I can’t go to bed without a cup of tea. I blame my Nan for that one.
My Nan was born in Montreal, Canada to a pair of English emigrants. Tea is a staple in her life. It always has been with a mum from Middle-England, Wolverhampton-area and a dad from Staines, on the outskirts of London. I think I was fated to come back to the U.K. or to at least feel somewhat British when I got here. My tea obsession has definitely helped.
When I was little, I used to sleep over at my grandparents’ house a lot. In the evening we would have our cup of tea, or in my case, a half-cup-of-tea, half-cup-of-milk and three teaspoons of sugar with “Papa Toast.” Papa toast was just whole-wheat toast with butter, but it was cut into triangles. I loved teatime. It was a beloved bedtime tradition. I didn’t follow this tradition at home, but as soon as I went to college, nighttime became one of my favorite things. It still is. A nice cup of chamomile tea or green tea an hour before bed soothes the soul and is great for reflecting upon the day or writing. It’s my time to just unravel my thoughts and feelings.
With that in mind, I have only done afternoon tea once. It was beyond magical because clotted cream and jam should exist on every street corner. I’m not kidding. Also, an excuse to drink tea at any time of the day is something that I highly recommend. It’s a little bit of the childhood that I always remember. While we didn’t do afternoon tea like they do it here, we would always enjoy a “cuppa” with some scones or little biscuits with my grandma. But I have plans to enjoy more afternoon tea and high tea too.
I love any excuse to drink tea. Seriously. I’m down to drinking coffee two times a week or less. It’s a miracle because in Madison, Starbucks or Colectivo were an essential first stop on the path to waking up in the morning, afternoon or evening! I know tea has caffeine, but shhh… it’s less than coffee, or it’s what I am telling myself!
It’s weird to think that I have been in London for almost six weeks. I have lost a part of me in this city, and yet, at the same time, I have unlocked parts of my soul that I never knew I had. From the deep late-night conversations with mere strangers, to the antics at afternoon tea, to the quintessential American-21st birthday in London, I couldn’t picture being anywhere else but where I am right now. I am slowly learning that I embrace the grandma life, with my naps and writing and staying in my bed, but I live for my adventurous side where I just explore and wander the city. I’m definitely seeing more and more of this giant metropolis.
I have forged experiences and friendships that will last in my memories forever. From my new friends in France to my British friends to my fellow Badgers, I have encountered unique people that have stained my heart with beautiful memories. Even the particularly dreary, wet and windy weekend in Wales was fun because of the company and endless laughs. Also shout-out to a great first hostel experience. If you’re ever in Cardiff, hit up The RiverHouse Backpackers. The hostel experience is amazing, 10/10. Plus, they won me over with free cider, pizza and GUACAMOLE!
I have never felt more fortunate or blessed than I do right now because it is crazy to think that I have the opportunity to live in another country and immerse myself in the beauty that is the world. I am not just limited to the U.K., no I am experiencing the world, one person at a time.
I have spent a lot of time just soaking up London and the U.K. As much as I want to discover other European cities, I find myself wanting to become a part of this city, my home.
I’m perfectly fine just enjoying my days drinking tea and thinking about how fortunate I am to be in London. Despite its quirks, its disgusting red telephone booths and rush hour on the tube, this city is still better than most. So thanks for being awesome, London.
Also here is to hoping that the next time I go to high tea, I don’t get lost on my way and eat all the food in 10 minutes because I walked an extra two miles for no reason. (True Story.)