Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Reclaiming A Bit Of Me

I've made a change in my life. I've decided to start drinking tea.

It was so chilly in my office this morning that, on a total whim, I made a cup of tea (all supplies courtesy of the company). As I sipped my steaming hot Orange Pekoe with one sugar, memories of another cold place came flooding back.

When I was 19 and living in London, I used to drink tea every day. You know, when in London, do as the Londoners do. But it was mostly due to the influence of one of my Professors. She was an actual Lady (married to a Lord) and took her tea every afternoon in our classroom with a China cup and saucer.

For some reason the process fascinated me. I used to study her every move. The way she poured, how much milk and sugar she used, how she held her cup. Even how she would sip. She took slow, tiny sips. The act of drinking at its most refined.

There I was, a trancedelic techno music lover with a pierced nose and bleached hair, studying Architecture and Theater in one of the coolest cities in the world. I wore ripped jeans (bought at Camden Market) and blue Dr Martens. And I was desperate to drink tea like a Lady.

I bought myself some Earl Grey and made a cup of tea every morning on a hot plate in my room. I liked it milky, with one cube of sugar. For a special treat I'd sometimes eat it with shortbread biscuits covered in chocolate. At the time I thought clubbing was the greatest thing that London had to offer, but now I look back more fondly on those moments with my hot cup of tea. I'd often drink it out on my balcony, which I had to climb through a large window to get to, listening to the sounds of the neighborhood. And to myself.

By the time I left for home, I could speak in one hell of a London accent, as expected, but I was also an excellent tea drinker. Unfortunately, my newly adored habit didn't last more than a week once back in the States.

This morning's cup of tea took me right back to those wonderful, cold days in London. To what it felt like to be young and smart and on an exciting adventure. And how sure of myself I used to be. The feeling was so strong, I felt like I could reach out and touch it.

I've been floundering a bit lately. Not unhappy, but not totally okay, either. It's a strange limbo to be in. My life is a blessed one, but there is so much to do I'm totally and utterly overwhelmed. And it's not that I mind having all of these responsibilities, but I need something that makes all the hard work worthwhile. Something that makes me feel like I'm more than just all the things I have to do.

This morning I caught a glimpse of what I needed. To reclaim a moment of time that makes me feel like me. Just me. The person I am when I wrap my hands around a cup of hot tea and let my To Do lists slide away behind my hopes and dreams. Like I used to do on that balcony.

I may be investing a lot in a little cup of tea, but life really is about the little things. The small pleasures that keep us going. I think I may have found one of mine.

Though I'm going to have to buy a much finer stash of tea than what's offered for free at my work. If I'm going to have tea, I'm going to have it the right way. With shortbread biscuits covered in chocolate a very likely possibility.


  1. That is just beautiful, Laural. It took me back, too--did I tell you I was also in London when I was 19? For a year? I didn't have the cool Doc Maartens, but I did dye my hair flaming red that year.

    And did you know they have proper McVites digestives at Cost Plus? :) Several types, some with chocolate coating. ;)

  2. Aw, that was really well written.

  3. All about the memories! I love the way you wrote this post Laural. I can feel it came from the heart, from the inside... I felt as if I was in London with you... drinking tea.
    My dream was to live in London one day, actually it was my first choice when I decided to live abroad for a year, but it would be too expensive, that's when I found out about the Au Pair program to America, and I came, and I am still here.

    I love the way memories just pop up from little things... from a specfic smell, from doing something you used to do at a certain time in your life... like drinking tea...funny how the feelings sort of come back...

    Beautiful post!

  4. I would love to drink tea with an honest to goodness Lady while in London! Awesome.

    I am a tea drinker... can't stand the taste of coffee.

  5. I am a tea drinker too. Hence the name elftea. The only time I feel like I can relax is with a cup of simple tea. Here in Okinawa the water is blah so my tea is not as good. I might have to give Earl grey a try.
    As for your limbo. I know houw hard you work and how little alone time you have. I pray you catch a break soon.

