Sunday, April 1, 2012

Tea Memories

Today we had a tea party at work for our office manager, Stacy. She has been a wonderful beam of light in the office, and we wanted to do something fun to see her off. The party ended up being Stacy, me, and Tamara, our massage therapist. We had lots of sweets from Williams Bakery, I used my green and blue tea set, and we had rooibos chai tea from Teavana.

I have a lot of fond tea memories. When I was a teenager, I began to like herbal teas. I had many long conversations with mentors  over a cup of Sleepytime or Red Zinger, endlessly discussing whatever was causing my angst for that week until the Sleepytime kicked in.  I can still feel how heavy my eyelids became, but I never wanted to go to sleep because I was in the company of friends.

Later, in college, a group of friends who shared my love of hot beverages used to meet every Friday night for coffee, tea,  pastries, and talk. We thought we were quite the Texas version of the Algonquin Round Table, but we were much nicer--even if most of the group were Yankees braving the heat of a southern summer for the sake of education. I always looked forward to these meetings. . . the slower pace of our food and drink fit our desire to  linger and really talk about literature, politics, religion, or the news while our less high-minded friends  scarfed beer and pizza.

After college, I didn't have a "social tea" for years. I drank tea, and was known as the go-to girl for advice on which tea to use for an upset stomach (usually ginger, chamomile, or Earl Grey), which for sleep (the aforementioned Sleepytime, or a passionflower-chamomile-lavender blend we could make ourselves from the bulk bins of our local Whole Foods), and which to ease off of coffee (English breakfast was a favorite).

Then,  in 2008, I felt the "call of tea' again. I had been recommending tea to patients in my acupuncture practice, and suddenly wanted to revisit the social aspects of tea. I joined a multi-level tea party company, but was not a good match for selling tea socially. However, the company gave me a place to explore looseleaf tea and high-quality flavored teas, and I grew to appreciate both over the teabags that made up most of my previous tea experience.  I got to unleash my feminine side--I found a moss rose tea set, and began to have ladies over for a potluck tea, with each of us bringing a sandwich or dessert.

Never underestimate the value of a pretty tea set and a bunch of ladies over 40. We laugh, reminisce, ask deep philosophical questions, and discuss books and movies. We've expanded into tea houses, and usually when we go out we are downright boisterous. The tea gave me a way to build a closer kinship with friends because having a "tea" made our get together an event, and it was easier to make time for an event than to find time to "just talk."

Our tea today was just a small step on my overall tea journey. We had fun, laughed at things we found on Pinterest, told family stories, and heard more about Stacy's plans. We strengthened a bond that is about to be stretched as Stacy moves on, and eventually Tamara and I may find life takes us on different paths as well. But for this afternoon, we made a small moment of togetherness to enjoy, built around sugar, flour, butter--and tea.

I hope you will find time to make some tea memories of your own--please share some with me in the comments. Grab a pot, add some leaves, hot water, and call all your friends. Ask someone to bring cookies, and create your own tea event.

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