Day 19: Why Earl Grey Follows Me Around the World

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Earl Grey tea with milk and sugar…my favorite!

Until I graduated from university, I’d never been out of the United States, but since then, I’ve hardly returned.  Still, wherever I go, I love drinking tea.

South Africa introduced me to my first real teatime. It is completely true that I had been standing in line for a postage stamp for more than half an hour, and when I got close to the window, they closed for teatime.

Within a week, I was hooked on teatime.  It meant a choice of cake, a hard roll with butter, or a slice of milk tart, all served with hot tea, milk and sugar.  It is fantastic!  When we traveled to the bush, we were usually served hot tea with sweetened condensed milk.  Being Southern, I’ve not had many things that don’t taste great with sweetened condensed milk.  Conversations around the tea table were priceless, and my memories of Africa seem to recur there.

In Vietnam I was served green tea.  In many meetings, we drank green tea and talked business.  It wasn’t until about my third trip that I connected my reason for not sleeping in Vietnam with the dozens of tiny cups of hot green tea, which is actually very good for us in moderation.  It is possible to share warm memories while drinking green tea.

Our tea man uses this cart with a fire and an ice cooler operating together!

Most of my adult life, I’ve spent in Thailand.  Initially, I was surprised by “chaa yen” or Thai tea.  It’s a cold version of English tea, and it contains both sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk.  A sweet tea man (literally) sells tea to our family for 14 baht (about 50 cents).  His cart is amazing housing both a hot fire and a compartment for ice.  He steeps the tea and pours it over ice with all of the trimmings.  You can’t beat it!

My favorite tea is Earl Grey, and I drink it wherever it is offered at a reasonable price. I’m grateful for how the countries of the world have introduced me to tea traditions.

Health Infoniac says that tea is good for the brain.  Conversation around tea is good for the soul.  Which brings me to today’s challenge.  Today, imagine sipping tea with a very old friend.  He or she asks you to share the things in your life that really make you smile.  You haven’t seen this friend in a long time, but after a few minutes, you know exactly what to say!  Have fun writing that conversation, and enjoy an imaginary cup of tea together.

“There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.” Bernard-Paul Heroux

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10 responses »

  1. Just found your post today – somehow linked to mine??? And I really enjoyed reading some of yoru posts. I am South African (originally, now a Kiwi living in Sydney) and I knew teatimes very well. The whole country stopped at 10am and 3 pm for tea. In Australia they call it a smoko.

    I would love to link your blog to mine – mine is http://www.stufish7.wordpress.com. Have a look and let me know.

    Stuart

  2. Kia Ora ( NZ) and Goeie More ( South Africa) and G’day ( Aussie)

    I’ve linked your blog to mine under Fun Links. Maybe you can link mine to yours. Will increase the number of readers for both of us. Chat more soon 😉

    Stuart

  3. Coffee does it for me, especially since I discovered that a hot cup between 3 and 4:30 does not keep me up at night – just gets me up earlier in the morning – a bonus. A am a proponent of “tea time” – especially the accompanying little cakes…

    • Did I mention I love coffee too? By the way, I like your book posts. I can’t figure out where to leave a comment on them! Have a nice coffee break. I’m drinking some right now in your honor!

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