1/2/2017 – Tea

I’m starting to think more about how I should schedule and format this. Should I do a post in the morning, or the evening? Do I talk about the previous day or the day that just occurred? Right now, I’m trying out a compromise: midday, while drinking jasmine tea in the kitchen.

I started drinking tea in high school. 

Most of my graduating class during its 11th grade was part of the American Experience set of AP classes, namely AP English and AP U.S. HIstory. Because it was a rather tough set of classes to take, the two teachers responsible for these classes decided to make it a collaboration, where lessons often related to each other across different texts and books we read. Sharing that kind of intimacy between classrooms meant that we needed to make the classroom experience that much more inviting: a couch and coffee maker in one room, a hot water dispense in the other. We could bring our own cups and keep them in either room. They were even open during lunch time. Needless to say, it’s one of my fonder memories of my high school days.

It’s also the time where I explicitly remember the thermos cup I bought from Albertson’s just to drink tea. I didn’t really care what kind of tea at the time, just that after about a month’s worth of trying out coffee I discovered that I didn’t really enjoy the after effects of drinking the stuff, unlike my experience with tea. I, like other young and foolish middle class citizens with no taste for culture, thought tea was too bitter. It would be until I went into a Chinese restaurant sometime early Junior year that I would actually try the tea that they’d put out every time we would go in. And, well, I just sort of kept drinking it ever since. 

I’d get tea and tea accessories as a gift from family members once it became apparent that I drank it all the time. An entire 3 liter thermos for hot water. A smaller thermos with a miniature tea cup. A tea infused that looks like a frog on a lilypad that even floats on top of the water like one and it’s extremely cute and oh god. There’s two shelves in the kitchen that are just tea, and I am the only one in the house that drinks tea. I must have amassed, what, hundreds of dollars worth of expensive teas at this point. I try not to buy more every time I go out shopping, but the temptation is very strong. I’ll save describing that shelf for another day, but just know, I won’t be able to get through all of that tea for several years at this point. 

So what is it about tea that I like? Well, I appreciate that it’s not just plain water, for one. In essence, tea is just the essence of dead stuff that dissolves into hot water because hot water masks most of the inherent bitterness of tasting dead stuff (and also because that brews the tea faster but trust me on this one okay). 

I also like how it smells, and the great variety of smells you can achieve with different kinds of tea. The one I’m drinking right now, for example, is jasmine tea. I didn’t put many jasmine pearls in the infuser, so the tea itself is not that potent, but the smell is just as strong. Jasmine is the kind of thing you would imagine gets burned on an incense candle and makes the small souvenier shops smell like old lady. I can’t you particularly why I like to smell that, since I just described it in such an unflattering way, but maybe that description would help you understand that there’s a certain appeal to it. I don’t know. I’m bad at this stuff. 

But right now, the kitchen is quiet and smells of jasmine. The fridge behind me hums with a consistent tone, and the sunlight from the window ahead of me reflects off the barbecue cover and straight into my eyes, which is not what I consider to be comfortable. But I’m not really here to look outside. At least, not yet, not until the weather gets warm enough to actually sit outside. 

It’s not like I have nothing planned for today. My friends are having a one shot D&D campaign in about an hour or so, and mom is making vermicelli for dinner tonight, so my day is pretty much planned out. This moment, however, I am left alone. I’d say it feels good, but that would betray the hesitancy by which I admit this. I honestly don’t know what’s keeping me content right now. But I imagine that being able to drink tea in an empty kitchen helps a bit.

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