In order to feel at home here and to understand what this Tea House is all about, please see my very first post at http://teatimereflections.blogspot.com/2009/09/heya-tea-mates.html

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

generosity of rain



TEA TIME!!!

Today's tea: Lipton tea (lol, not too legit...I know). What tea would you like to have?

It was raining yesterday as I was on my way back to campus from my brother's apartment. I had slept over his place during the weekend you see.

I was quite unprepared for the weather. For one thing, I wasn't carrying an umbrella or wearing a rain coat. I had a lot of stuff in a paper Macy's bag. It was quite heavy that I couldn't run to catch the train that was already standing as I arrived to the T-stop. Since I was waiting for the next train for quite a while under the rain, the bag tore off the very moment the next train arrived and I wanted to get on! EVERYTHING was all over the dirty wet pavement before me!! I first pulled all the stuff toward me, allowing others to get on the train. I had to figure out how to stuff the 2 tiny plastic bags that were already in the large Macy's bag.

I felt like I was a homeless person before the people who weren't helping me out (let alone share space under their large umbrellas while I was waiting for the train). I guess I can't blame them as they must've had places they had to go to. It is embarrassing moments like these in which no one gives you a hand that you get inspired to help another person who gets in a similar awkward situation. In other words, I thought: instead of blaming people and bringing myself down with them, let me raise myself higher by making sure that I don't end up like them when I see that someone is in need. Yet I must admit, I am usually slow in seeing an opportunity in which I can actually be of help, I guess it was the same case with these people.

The train eventually left. I then saw a young Asian girl running toward me with two plastic bags! She was breathless and spoke to me quickly saying: "I saw that you dropped your stuff, so I thought I'd give you these bags in case it happens again.", she gave me the bags, I thanked her, and she ran back. It was indeed so nice of her that although she was obviously having some other business she had to tend to, she still took her time to be of help. I guess in the end it is best to celebrate a moment of generosity rather than to blame those who are not otherwise, thus bringing yourself down with them. By depriving yourself the positive emotions of gratefulness and the lesson(s) to be learnt in the experiences and challenges of life, you are not being generous to yourself...so how can you be generous to others after "breaking the bow" with negative emotions?

oh yes, and before I forget to mention, I had added IM chat here on the blog! Scroll down a bit and you'll see it. I wanted to place it earlier in the site but it didn't work out. So I had to leave it here in the end of the side bar. I hope you make use of it to either communicate with me or your fellow Tea Mates!

From your Tea Mate,
Reema B. :-)

Friday, September 25, 2009

inspiration of the month





TEA TIME!!


Tea for the post is Teavana's blend of Samurai Chai Mate with White Ayurvedic Chai. And....you know the usual ritualistic question of each of my posts: what tea would you like me to serve you this time?? (Hey, at least this question was written in a different format unlike the usual ritualistic ones!)


An idea came up for me to post an inspirational quotation at the end of every month as another ritual for this blog. You may think it's kinda a few days early, but I thought that now that my classes are slowly starting to get more busy that it'd be best I post them at least a week earlier or so. I think it'd be refreshing if you Tea Mates can share some of your own inspirational quotes as well (preferably one for each month please). 


I may post less frequently these days, unless if I somehow figure out how to manage my time better. Ironically though, I may start another different blog! :-D Yes I know what you're thinking: I'm still a novice blogger and need to learn how to post more frequently and with more quality. But this other blog I want to create will be revolving around my religious and spiritual reflections (Islamic in nature). I want it to be a way for me to connect and meet other like-minded Muslims. 


As much as I love multi-faith and multi-cultural discussions, I would rather reserve this other blog purely as a way for me and my siblings in faith to journey together in our own "caravan" and support each other in any spiritual struggle and to be better versed in our religion and its implications. In fact, I am even a member of my university's Multi-Faith Student Connection group, so please don't get the wrong idea! It's just that I feel that there's too much religious and cultural intolerance on the internet to the extent that I wonder whether these people (Muslim or not Muslim, theist or atheist) have anything better to do with their lives (if they even have a life themselves) than to spit out cyclic flames of hatred and shove down their ideas down other's throats with such brute force.


