Tea Time #1
New South Wales, Australia
I am 19. I am nervous. I’m exhausted. I’m cold. Jet-lag is taking over. The family I am staying with for the summer is very gracious. They are trying to accommodate my American ways. Their daughter, Katie, is enamored with every difference between us. Ann ushers me to their table for “tea.” I’m wondering what we are having for dinner. A full plate is set in front of me. I eat but don’t taste much of the lamb with mint sauce. I marvel out loud that pumpkin is served as a vegetable, and then I choke it down. I’m thinking about the cozy twin bed they showed me earlier. I feel questions rising. Can I spend these ten weeks here? Can I actually make a difference here? I think.
Ann seems to understand. She goes to the kitchen and brings back a pretty tea-cup steaming with hot tea. “How do you take your tea?” Ann asks sympathetically. “Hmm. I don’t know. Why don’t you fix it how you like it?” I say bravely. She smiles, and I watch with surprise as she pours milk and sugar into the pretty cup, stirs, and hands it to me.
I take one sip. I am hooked. This cup of tea is one the best things I ever tasted. I feel warmer. I feel braver. I look up and see Ann and Katie watching my enjoyment. “A cup of tea makes everything better, right?” Ann says knowingly. “Yes, definitely,” I say ready to face this new country.
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