Live Like Water Tea Room and Studio Shoot

It was in my Live Like Water Tea Room where I met my future models for my fashion photography class at Concordia University. They had set out from Montreal the day before and where on their way to Saint Benoit Du Lac, the Monastery in Austin. Charles had seen my sign and they decided to stop in for tea.  We had lots of laughs and great tea. As we talked we also found out that we all three graduated from Concordia’s Liberal Arts College. Fate I tell you,fate.

From Liberal Arts to Selling Tea in Chinatown

During my years at Liberal Arts College I became an educated consumer of Western ideas, art and culture. There was so much on the table, and I, hungry, spooned in as much as I could from that intellectual buffet. It has taken so much time and experience to digest what I had learned. Eventually, I found myself in Korea completely unprepared. Everything rational was useless. And so, like the Futurists, I too had to throw overboard all the old perceptions I carried in my suitcase. I dove right in and learned to swim with the currents of people and cultural traditions. In the course of my time spent there I must have had just a little too much green tea to drink, because I found myself transforming. When the current brought me back to these shores it was in the form of a Tea Master, and I found myself a cultural cross dresser. I had traded in my Polish folkloric costumes for a Korean one and set up a traditional tearoom in Vancouver’s Historic Chinatown (also known as the down town East side). So now with my background in Liberal Arts: Western Society and Culture and Russian Studies, I sell tea to the Chinese!

As I continue to bridge East and West I realize that the tea room, and the process of drinking tea in communion, serves to bring together idea’s and dialogue, something we all enjoyed at the college; in the classrooms, in our own small personalized “study” groups and on Thursdays during coffee hour. Upon graduation I felt somewhat isolated and actively sought out other “intellectual consumers”. And so I decided to create an environment where the intellect can grow and blossom, my cross-cultural “Tea Womb” a place to nurture thinking articulate minds. These days I strive to live like water and to create cultural waterways of understanding between East and West, keeping the dialogue and ideas flowing. It is with fondness that I look back at the people and the time I spent at the college. And one day I’ll probably enroll and start it all over again.

Michael Cichon


– Michael the Teaman