I have diverse friends both with and without a religion and/or spirituality, and although we may have discussions of religion and spirituality, and even discuss why we agree or disagree with certain beliefs, we do not treat or speak to each other the way, for example, those in YouTube or in Yahoo Answer's religious/spirituality section do. 


It honestly disgusts me, especially when people are insensitive and cold toward how religion or spirituality can play a central role and meaning in some people's lives, and sometimes even his/her very essence of living. Can't people accept that religions are just the way they are and not argue out of ignorance and stereotypes?? If you have a bad experience or relationship with religion or God or any gods you might've believed in, please (and I mean please) do not attempt to tear out the beauty that others find in their own religions and spiritualities just because you do not see such beauty yourself. Indeed, I think that is the cruelest thing any human can ever do: stripping out the experience of beauty and love from another fellow human being. 


In my humble opinion, each and every person has a religion (even if you say that you do not; in saying that, you are expressing that you have the belief and faith in not having a religion and in not applying any religious practices!), so please do not be arrogant. Yes, diversity does separate people but it can also be a source of celebration. It is people (and not diverse religions, cultures, spiritualities, philosophies, theories, and viewpoints) that separate among one another and that do not choose to have an open mind to celebrate diversity which is in the end inevitable. 

Here's the link of this new blog if you're interested: http://journey2submission.blogspot.com/

Anyhow, here is the quotation (or the inspiration) of the month which I want to share with you Tea Mates, I think it is a universal message regardless of our backgrounds :-)


"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness, kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile." ---Mother Teressa 


From your Tea Mate,
Reema B. :-)

Monday, September 21, 2009

how to say i love you

TEA TIME!!!

My tea for the post is green tea, what would you like to have?

Was thinking about how I didn't post any videos on this blog and I am sure that I have some videos that I'd love to share with you Tea Mates. Anyhow, here's one which I really found very sweet and makes people reflect. (However, this sort of guy-girl relationship and dating in general are not things that I would personally and culturally agree with myself...may explain about that in a future post).

Here's what I found in the info section of this YouTube video: (in the meantime, enjoy the video! Oh, and sorry about its appearance, this is the smallest size I could make it to fit it in here):

Written by Hayley Stuart
Directed by Hayley Stuart & Francesca Sophia

SYNOPSIS:
Nicola is sitting on a bench when she is approached by Sam, an intrusive boy who strikes up an unlikely and intimate conversation with her, in which they bond awkwardly over their mutual feelings of isolation in a generation that would rather communicate via the Internet than in person.

Starring Nicola Potts:
http://www.youtube.com/user/nicolaepotts

& Sam Smith
http://www.youtube.com/user/sam0smith

Music written and performed by Jaymay
http://www.myspace.com/jaymay
(Used with permission.)

Filmed on location in Manchester, England.
Shot on Panasonic AG-HPX 171 E.




From your Tea Mate,
Reema B. :-)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I haven't learned, I am learning






TEA TIME!!!

Tea for the post is Teavana's blend of Samurai Chai Mate with White Ayurvedic Chai. I hate its taste once it gets cold though as it is quite a spicy tea. What tea would you like to have?

Ever have the feeling that you know that you have so much of time and yet get so confused as to how the day ends so quickly that you haven't really done much? Well, that is the exact feeling I've been having these two weeks since classes started. I really love my schedule for this Fall semester. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, I start at 9:15am. On Mondays I have three classes back to back while Wednesdays and Thursdays are only two classes with either a 1 or 4 hour gap between the two. Now here's the best part of my schedule: I only have one class on Tuesdays and Fridays which starts at 1:35pm!

And yet I still wonder why I "don't seem to have the time to":
1) have teatime with you guys
2) dust my room
3) do my readings
4) go to gym
5) stay in touch with friends and family from back home in Dubai
6) sleep early!

I finally noticed that access to Internet is the culprit here. You see, once I am done for the day and get to my place, I drop my stuff, and have the intention of simply checking my email. But then as a person my age who doesn't feel like either a teenager or an adult, and also as a foreigner transitioning to the social life in the US which involves being in an abrupt explosion of many more diverse views than I'm used to, I do experience some temporary "on and off" phases of "identity moratorium", questioning my identity, what I identify with, values, and interests which I used to think will always be stable since I was so confident in them and strongly based my identity on them. (loool, I'm sure you can feel the stress from that very LONG sentence!!) Thus, I use Google and/or Wikipedia to look up my questions and to try to solve my internal struggles. Thus, link leads to link and question leads to question.

