Thank God for Tea!

Thank God for Tea

I was raised on tea. From early in life the day could be marked by two things : the call to prayer and tea time.

At home it was morning tea with breakfast and afternoon tea with Nice or Digestive biscuits. At school it was robust desi chai that made up for the terrible boarding school food.

No matter the day everything felt better after you had tea.

And then I had my own family.

Beginning in early fall, when twilight comes early and the golden glow of autumn colors our world, we begin to have evening tea time.

Just like growing up, tea is a ritual that marks the day.

Around 9 pm, whoever is in the house at the time gathers and we drink tea out of sturdy mugs. It could be Earl Grey tea with its oil of bergamot distinctive flavor. It could be mint tea. It could be regular– which for us means a strong Irish Breakfast tea. It could be a fruity passion tea. No matter the kind it’s tea and we are gathered together.

The day could have held sorrow or joy, tears or anger, frustration or impatience — or perhaps all of those things. We still gather for tea.

And so I love this picture, taken at our cottage in Rockport. And I love the quote on the picture as well. Because something remarkable happens when you sit down for a cup of tea.

Thanks so much for being a part of Communicating Across Boundaries and today may you have the joy of drinking tea.

Photo courtesy of Stefanie Sevim Gardner/Word art by Marilyn Gardner

“I’m Glad I Was Not Born Before Tea!”

For the Love of Tea and Moms

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? how did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea.

Tea is available in abundance in our home and in the homes of many of my extended family. When we arrive at each other’s houses, we have tea. When we get up in the morning, we have tea. Afternoon? We have tea. After dinner? Tea. When we’re happy, we have tea. When we’re sad, we have even more tea. When we’re angry – you guessed it, we have tea.

Memories of tea and tea parties are many, but one favorite comes from when our children were little and we had traveled from Boston to Cairo after a vacation in the US. We were experiencing full-on jet lag and 3am Cairo time had all of us up and wandering the fifth floor walk-up apartment that we were living in on the island of Zamalek. What did we do? We had a Jet Lag Tea Party. It was the perfect solution.

We come by this love of tea honestly. There is no physical way to avoid tea in the subcontinent. It was, and is, integrated into all of life in Pakistan. During my last time in Pakistan, in the middle of treating patients for malaria and malnutrition, in temporary tent-like spaces with temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, we were served hot chai (tea). It was made from strong Lipton gold, with a heavy dose of sugar and full cream buffalo milk, and served every day around 11 in the morning.  It was an amazing act of hospitality from people who had almost nothing and were picking up the pieces after the devastating floods that came over villages and towns. Why did they do this? Because they are hospitable and tea is a way of illustrating this kindness. Because they couldn’t imagine us going all morning without tea!

For me the tea was symbolic that we could go on. We could move forward and do the job we had to do. And that’s what tea has been in my life. You allow yourself the luxury and healing of tears, you have a cup of tea, whether it’s regular, mint or vanilla rooibos, and then you continue to face whatever there is to face. Sometimes it’s as helpful as an hour counseling session, only cheaper.

This week I received the card above from my younger daughter, Stefanie. Made of the wrappers of tea bags, it was a perfect sentiment of two of my loves and two of hers: Tea and Moms!

What about you? Are you a tea lover? Did you grow up with tea or was it an adult pleasure? Join in through the comment section.

And a Happy Weekend to you! May you have the luxury of enjoying a pot of tea!