daily basis – reconciling our own roots with where our lives have brought us today. No matter how far and wide we travel, the heart craves a sense of peace, a sense of wholeness, a sense of connecting to the entirety of our lives.
In this colorful and well-researched novel, we learn about much of the history, values, customs and rituals that influence the China of 2017. Like any culture it is complex, diverse and impossible to fully understand, but if you want to get lost in China without traversing continents or oceans, curl up with “The Girl on Hummingbird Lane” and a nice cup of tea.