At times, I get too stressed from these internal struggles that keep getting resolved, and then coming back afresh!!! I wonder if I'm going insane!! I noticed that it is a cyclic process and it is only me who can actually control it (although the cycle may appear uncontrollable, and even inevitable, giving me illusions of hopelessness. And indeed, the plethora of information in the internet is just....speechlessly overwhelming!!).

Thank God though, that during the course of this Holy Month of Ramadan (when the struggles were at their peak), I feel like I have finally or at least partially taught myself how to handle such struggles. These struggles have also shown me how arrogant I was (and still am to some degree...after all my motto is: I haven't learned, I am learning).

Yet in a sense, I sometimes feel that these struggles leave me feeling so cold and hard-hearted. However, upon reflection, I noticed how reactive I can be to my emotions to the extent that it can impair my thoughts and judgement and continue the cycle of vain questions which I had already answered. I also noticed how such emotions made me too preoccupied with my questions that I feel like I've been impatient, absent, and cold toward people unintentionally.

To those of you who are undergoing something similar, one of my advices to you is that you make use of these struggles as part of a training for your soul. Embrace the challenge. Nothing is a distraction to your development unless you make it as so. And remember: you haven't learned, you are learning. I'd also like you to consider what I am going to share with you in the next paragraphs below.

In the end, identity moratorium is a natural component of development as I've been learning in my Psych classes, and psychologists like Erik Erikson encourage society to allow youth the freedom to explore different identities. This, (combined with the following Koranic verse (translation of its meanings): "It is He who has made the earth easy for you to walk on (and use) so walk in its paths thereof and eat of His provision, and to Him will be the Resurrection" (Surat Al Mulk, verse 15)) have made me made me feel better especially in terms of thinking about why I chose my major. I decided that now that I'm still young and have so much of opportunities (paths in which I can tread in this earth), I might as well find joy in exploring regardless of whether or not the subject has anything to do with my career plans.

Here's a related concept I found in The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: "The world was huge and inexhaustible; he had only to allow his sheep to set the route for a while, and he would discover other interesting things. The problem is that they don't even realize that they're walking a new road every day. They don't see that the fields are new and the seasons change. All they think about is food and water. Maybe we're all that way, the boy mused."

Also, I read the following in the preface of The Alchemist: "During this time in spiritual exile, I learned many important things: that we only accept a truth after we have first wholeheartedly rejected it; that we mustn't run away from our own destiny; and that the hand of God is firm, but infinitely generous."

Finally, here's a long quote I really like from Rocky Balboa. I think that these words are really refreshing to keep us all moving forward in life in general: (click on the link to find more beautiful quotes from the movie):

"I'd hold you up to say to your mother, "this kid's gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid's gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew." And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watching you, every day was like a privilige. Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you're no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow. Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Now if you know what you're worth then go out and get what you're worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain't you! You're better than that! I'm always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You're my son and you're my blood. You're the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, ya ain't gonna have a life. Don't forget to visit your mother"




From your Tea Mate,
Reema B. :-)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

international carnevalle...help me with ideas!







Today's tea is again a fusion of green and white tea. What tea would you like to have?


One night, I went for dinner with a friend of mine and we were discussing ideas about what should be the theme for this year's International Carnevalle. I remember that we had great ideas which we were really excited about. 


International Carnevalle is a festival we have on our campus throughout the Spring Semester. It celebrates cultural diversity through events like international fashion shows, international market place, etc. We form a committee in the Fall semester to discuss ideas, organize these events, and advertise them. Last year's theme was "Unmask the World".


When this friend of mine came over to my place yesterday and she was asking about whether I wanted to join the International Carnevalle Committee this year I said: 


"I'm not sure....by the way, remember when we both went to P.F. Chang's at the Pru the other day?" 


"....yeah..." she replied,


"Well, I think we had a great idea for the theme for  this year's carnevalle....I completely forgot about it though...do you remember?"


"No....I don't think so"


"something about....webs...."


"Hmm....." she says, "as in spiders??"


"No no!!! I'm sure we didn't say anything about spiders! But I am very sure that there were webs involved!! Cultural webs??"


