Ladies drink Tea

Probably one of the longest relationships in my life is with tea. After 28 years I still love it, crave it and can’t get enough of it.

My affinity for tea began as a baby when my mom put it in my bottle. Not all the time, relax, but I loved it. And why deprive her darling baby of something she was so clearly fond of. I suspect her mother may have done the same thing with her. My mother’s family is from the Netherlands and like all good Europeans, they enjoy their afternoon tea. A tradition that my Oma has passed down to her granddaughters and I am fully confident my sister and I will pass down to ours. The men in my family always drank coffee, but not the women. The women always preferred tea to coffee. Thus began my stereotype at an early age that coffee is for men and tea is for ladies. To this day, I have never consumed a cup of coffee. It’s for boys.

Tea in the morning, tea in the afternoon and tea at night. Even as I sit at my mac right now writing this I have a refreshing glass of iced tea to my right.

Tea wakes me up in the morning, perks me up in the afternoon and (with a little switch to decaf) calms me in the evenings. In addition to that it provides a familiarity and comfort that few things do. Without even realizing it while I stir in my spoon of sugar and take that first sip I am transported to my Oma’s house and being a little girl who would get up from the breakfast table, walk over to the sink and top my hot cup off with a little cold water… because as the baby of the family I wanted nothing more than to be on the same level as my Oma, mom and sister, but I just couldn’t quite drink it at the same temperature they could. Despite my best efforts to appear older, matured and similar to them – the water was just too darn hot for my baby lips so off to the sink I went each morning. During the summer mornings of my childhood my mom would take my sister and I to Oma and Opa’s for the day and have breakfast with us before she left for work. We would talk, sip our tea, and eat precision-thinly sliced gouda cheese, beschuits with slickies (this will be a future post I’m sure), and a host of other things my Oma would prepare for us. Remembering these mornings will always bring a smile to my face. Always.

Tea is a tradition in my family and will always be. One that my husband has done a beautiful job of incorporating himself into without even trying or realizing. My husband, heaven help him for being married to me, is a morning person and a complete romantic. I am a night owl who pushes the snooze button like it’s the buzzer a jeopardy contestant is ferociously clicking in desperation to stay in the game. Waking up has always been a challenge for me, to put it mildly. My sweet husband recognizes this about me and so every morning when I awake, I can look directly to my right and right next to my electric blanket dial and framed photo of us when we were dating – there it sits on my nightstand- a perfectly sweetened warm cup of tea. Just waiting for me to reach and drink so that my eyelids can feel slightly less heavy, my senses slightly more alert until at last I can peel myself from the bed I’ve made entirely too comfortable to leave.

Every morning Garrett makes me this cup of tea (without being asked or coerced – I swear!!) and I love him more than he’ll know for that, not just because it tastes amazing – but because he has seamlessly ingratiated himself into my family’s tradition completely unknowingly. When he began doing this he had no idea, but my Opa did the same thing for my Oma every morning over the 50 plus years they were married. And when I see that cup of tea waiting for me on my nightstand I think of my Opa and Oma and fall a little more in love with my husband for making us a part of their tradition and love story.

While I can be a bit of a “priss” with somethings (so I’m told anyway – just a matter of opinion) tea is one thing that I am the polar opposite of prissy with. The more potent and industrial the better. I am not a fan of those “frou-frou” teas with Jasmine, Rasberry, passion flower or any other sort of pollutant (as I see it) in my tea. I am partial to it’s truest form, black tea. I only buy Twinings English Breakfast or PG Tips!

I have been told by my Brit friends that Twinings is the more “posh” tea while PG Tips has been the best known and most popular brand in the UK for over 75 years and is the tea of the “working class” if you will. It’s much stronger than Indian and African teas and has a taste similar to an English Breakfast.

So in keeping with my previous post about being an oxymoron, it’s fitting that my two favorite teas are polar opposites of each other and one is viewed as the chic and aristocratic blend while the other is the stronger more blue-collar brand. I don’t live in England so I don’t subscribe to those theories, all I know is that they both taste like heaven in a mug and they are my preferred choice every time.
Tea is my tradition and tea is my favorite.

My Country, ’tis of thee…

The Olympics, the Summer Olympics to be exact. I absolutely love watching the Summer Olympics and there are countless reasons why it is a favorite of mine.

The rush of pride and patriotism that the games give me in my country and my country’s athletes is a simple and beautiful thing. In a society where it is becoming increasingly acceptable and even preferred to avoid eye contact on the street, shy away from small talk in the store and just be less friendly in general – these games incite a unity in the purest and most perfect way. I watch the American athletes and feel a bond to them that can only be justified by the fact that we both live on American soil, yet that seems to be enough for me to feel connected to them. To route for them. And to find myself overcome with emotion when they out perform their competition to earn their medal and their place on the podium. We’ve never met, yet I feel a kinship with them that causes me to become emotionally invested in their success. I often find my eyes well with tears watching their reactions upon realizing they’ve just won. How sweet their victories are!

Women’s gymnastics and the track and field events are my favorite. Closely followed by swimming, it’d be un-American not to like Michael Phelps.

I watch the events and marvel in the amazing ability and athleticism of these individuals who have dedicated countless hours, months and years to training and perfecting their craft. As a complete perfectionist myself, I have a deep respect and admiration for them. I am convinced that day in and day out, they are the first to show up and the last to leave their training facilities. I think of all the things they must sacrifice in order to be where they stand and I want so badly for them to win and be rewarded for those sacrifices. The foods they don’t allow themselves to eat, the Saturdays they don’t sleep in, the dates they don’t go on, the cocktails they don’t consume, the TV shows they don’t watch and who knows what else. That’s not to say they don’t enjoy life or that they live like nuns, I just try and appreciate all they most likely turn down in order to pursue their dreams and want them to feel the weight of that gold medal around their necks while they hear our, “Star Spangled Banner,” playing across the speakers marking their achievement.

Not only do they arouse pride and patriotism, but also a bit of nostalgia. The Summer Olympics always take me back to 1996 and “The Magnificent Seven.”

photo of “The Magnificent Seven”

I was so obsessed with these girls and thought they were the greatest. Kids these days go nuts over Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus, but I went nuts for these girls and wanted nothing more than to be part of their team! I remember watching these games and seeing Kerri Strug hobble on that ankle with tears welling in her eyes like it was yesterday… and that’s a haunting reminder that I am getting very old, because that’s something old people say…

And let’s not forget the how incredibly motivating these events are! I am by no means a professional runner, but watching the women’s marathon event I was all but lacing up my shoes before the race was over! Had it not been for the 100 degree weather, I would have been out the door. But it was a sauna outside so let’s not get crazy here. Nevermind the fact that the marathon gold medalist had almost the same time as my HALF marathon time! Seems I definitely have some improvements to strive for…

It may only come around every 4 years and be aired on a ridiculous time delay, but the Summer Olympics is definitely a favorite of mine and is well worth avoiding social networking sites and online news sites to avoid spoiler alerts. Go team USA!