In my mind tea is a noun, not a verb. So the act of doing tea was just as foreign to me as most of the English language.
Let me share with y'all what I learned.
So on Croham Park Avenue, the ladies organize themselves by simply taking turns hosting the tea. The host provides the tea, coffee, and cake. Thursday, my neighbor Lucille was our host. Let me paint the picture for my American friends.
In the kitchen I was greeted by a table set a lot like this...
But since I don't drink...
I had this....
But that's ok, because next she was going to serve this....
This just means that this cake is going to be AMAZING! Right?
Well, I'm sure it was.
But it also means the cake is delicately made with alcohol. Not cooked, of course.
So, after refusing tea, then coffee, I could hardly mutter out, "I'm so sorry, but I won't be eating that beautiful creation either!"
It was most embarrassing.
But, I enjoyed some fresh cut strawberries and cream as she was so kind to accommodate me. And the conversation was great.
I learned so much. Particularly about tea. They asked if we do this in America. I was like, this???? No, nothing like it. They were surprised, like how uncivilized. They asked further, then what do you do? Do women get together when their children are off at school? I had to think about that for a bit. How would you answer that? We certainly don't go to one another's homes and sit down with tea and cake, CAKE! Not unless it was someone's birthday. What do we do? Well, I have brunch with some friends for special occasions, I play tennis with my friend, we meet up at parks and socialize while the little kids play. We might meet up for lunch, or power-walk together. And I guess lots of women might meet at a coffee shops, just not me. I just don't think we slow down enough to sit and eat cake, CAKE!!! Weekly? No way.
I wonder if it stems from the Boston Tea Party. That might be the last tea party our ancestors ever attended, if you will. And thus, we just have not carried on the same traditions.
They explained to me that when someone comes over, the first thing you ask them is if you should put on some tea. That you then enjoy some tea and chat for 10 minutes. I also learned that you ALWAYS offer tea to others that come over. In particular, servicemen/women. So when the refrigerator repairman comes over, you offer him tea. They said, if you want them to do good work, you always offer them tea. WHO KNEW???
I then found out from my Mormon friends that they, in fact, will offer tea to people that come to their houses. Even coffee. I find this fascinating. So they, themselves don't drink it, but because it is the custom, they accommodate others. So, perhaps it's time I learn how to brew tea. Do you even "brew" tea, or is that what you do with coffee? What do I know?
Well, a little more now.
I know that I may very well never be invited back for neighborhood tea. And plus, how would I host? Maybe I'll invite the ladies to my house for brunch! Buffet style, you know, the kind that requires the women to walk to the kitchen and load up their own plates. And we EAT! No pouring out at my house.
It was great fun.