She looks at me clueless and I say: "You know! As in how cultures have some common ground and are connected yet different....like the pattern of a spider web....but I don't remember what name did we decide to call it!!! The name was what got us all excited. That is what's bothering me now!"


"uffff......Reema, why didn't we write it down!! I think it was your idea 'cause I remember hearing it myself...."


"I think you first proposed an idea then out of that I may have been inspired to propose this...well now that we forgot about the idea we can at least propose a new one, at least we have an 'idea' of what the forgotten idea was..." (lol)


"hmmm, when I think of webs I think of internet..."


*silence*


"Now that I think about it," I finally say, "some cultures now a days do have their own chat language...or at least Arabs in our generation made up an 'arabic chat language'."


"How is it like?"


"You see, Many people our age can't type Arabic fast or don't have an Arabic keyboard. Instead, we use a combination of English letters, numbers, and apostrophes. Since there are many letters not found in English, we use numbers and apostrophes to symbolize those letters! For example, the letter 'haa' (with a very guttaral 'h') is replaced with 7 since it looks like the written form of the letter." (for example, the phrase Salam alaikum is actually written as Salam 3alaikum, since the first letter is not actually found in English and is different from the 'a' sound)


"Haha that's so cool!"


"So maybe this year's carnevalle can be something about chat languages in different cultures? But I dunno any other language that uses this kind of chat language..."


"You could try to tell the new e-board about it."


*end of dialogue*


Well, I guess we are kinda getting somewhere here...you guys have any ideas yourself to help me out? Just noticed that this post reinforces the point I was trying to make in my previous one!


From your Tea Mate,
Reema B. :-)



Friday, September 11, 2009

still alive...and blogging!


No tea for this post...but I am having some fruit! What tea would you like to have?
Classes have started and I had ideas about what to write for this post. But now that I sit here to write it, I completely forgot what those ideas exactly were.

I guess forgetting does serve some benefit since it forces us to explore other ideas or to re-explore those forgotten (or partially forgotten) ideas in a different angle. Without forgetting, not only would our cognitive resources be so overwhelmed with so much information, but also we wouldn't be experiencing that joy felt when the ideas come back at that perfect moment in which we come to realize much more applicable potential in these ideas and further develop them. We also wouldn't be experiencing that joy felt when we look at our pictures or any other souvenir of our past. Such joys are blessings. Such joys are what stimulate us to move forward and make the very essence of living more meaningful and purposeful.

Here's a quote from one of my favorite short chapters in the Holy Koran:

"By degrees shall We teach thee (the Message), so thou shall not forget
Except as Allah wills: for He knoweth what is manifest and what is hidden." (Surat Al-A'laa, verses 6 & 7)

As much as I'd like to type some more and share an illustration from my own life, I think I'd rather go to sleep....it's 2:25am here...maybe I'll say more in a future post? At least I'm letting you know I'm still alive and blogging!!!

......*yawn*.....zzzzzzz

From your Tea Mate,
Reema B. :-)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

6 conquerors of the world, 1 conqueror of my memories, & a thank you to our new tea mate: "A Woman Made of Dust"


TEA TIME!!!

My tea for the day: Stash Premium fusion green and white tea. Though it may not be the best green/white tea, I still find it quite soothing especially while sipping it in my new dorm bathed in the afternoon sun. But this time, I drank it at night after coming from an on-campus event. What tea would you like to have now?

The other day, a new "tea mate" who calls herself 'A Woman Made of Dust' left a sweet comment on my first post and suggested a book for us tea mates called: A History of the World in 6 Glasses, by Tom Standage. Thank you again sister tea mate ;-) (lol too many links in one sentence!)

After reading both editorial reviews on Amazon.com and our new sister tea mate's description of the book, I decided to add it on my wishlist in my Amazon account. In a nutshell, the book is about how each culture has its own signature drink that has shaped other cultures and world history in general. The 6 drinks are: *tea*, coffee, wine, beer, spirits, and cola. Maybe if I get to read the book myself, it could be a potential topic for a future post...I'm kinda curious about whether tea is the greatest world conqueror of the six drinks!! :-p


However, of the six drinks, tea is definitely the greatest conqueror of my own memories. Tea brings back good memories of sleep-overs at my grandmother's place when me and my brother were little kids. I remember how in every breakfast with grandma, we always had to have a glass or cup of Lipton tea. Grandma would always advise us about the benefits of drinking a cup of tea once a day.

