Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Tea. The story of a failed rebellion.

I have spent a lot of my life trying not to become my mother. No, that's not quite right. I have spent some of my time trying to avoid the same paths my mum went down in her life and make my own way. Not because my mum's not a fantastic person you understand, but because once you spend your entire life being told you look the spitting image of someone else, you have to do your bit to carve your own niche (can you tell I studied psychology?).

One episode in my childhood is still vivid in my mind. My mum and I went into a corner shop when we lived in London, and the kindly Indian behind the counter looked at me (aged 8? 9?) and looked at my mum, then back at me. 'Photocopy!' he declared.

In order not to be considered a photocopy for life, I decided a few things early on. First, I would not study languages like mum did at university, after all, who needs languages? (I love learning languages and have learned and needed two other than English since). Right then, now I'll find my own career; I will never be a teacher (I have been roped into teaching countless people from French school-children in Germany to Chechen refugees in Poland). Ok, then I will never be a journalist as she was before (I work at an English language news magazine).

Fine! I will not like tea.

Ok, this may be stretching it (I'm not qualified to work as a psychologist you understand...), but if there's one thing my mum loves, it's tea. And if there's one thing I was never ever bothered about, it was tea.

'Put the kettle on!' was a wail we learned to recognise as kids. She visibly perked, still does, after a cuppa. I, on the other hand, never understood the fuss that surrounded tea. The boiling kettle, the ritual of warming the pot, the spooning in of the tea leaves; it just seemed such a waste of time to me. Give me a glass of juice anytime.

I went to university. No tea. I lived with my parents in Brussels. No tea. I moved to Warsaw. Slowly the tea crept in.

As I was in Poland, it was the standard tea bag plonked into warm water. It tasted ok, especially with a lemon slice, but it wasn't familiar tea. My parents visited and hid their distaste as I served them tea-bag tea. My brother visited and tried to cover his shock at my not having a teapot. I held my head high and downed my lukewarm funny tasting brown water.

This Christmas and New Year I spent an awful lot of time with my family. It was great fun, and a lot of tea was drunk. We made gallons of it, and the whole lot disappeared, cup after cup after cup. We even taught Marek how to warm the pot.

When I got back to Warsaw, I found tea-bag tea was no longer acceptable. They were sneaky, the "proper tea" drinkers. They slid in the need for warmed pots and tea strainers quietly, without me even noticing. I admit it. I have lost the latest battle.

I bought this today:

...and I'm on my fifth cup.

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Blogger Aaron Fowles said...

There is a day looming in the future on which I will forever forsake coffee and turn to green tea. That stuff can raise the dead.

2:25 am  
Blogger EmmaK said...

Don't fight the inevitable...turning into your mother!! I know I am heading in the same direction.

2:27 am  
Blogger Ola said...

Ha ha ha... that's a story! There's nothing like a good tea though! :-) Even the pot looks awsome! :-)

5:17 am  
Anonymous Jo said...

At the age of about 9 or 10 I once described a young classmate as having a face, "round, like a squashy ball". Little did I know I was also describing her mother......I apologise. Boredom sent me to friendsreunited, which directed me to here - a supremely interesting blog. It's good to see you Becca!

3:17 pm  
Blogger Becca said...

That was the most accurate description I have ever had of my face Jo! Good to hear from you! Email me!! I want big catch up news :)

6:22 pm  

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