I can’t believe that I’ve been back from Europe for more than two months. It feels like yesterday that I even had the idea to shake off the states for a while and have some adventures abroad. What resulted was a great 35 days – a time to reflect, expand my horizons, see/eat/buy new things, and remember all the fun that the world has to offer.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my favorite things and moments from my trip and saying a little more about what made this journey memorable. I hope you’ll join me, and tell me about your own travel adventures along the way!
#1 – Tea time
I know, we broke away from old King George partly because of the tea tax, and the famous rebellion involved dumping crates of tea into my own city’s harbor. Still, I can’t help but think that tea time is one of the very impressive things that the Brits are doing right, revolution or not.
I certainly enjoyed it, on this trip as when I studied abroad. The thing is, tea isn’t just a meal – it’s a state of mind. It’s a moment of rest during the day, a chance to nourish your mind, soul, and especially your body. Unlike coffee, tea isn’t made to be gulped down or taken on the road – it comes with its own timeline, literally written on the teabag. How hot the water should be, how long to leave the bag in, even what to enjoy your drink with.
But the glory of tea goes well beyond the drink and the pause – the food is AMAZING. This is the tea I had with my parents at the Crooked House of Windsor. Clotted cream, scones, sandwiches with the crust cut off, and a pot that begs you to drink more than one cup of the piping hot delicacy.
That is just my serving. Yes – we each got that. And we licked the plates clean. Sure, it cost us an arm and a leg, even before converting into dollars, but it was worth it. I still think about it when I’m making coffee in my office Keurig. I also think about my roommate when I studied at UCL – he was from Hong Kong when it was under British rule and he grew up with the concept of tea. But whenever he said he was having tea, he really just meant a little sandwich, usually enjoyed in our sunny kitchen. I always pulled out my crumpets and joined him (chicken salad = not tea in my book).
Since I’ve been home, I’ve tried to capture the essence of tea again – picking my cup with care, getting good honey, really relaxing for a minute. But unless someone serves it to me with the crust cut off my sandwiches and a no-holds-barred pot of clotted cream, it just won’t be the same. Guess that will be my excuse to return to England next time!
The #1 is brought to you by a train platform in France!