Tea also brings back memories of one of my favorite traditional Gulf Arabic foods called khoboz wa mehyawa (translated as bread and mehyawa, which is also known as meshawa in some Gulf Arab countries...click on the link to know what it is; it doesn't have a name in the English language. I'm honestly surprised that I was even able to find it on Wikipedia!!!).

Bread and mehyawa is ideal to have while sipping red tea or tea with milk (especially chai karak also known as chai haleeb which is made by black tea leaves, cardamom pods, boiled milk...and lots of sugar! This tea is a staple in the Gulf region of the Arab world). Mehyawa is typically homemade. Sometimes people add melted butter and/or eggs along with the mehyawa on the bread (which can either be Iranian bread, khoboz irgag (which is a kind of thin crunchy flat bread found in Gulf Arab countries), or khemeer).

I once shared bread and mehyawa with one of my American friends here in Boston, and she LOVED it...I'm sure she must've finished the rest of the bread I gave her by now...

Eventually, tea reminds me of my grandmother's cooking, especially the desserts that she, and many other mothers and grandmothers from the Gulf, would make during Ramadan. Such desserts, I think, would require a separate post in order to describe each for you tea mates. I may share some recepies if I ever attempt to make them myself.

Although the Arab world is the cradle of coffee, I rarely drank it back home in Dubai. I would only have coffee once every two weeks. I would only have Arabic coffee when we had guests at my grandmother's or when we visited relatives during Eid (which is twice a year).

However, when I first came to America last year, I drank more coffee between classes. Noticing the habit building up, I now drink it once in a blue moon and try to drink more tea instead. America is also where I "discovered" bubble tea (lol) and learned more about the different varieties of tea, especially through my brother's Japanese room mate. *Sigh* transitioning to America even effects the simplest spheres of one's life...

From your Tea Mate,
Reema B. :-)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

a whole day of cooking...while fasting!



It's TEA TIME!!!

*Phew* now I can finally sit here, sip some tea, and type my blog after a FULL day of cooking with mom! My tea for today is: Ahmad Tea flavored with peach and passion fruit. It was my first time having this tea...I just LOVED the smell! But I expected better...what tea would you like to have now? By the way, I really appreciate the blogging tips I've received from my previous and very first post, they were quite helpful! As you can see, I am now implementing one such tip by adding pictures!! xD Hopefully I'll add more some other time...I would like some animation though...

Although it is the Holy Month of Ramadan (the month in which we Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and in which we believe the Holy Koran was revealed to our Prophet), I am not fasting since I am kinda sick and need my medicine during the day...it's difficult to actually "feel" the holiness of the month in a non-Muslim country, especially when you yourself aren't even fasting. 

Although I already moved into my new dorm, I am now staying at my brother's place during this vacation to spend time with my mom before she goes back to Dubai. Since my brother is quite possessive of my laptop (>,<), you may notice that my posts (and tea sipping) will be slow...hopefully I'll post daily once the vacation ends and I stay at my new place. I also hope to post more general daily reflections as I get pretty distracted here in the living room with my mom and brother (especially when both of them need the internet and when my brother keeps poking me sharing his 3D architectural designs with me! Though I have to admit, I somewhat envy his enthusiasm and constant creative productivity. Would love to share his designs with you tea mates, but I don't think he'd allow me).

Today, instead of deciding to eat from a restaurant during the time of breaking our fast in the evening (known as Iftaar), mom was in quite a cooking frenzy! :-D From 12pm till 5:45pm, me and her were in the kitchen the whole day cooking a variety of traditional Gulf Arabic foods. Actually, I just made the salad and dessert...although mom calls for my help, she tends to do everything herself as she is fast, steady, and gets things done the minute they need to get done while I'm slow and tend to take breaks in between. :-p However, since I'm not fasting and both she and my brother are, I was helpful enough with tasting the food for her, making sure that the salt and herb quantities were right.

Speaking of herbs, it was difficult to find what we actually wanted for our food, even in ethnic grocery stores, so the food didn't turn up the same way as it was meant to. I find it amazing how people can still cook the whole day while fasting despite the tempting aromas...especially from frying samosas (known as "Samboosa" in Gulf Arabic)!!

