While preparing for overseas travel, my daughter packed a tiny gaiwan travel set into her luggage along with several packets of loose leaf tea. Lapsang — her favorite, Jasmine pearls for hot days, Assam to share with the new friends she’d make and Oolong because we share that together at home. Tea is more than a beverage. It is home, comfort, peace, security. Even when all around you is new and unfamiliar, just the aroma of tea brings home to you.
While tea has a handful of scientifically proven health properties, it is its connection to family rhythms and familiar rituals that give it the power to heal, to soothe and to revivify one on a soul level.
As a young military wife, I once found myself overwhelmed by the unfamiliar surroundings of a foreign country. The smell of open air fish markets, the taste of unidentifiable food and the sound of an unfamiliar language brought on a tremendous amount of stress and upset stomach! I longed for something familiar.
Inside a tiny shop I looked at shelves full of unknown brands covered with black characters I knew someone could read, but I could not. Unable to distinguish a box of cookies from a box of cereal, my eyes jumped from one item to the next. Suddenly amidst the confusion, a small yellow box shone out like sunshine. Red letters spelled out the only word in the entire shop that I could read: LIPTON. Perhaps not my
go-to brand when stateside, it became my lifeline while overseas. I bought the box and returned to my tiny apartment. Removing the plastic wrapping allowed the first scents to escape. Oh, it smelled good. Then the first sip. Ahh, it tasted good too! Something familiar washed over me - Home.
Yes, that’s it. Tea is home.