  6. There is nothing like a cup of tea. I start my day with 2. Quite strong.
    They taste wonderful.

  7. Thank you for your gave voice to some of the things I have been feeling lately. I too used to drink tea in a china cup...but life got so now I need to find my cup and sauce..a great tea, and those biscuits..
    Hugs to you,

  8. I love this post. It speaks volumes and is a nice reminder!

  9. I loved reading your post this morning. I feel like I am in search of myself here lately and your post made me smile. I felt as if I was sitting right there with you drinking my own cup of tea!

  10. I loved reading your post this morning. I feel like I am in search of myself here lately and your post made me smile. I felt as if I was sitting right there with you drinking my own cup of tea!

  11. I've never had tea "the right way", although I am starting to like certain varieties. Sometimes I feel like reading is that special time for me. Your tea can be my book.

  12. Very nice, Laural. Life is not about To Do Lists, but if you must have them, put yourself at the top of each one. ((((hugs))))

  13. Very well written. I think we all need to take more time to do things for ourselves. We'll have much more to spread around if we do.

  14. This is one of the MOST beautifully written posts I have had the great fortune to read in a long long time. I'm going to share it with the hubby too...because being British as he is, he'll love and appreciate a Yankee with a sense of refinement and one who can stand milk in their tea...which his beloved wife can't hack! *lol*

    Sorry I haven't been around lately. I've been in a fog and busy and just plain lazy. I plan to remedy that.

    Keep up the awesome work Laural. I am so glad to have met you through this weird, wacky and amazing thing called the blogosphere. Looking forward to getting to know you even better in 2009! Happy New Year!

  15. My darling friend Carolyn left me, moved back to my home in your neck of the woods. Her Scottish accent and our days having a cuppa were the most impowering girl times I've spent since moving to the east coast. I miss her and the PROPER tea.

    I think the English were onto something with this whole tea thing. I can almost forgive them the pillage of Ireland when I have a good china cup in hand and my teas cask near by.

    In the spirit of one who often visits that place you are in now and recalls, most vividly as well, my days as a youth in Europe.. I'd love to send you some of my prime stash... I wish you could send me Rubio's from Point Loma (the ONLY real Rubio's) but fish doesn't travel well. Oh sounds the the food exchange huh?

    My suggestion for dealing with the "limo" is tea and sympathy:-) a good book and girl time too. Cheers

  16. Whatever it takes, Laural my deah...whatever it takes.

  17. I'm in that same 'funk'. Tea sounds like a great idea. Not so much of the tea, but the time alone to reflect and listen to your surroundings. Great idea. Loved this post!

  18. Life really is about the little things and I love those moments when a smell or a cup of tea takes us back to another time. I do think that those of us who are more international and have traveled a fair bit struggle a little more at being content with everyday life. . . its our edge ;)

  19. Life IS about the little things...enjoy your tea!

  20. I had to quit coffee in the mornings and tea was my saving grace. Every week I buy a different kind and drink up at work. it's got an amazing calming effect, no?

    This was a lovely post. But just one more word: Biscotti.

  21. Laural, I studied in London, your post completely has me needing to go back for another visit...

    I like my tea milky too, with raw sugar.

    We have all been there/here before. Keep treading above the water and you'll find your footing.

  22. hey hey hey, my bloggy mentor.. stop by my blog. I have a new contest and I KNOW you'd be up for it. Hope you are feeling chipper and have had you a good cuppa. Hugs

  23. Going to get right up and make myself a cuppa - in a lovely china cup - heating the cup first! Yum! Love herbal tea and green teas - all kinds! Thanks for visiting my Welcome to Alberta post!

  24. How are you feeling now? Still in a funk? Miss our blog dates.

  25. I love a good cup of tea. Choice brand Earl Grey is my absolute favorite. And with lots of local honey in it :)

    You write so well, Laural. I felt like I was in London with you.

    Man, now I really wish I could be in London drinking some tea at a little cafe! :)


  26. You might like Red Rose tea. Let me know and I'll send you some.


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