Announcing Our First Virtual Tea Party!

This week features a five-part series on Tea Party Girl’s Tea Time-line. If we could sit down over tea in real life and share our stories, this is what I would share with you. Everyone’s living a story, you know. Living in the tea world means finding the time to listen to each other’s stories. If you’re a blogger, consider joining me this week. Tell us your story on your blog and include your link at the end of any of this week’s posts. Together we can “meet for tea at three” on Friday. Yes, I know we live in different timezones, and these things are really called carnivals, but I just went to a carnival last week and didn’t see a thin-lipped mug or tea-table anywhere. So let’s try something new. Remember, your story doesn’t need to be as long as mine!

TPG’s Childhood-Marriage: The Camellia Sinensis Seeds are Planted

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I’d leave all the hurry,

the noise and the fray

For a house full of books

and a garden of flowers.

Andrew Lang

It seems an unlikely quote for a girl raised blocks from the northern border of Los Angeles. I remember exiting swimming pools as a child with burning eyes and pinched lungs to a brown sky of smog. Even though my family had little money, I experienced big city life when I rode elevators in places like the Bonaventure Hotel and listened to carols on Christmas Eve at the Los Angeles Civic Center. But the warm memories of childhood include accompanying my mother on her “nutrition” talks when she spoke to women’s groups at retreat centers. In the 1970s, before health food was cool, we ate seasonal produce, avoided soft drinks, and made baked goods with whole grains. Many smells transport people back to their childhoods and mine includes the smell of Brewer’s yeast and the traditional health food store.

My mother’s commitment to healthy eating and love of quality still greatly impacts my daily life. One of my strongest commitments today is to feed my family local produce, organic milk and meat products, and whole grains as much as possible. This lifestyle that she gave me as a child impacted my husband choice (no kidding!) and played a key role in birthing my passion for tea.

When our family moved to Northern California (a 400 mile change for you non-local folks) in 1979 when I was almost eleven, I relished the natural beauty of my new surroundings. My favorite memory of the move involves eating a bowl of cold cereal with my family in the chill of the morning at a state park on the way to our new home. For as long as I can remember, despite my city roots, nature has fueled my passions.

Unfortunately, I didn’t relish much else about the transition at a time of life when so much already changes for a budding adolescence. A bookworm at heart, I abandoned scholarly pursuits to chase after boys and listen for hours to the angst-ridden music of the day (Depeche Mode and New Order, anyone?). But I savored my one week at camp in the near-by Santa Cruz Mountains each summer. The overhead stars and still nights blanketed the restless and hurting heart of a young girl trying to find her way.

Both of my parents also made their living working with the English language with Mom as a junior high English teacher and my father as a journalist. I grew up writing for fun, winning school writing awards, and keeping a consistent journal. Also fascinated by the complexity of the human behavior and emotion, I went on to graduate in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development from the University of California, Davis. It was during this season of time that I met my husband. His roommate dated my roommate and the joke continues that we were the only good thing to come out of their relationship.

I dated often, especially in high school, before I met Todd. Good friends for a solid year with many mutual friends, I understand completely when people tell me falling in love was like coming home. He wasn’t a Jeep-driving rock star (what my college roommate and I thought we wanted at the time), but he loved the outdoors, children, and decent restaurants. I knew he’d let me buy our local CSA produce box, once we could! We married at twenty-four when he’d only been a temp worker for one week. “Even though we ain’t got money…I’m so in love with you, honey…” Much of our newlywed year was spent hosting others for meals in our small apartment and learning to cook together. The first big fight a month into our marriage was over trying to bake together our first Thanksgiving pie.

Tomorrow: TPG Becomes a Parent: The Camellia Sinensis is Pruned to Proper Height

So join us for tea at three this Friday! What’s your story?