My cup of tea

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” That’s an oldie but goodie, huh! Well, when I was in college I spent a semester abroad in York, England. I had two different views of what the “Romans” did. First, there were my fellow college students. They were doing what most American college students were doing. My other view was of the delightful and die-hard Brits who ran the inexpensive and ever- so- quaint hostels that catered to penny pinching (or rather pound pinching) travelers such as myself and a few of my fellow students abroad. To a “t”, every one of them had white doilies with a clutter of knick-knacks featuring small shrines to the royals, tea pots, tea spoons, tea cozies, collectables from recent trips, and family photographs. Rarely was a square inch left uncovered, uncluttered. But it was a warm clutter and in viewing it repeatedly, it began to infiltrate my sense of décor. I began to collect tea pots in the hopes that someday I would own a cottage snuggled in some green hills within sight of a castle perhaps… or maybe I could just bring England with me wherever I went.
At these hostels, the weary travelers were treated to a sumptuous breakfast of sausages, eggs- over- easy, and toast dripping in butter. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! We were on our own for lunch and dinner most of the time, but we could always count on a hot cup of tea when we first arrived. Much like the washing of feet in Jesus’ time, the making of a cup of tea is a ritual, a process full of meaning and love, a complete welcome to the visitor. As the visitor, I was often damp, chilled, weary, and sore when I arrived at a hostel. To come inside, shed the outer damp layers, sit down by a fire, and take a cup of hot tea in hand was heavenly. As the rich flavors subdued with a bit of milk washed through my mouth and the warm liquid heated my insides, the aches and cares of the day faded away. My memories of England are bathed in tea, you might say.

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