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Tea Time

18 Feb

It is a well-known stereotype. Brits love tea. And you know what? It’s a ritual worth having. After a long day, a steaming mug of Earl Grey with a splash of milk and a spoon of sugar can ease more than tired eyes. A proper cuppa can relax the mind, warm the belly, and give you enough energy to finish your day.

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I enjoy English Breakfast at all hours, typically with a spoon of honey and a splash of skim or soy milk. Earl Grey and English Breakfast are traditional but not the only tea enjoyed across the pond. At my internship I participated in daily tea time at about four o’clock, sometimes half past. We always had some variation of green tea—with lemon, jasmine, mint—and green tea remains a favorite of mine. I love a green and white tea, with a spoon of honey, whenever I feel sickly or in need of warming. Honey sweetens it just enough and soothes the throat as it goes down.

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Now when I say a proper cuppa, that mainly refers to how long you let the tea steep. A green tea only takes about three minutes to be perfectly drinkable. But black teas, like English Breakfast, take at least five minutes. The longer you steep, the stronger the tea. Steep for too long and it will taste like you’re sucking on a tea leaf. Steep for too little and you might as well throw the weak excuse for a cup down the drain.

Another important part of the tea ritual, at least for me, is the vessel. When it comes to mugs, I’m a bit picky. For some reason tea tastes better when sipped from one of my many UK-friendly mugs. The thin, bone china Harrods mugs I inherited from my uncle are perfect for cold days and chilly fingers. My short, wide Shakespearean insults and love quotes mugs—purchased at the Bard’s birthplace—are thick and sturdy, the right size for an afternoon spot. 

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Slang

30 Jan

I miss the small bits of British slang I heard tossed about London. I miss walking on the pavement, not the sidewalk. I miss hearing cheers instead of thank you/you’re welcome. I miss going out for a pint, not a beer. I miss preparing for the week-end, not the weekend. I miss the colorful curse words and rampant use of the four letter words Americans frown on (sorry, Mom). I miss saying round instead of around. I miss hearing children say muh-ma and puh-pa. I miss going to the pub. Taking the tube. Walking the High Street. Living in a posh neighborhood. Fancying someone. Going on holiday.

I miss England.

One year later…

12 Jan

A year ago I packed a suitcase, boarded a plane by myself, and began a four-month preview of a life in London. I call it a preview and not a journey because I know that London is my end point, and my journey there wasn’t the plane ride – it’s everything I will do until I move there permanently. And the whole “finding myself”-journey cliche doesn’t begin to cover my time spent in London last year. 

I think about London every single day. The streets, the Tube, the museums, the culture, and the way I felt when I was there. People often talk about feeling like they’re home, and how certain places just feel right. When I think about London I know that it is the one place where I truly feel at home. While I love where I spent my childhood, and I love where I grew as a college student, London is the place I want to be. The place I miss the most. The place I feel most like myself. London is where I know I belong. Cue the corny music.

2011 was a year of many firsts and new experiences – some great, some not so great – but why dwell on the bad when I can remember the incredible? The unbelievable? The oh-so-British? 

This is the year I graduate from college and embark on a little journey into the career world. As I begin this important year, I want to share more from my experience in London with whomever is reading my blog. 

Where has all the cider gone?

13 Jul

I ask myself this at every bar and restaurant I go to in America. How can this country not embrace such a delicious beverage?

In London there are ciders galore: Strongbow, Magners, Kopparberg’s, Rekorderlig (Wild Berry is my fave), Bulmer’s, Blackthorn, even Tesco has its own brand.

So where are the ciders here in the good ol’ USA? In the almost three months I’ve been back in the States I have had Magners, usually in a bottle but at a proper Irish bar you can get it on tap and the Stop and Shop near my house sells it in six packs for $9.99. I tried Harpoon’s cider. Never again, it was like drinking half a Strongbow diluted with water.

But where’s the real Strongbow? And, more importantly, where are my berry ciders? My strawberry lime ciders? One cannot live on the occasional apple or pear alone. So I ask you, America, where do I find cider? And by America, I mean google.

According to my beloved search engine, the US does brew its own ciders and certain bars carry a variety of imports… So the hunt continues. And until then, I’m a Magners loyalist.