And then there are moments which I could have never planned, which made them all the more incredible.
One of my dear friends from high school, who was also my roommate freshman year at UNC, who I lost touch with probably 25 years ago, messaged me through Facebook shortly before 5 pm. She was in Asheville visiting her mom, and would I like to join them? Without hesitation, I asked where they were and said I could be there in 20 minutes.
As I drove there, I wondered, “Would this be awkward?” “Would we have things to talk about?” “Why had we lost contact 25 years ago?”
And as soon as I saw her, and hugged her, and her family, it was if we were all back in time. So many laughs and memories, and stories to catch up on. What she had done. What I had done. How she ended up where she was. How I had. Changes. After a bit, I left to visit Mom, as I had promised her I would. I left feeling lighter, feeling joy, feeling loved, and feeling seen. What an incredible gift.
(Note: I took a selfie of us, which was so incredibly blurred it’s embarrassing, so I’m including a picture of some glittery Bulgarian artwork instead, which also brings unexpected joy.)
We started our tea tradition at The Plaza in New York three years ago. We enjoyed ourselves so much that it’s become a regular ritual. Sometimes we host teas at our houses (and invite others to join us as well), other times we try new places around San Francisco, and other times we return to favorite spots. Our goal is to have tea together in at least five different countries over the next five years.
Today we tried a new spot, Crown & Crumpet’s Tea Stop Cafe. When Rachel told me the address, I pondered out loud, “I think that’s in Japantown. I can’t remember ever passing a British tea shop in Japantown.” Sure enough, it was tucked inside a multi-purpose building, along with a theatre, a harajuku store, and several other small shops.
It didn’t have the formal (stuffy) air of many of the other places we’ve visited. The walls were stark white and bright sunshine shone through the tall glass windows. The tables were covered in tablecloths with bright blue and pink flowers and hot pink accents were abundant. The servers were incredibly friendly and wore delightful aprons. We both prefer the savory treats to the sweet ones, and we weren’t disappointed. The vegetarian mini-quiche was melt-in-your mouth delicious, the chicken curry sandwiches were seasoned perfectly, and the cinnamon scones were some of the best we’ve had anywhere.
One of the reasons I love our tea outings is that the ritual of taking tea forces you to slow down. We pour the tea and as we wait for it to cool to a drinkable temperature, we catch up on everything – work, social, travel, upcoming events. The conversation alternates between serious topics and discussing which treat we should try next (we both have the same strategy – try the things we think we’ll like least first, then end with favorites).
We left excited about our new find, adding it to the short list of favorites to return to.
The tea arrives!
A Clock of Cups
Words of wisdom on the saucer
Words of wisdom on the saucer
The treats arrive!
Close up of the cinnamon scones – mmmmm!