Anyhow, posted below are the pictures of some of the food we had along with their names, I'll share the ingredients with you once I actually attempt to make them myself. However, I don't feel like these really give the best idea of how Gulf Arabic food is really like. I couldn't take much pictures as mom was zipping around the kitchen and barely allowed me to. I just realized also (and unfortuantely) that I didn't take a picture of the main dish called 'Aish wa Mash (literally: Rice & Mung Beans...the kind my mom makes contains ground beef or lamb rolled into a ball along with other herbs, hers is among my favorite dishes!).

Food from the Gulf region of the Arab world is highly influenced by both Persian and Indian food. It is found homemade so don't expect to find a Gulf Arabic restaurant. I've never seen one myself, not even in my own country. I even read a Gulf Arabic cookbook (called Cardamom & Lime by Sara Al-Hamad) where the author says in the Introduction that she herself has only seen 2 such restaurants in the world (whatever Arabic food you may have eaten yourself from an Arabic restaurant is typically Mediterranean or North African...and no..."Iranian" food or "Persian" food are NOT "Arabic"! Although they both influenced one another greatly).

Left: The dessert called Farnee (rice pudding, also known as Muhalabiyyah...also found in Iran, Iraq, the Mediterrenean, and South America, but this doesn't have the rice grains and has more rose water, thus it is more of a match with the Persian version)
Right: Chicken Kofta stuffed with cheese (in this case Philadelphia cheese, we typically use Kiri cheese back home, but since that's a French brand, we couldn't find it here in America)
Below: Dates (in Arabic, each stage of date has its own specific name, in the photo, this date is called Tamer as it is in its last and most ripest stage. During Iftaar, people begin by eating dates to raise their blood sugar and iron after a day of fasting).


From your Tea Mate,
Reema :-)

Friday, September 4, 2009

heya tea-mates!


It's TEA TIME!!

Before introducing you to the "tea house" and telling you what's it all about, I want to make sure that you have your first sip of tea to make yourself feel at home here (for the best experience of my posts, I think tea is required to relax you in order to tolerate my inexperience in the world of blogging! Actually, please do ignore this comment as I will explain the significance of tea after you have your first sip...). Now please sit down on these silk cushions and fill your lungs with incense...(do you prefer Asian, Middle Eastern, or Native American incense?).

 Let's see what tea do we have here...would you like black, red, green, or white tea? Chai? Mate? Oolong? Moroccan? Flavored tea? Herbal tea? Blended teas? Hot or iced tea? Any preferred brands of tea? Sugar? Honey? Cardamom? Tapioca? Milk? Sorry no coffee here, I think it's too over-rated!

I was originally intending to type up each of my posts while drinking tea with you guys (hence the title, and yes in real time; not make belief!), but since it is very late at night here and I felt excited to type up my first post, I decided (unfortunately) to ignore this ritual for this first post.

The very idea of the blog was inspired by the movie "Julie & Julia" and by an online forum where one of the new members creatively introduced herself by "virtually" having a tea party. However, instead of creating a blog about a personal cooking challenge like in "Julie & Julia", I thought of blogging about the books I read and my reflections. In other words, having a tea party with the book, the author (in an abstract sense, not necessarily physically), and those of you interested in that same book or similar books.

Yet that was just my initial idea. I then thought: "I kinda want to make a similar blog like Julie's so that I can actually motivate myself in learning to cook fast and in this way also share the joy of cooking and food with you tea mates (I don't even know how to cook, lack common sense in it, and am very SLOW! But I'd love to learn!).

But then as a college student, I doubt I could commit to the latter. This is why in the end, I decided to make our tea parties a place where we not only talk about books, food, and cooking, but also about our very aspirations, reflections about ourselves and life in general, and what inspires us...or makes us laugh! Tea time functions as a way to make time for us to meditate together and relax in our daily hassles as we sip from our little cups and enjoy conversing and connecting with each other.

And I really do hope that we remain life-long tea mates. As a newbie blogger, I still find it a challenge to commit to posting. I hope that tea will be my motivation to continue posting and connecting and your motivation to read and connect ;-)

Welcome to the Tea House,
From your Tea Mate,
Reema B.