Today, my American friends and I are embarking on an undeniably English dining experience: fish and chips. The irony about this is that we have been living in England for four months now and still haven't tried the British delicacy, mostly because none of us are especially crazy about fish. But alas, we feel it is the right thing to do, because let's face it - how could we get on a plane to America without that experience?
One thing my friends and I have learned to love is tea. In fact, you could say it's our acquired obsession. Tea time in England is absolutely lovely because of the way it's served and the customs that guide it. I love being served a whole pot of tea with a side of cream. I pour my teacup about 4/5 of the way with tea and leave room for just a spot of cream at the top. What's more, I adore the relaxed atmosphere of all the tea rooms and cafes. Having tea is a sit down experience in England: tea to-go isn't really a thing here. It's all about taking a break during the day to relax, reflect and of course enjoy some English Breakfast or Darjeeling (my favorites!). It doesn't matter if you have your tea alone or with friends. If I'm alone, I like to read the Bristol student newspaper, but other times I just do nothing at all. That's the beauty of Europe: Europeans really know how to enjoy life. The English are hard workers, but they know the meaning of having a balance.
Tea time has helped me to savor the little moments in my study abroad experience. I've realized that I am happiest when I'm here in Bristol with my friends, just quietly absorbing the culture around me.
If there's one tradition I know I'll be carrying back to America with me, it's tea time.
Until next time -