Special guest post by Jill Yokoyama
Sharing a pot of tea is a ritual in many cultures. My family has a British-Australian background so I learned how to make a decent cup of tea early on, and our family often made a pot of tea after dinner. My husband’s family is Japanese and my late mother-in-law’s green tea set is a cherished possession in our house, a connection to someone very dear to us.
Morning tea in Australia and New Zealand is a daily tradition at 10:30 or 11:00 am. It is a break at school or work when everyone pauses for a cup of tea (or coffee) and a biscuit or small snack. It is a time to make announcements, welcome new employees, give a shout-out to someone who deserves it, or have a friendly chat with colleagues. Even on a road trip Australians will have a morning tea break with a thermos of tea at a roadside picnic table. No Tim Hortons drive-thru for the Aussies!
Tea is a beverage used to comfort others, a way of saying “everything will be alright”. The acts of boiling the kettle, warming the teapot, letting the tea steep, stirring the tea in the cup are comforting. Teatime reminds us of civility and of the late Queen Elizabeth II who many people viewed in a grandmotherly way. Problems big and small can be shared and solved over a cup of tea and a biscuit.
I have a friend who suffered a loss over the holidays. I wanted to offer her some comfort and a chance to sit and relax for a bit. It was fun for me to assemble a plate of sweet treats, get out all my finest teacups, saucers and spoons, and open up the tin of English tea that was a holiday gift.
We whiled away the afternoon with warm tea and conversation while the cold winter snow piled up outside the door. In a busy, chaotic world the tradition of sharing tea is just one way to maintain connections with friends. Consider it part of the shared effort that one puts into relationships that makes them cherished and lasting, and a way of showing that we care.