Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Personal Side of Tea Part 3

As I shared in my last blog post, tea is not just a beverage or a business to me.  Tea is personal, but sometimes your personal life and your professional life intersect.  If you would like to go back, here is Part 1 and Part 2 for your convenience. This is how the inspiration to my second book, The World in Your Teacup came about.  It was my son's eighth surgery.

"My son was in the hospital recovering from mouth surgery. When we moved him from the intensive care unit to a regular hospital room, we met the night nurse who was assigned to his room. Her name was Shirley. After talking to her about the various concerns I had, I asked about her accent and where she was from. When Shirley told me she was from Kenya, I asked if she had lived near the area where the tea plantations were. Then my son piped up and tried to explain to the nurse, as best he could with his very swollen tongue, that I was—as he likes to call me—a “tea lady.” When I asked Shirley if she liked tea, her eyes immediately lit up. She told me that my questions reminded her of her home and the wonderful memories of family and friends drinking tea. She smiled and said that because of her and a few others the hospital started serving tea in the cafeteria.

As Shirley tended to my son’s medical needs, we talked for more than 45 minutes about our love of tea and the traditions of her native country. She left us for a time and then came back to introduce me to another nurse from Malawi whose father grew tea in that country. We chatted more about tea, and they reminisced about their homelands, tea, and the families they left behind.

It then dawned on me that here are three women, all from different countries, who have been united because of their love of tea. We might not have had anything else in common, but we experienced a bond by sharing our thoughts on that single beverage. 

With that as my inspiration, I began to research the bond tea has created between the people of many nations, including my own. I found it fascinating to learn about how the very same beverage became so important to each country and how the practices and ceremonies surrounding that one beverage differed from one culture to another."

We just went through our ninth surgery with our son who is now 20. As we walked into the hospital, our trusty tea thermos accompanied us to the waiting room. We took our respective places and sipped our tea as we waited for it to be over.  We love to hear the words from the doctor that everything is fine and the surgery went well!

Tea is for all occasions in my opnion.  I sometimes get a text from my daughter who is now almost 15 that she is having a bad day at school or a text that says she just got a 100% on a test.  It is on those days, that I have a pot of tea waiting for her when she gets off the bus. Sometimes I just make tea for her because its raining, or its cold, or just because.  When she gets home,  I stop working and we chat about the day over tea.

Tea is more than a business or a beverage-that's what I love about it.  It is a way to spend time together, a way to connect, and a way of life.  My faith, my family, and my tea have been through a lot!  I can't imagine life without any of those three.  I would love to hear how tea is personal to you!

Happy Sipping and Fourth of July, Lisa


  1. Thanks for sharing such a lovely tea moment. It's incredible to see the connections that can be made through a tea story or simple shared sip. Looking forward to hopefully meeting up at the World Tea East in Philadelphia.

  2. Dearest Lisa,

    Tea is special, its smell, its taste and especially when shared with someone dear to us.I'v had the pleasure of drinking tea in many countries, many different cultures but tea takes all borders away and life becomes pure and un-complicated...
    Happy 4th of July and hope that things are well with your son!

    Lots of love,


  3. Lisa, thank you for sharing your testimony with others. Your honesty and openest about your son's health challenges is so touching! May God continue to bless your family!

    Tea really does breakthrough all barriers and brings people together! The world truly needs more tea!



  4. Thanks to all who have posted their kind comments here and on Facebook about "The Personal Side of Tea." I am always deeply touched by the kind words of others. Tea is quite the uniter of people!

  5. Thanks for sharing these special personal memories. It is so neat to hear that your tea rituals have not only shaped your career and passion but have also helped you get through difficult times.