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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Carlos

What are you doing?

Updated: Jan 13, 2019

In German, “Was machst Du?” This is a question I always hear from people I have just met and likewise know, which prompted me to go deeper into what I really want to do. Why setting goals and achieving them is a process: from contemplation to actual action.

Watercolor paints and a painting of gongfu cha on a table
I've always wanted to make a tribute to Gongfu cha.

Be creative

When we moved to South Africa I had no clear idea of what I will be doing there in four years of being unemployed. Instinctively I thought I would go back to making art or just be creative. And so I did. But what about the time in between making art and making dinner? As soon as my husband and I decided to take on this adventure I became officially a housewife. If there is anything I had in excess, it would be time.

Why tea?

One thing that I am quite interested in is tea because it’s the only beverage apart from water that I can drink without having so much adverse after effects on me when drunk in excess. Aside from its numerous health benefits, tea has an incredible history that is worth telling—compelling stuff that brought about espionage, slavery and wars. I also realized that if I learn more about tea I would be the only one in my circle who would know about this craft, if I can call it that. Yes, yes, it’s egoistic, I know but I have always been attracted to uniqueness. And so I did my research, binge watched video tutorials about Gong fu style drinking of tea, as well as the Japanese way of tea, Sado or Chado, and found my way to properly drinking the second most popular beverage in the world, which was also a wonderful way to entertain visiting friends.

A polka-dot teapot illustration
"Dot Pot" | Marker pens | 2016

Writers write

Another craft I have neglected is writing. I used to write everyday on my journal and wrote poems and stories for plays and my imaginary novel. So I joined a week-long writing a book workshop somewhere in Johannesburg hoping that maybe this time the exercise would reboot my writing skills so I can finish my book and screenplays.

2017 has come and gone and still my stories waited. Instead I focused on improving my art and drinking tea during breaks, which in return gave my practice good results. I was satisfied.

An vintage typewriter set in between books with a white overlayed text that states: Write something

Next steps

Having realized that I was able to accomplish much of what I promised myself to do in the previous year, I decided to take a few more steps further. Now that I am making art again and drinking tea while educating more people about it—whoever is interested of course, I decided to take another step forward: build my own website, put up an online shop and write a blog (thinking that if I write again even in short prose or impromptu poetry, the words and inspiration would come again—break out from that writer‘s block.) You are reading the proof.

If there’s a will, there’s a way.

And now...

It’s 2019. I’m not going to tell you what my goals for this new year are. I also learned that by keeping it to myself I’m giving myself less pressure therefore less disappointment. Be realistic. Keep it simple. Count to three. It’s alright to miss a step and stumble. You can make it fun for yourself. Understand that success does not come overnight. Learn. If you know yourself and your own abilities, and if you are determined no matter what happens you will get there.


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