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

There was an error in this gadget

Thursday, December 31, 2009

**tea house** background music

TEA TIME!!

Tea for the post: Lipton tea with milk and cardamom. Lol, in fact, that's really the only kind of tea I've been drinking during my time here in Dubai--my home. I will be back in Boston in January the 7th; I hope that I'll be posting more often by then.

As I had already mentioned, during my time here at home as well, I've barely had access to a computer (I didn't bring my laptop) and even when I did, it would only be for a brief time. It is now late at night here and I am going to bed, but it suddenly occurred to me that it is time for me to change the background song of the blog; what do you **Tea Mates** (or any other visitor of this blog) suggest? I am looking for a relaxing, welcoming, and preferably non-vocal music; kinda the sort of music that'd suite a **tea house** atmosphere (not necessarily Asian).

In case I don't get the chance to post tomorrow, I'd like to wish you all a very Happy New Year (and a very late merry christmas as well!)

From your Tea Mate
Reema B. :-)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

jet lagged, busy, and phoneless...but good to be home!!

TEA TIME!!!!

Tea for the day: karak tea (click here to know what karak tea, which is also known as chai karak, is), what tea would you like me to serve you today?

Omg....this week has been quite insane indeed....I had traveled back home on the same day as my last final which was on December 15. It's been a year since I've last gone home lol. The flight from Boston to Dubai (with a 5 hour transit to Amsterdam) took about 19 hours. I slept quite a lot but my eye glasses broke when I got to the Schipol Airport in Amsterdam. So, I had to wear my disposable contacts (and yes, I ended sleeping with them as well...I just couldn't keep myself awake especially in the flight to Dubai!). Because I had slept quite a lot, I was surprised that I didn't feel as jet lagged as I used to in my last Winter Break in Dubai (I was literally exhausted for a whole week!). But after a day or two, I'm now beginning to start crashing down!!

I didn't bring my own laptop with me as I wanted to travel light. In fact, I came here with only a backpack and a purse! This is in fact my very first time not checking in any luggage; and I would love to keep traveling in this simple way! In fact, I would actually like to buy myself a light laptop...but nothing too small...any suggestions?

I would also like to buy a new phone. My US phone doesn't work in other countries and my Dubai phone was broken ages ago. To top that, I hadn't used my sim card for a whole year and it got locked! Hopefully I'll get my sim card unlocked and will get a new phone. Was thinking of either an Iphone or a Blackberry...but I feel like everyone has those! I wanna be "unique" lol :-p haha, any suggestions for that too?

I have been quite busy this whole week especially with family and I barely get the chance to use my dad's laptop to blog. However, I have been working on 2 drafts and hope that I continue posting more often! I have been slacking off quite a lot in my blogging these past 2 months lol....

I guess this is the end of my post...wasn't really expecting to post anything this plain and boring but thought that I'd update you with what's going on with me and what my current excuse is for not blogging for a while. In fact, I think I may begin just blogging once a month if I continue being this busy...

Anyways...happy holidays **Tea Mates**, please do update me about your holiday season ;-)

From your Tea Mate,
Reema B.

Friday, December 4, 2009

the social business



Photo by: The Hostess
TEA TIME!!

I'm now sipping (for the very first time) Organic Red Rooibos Tea from Peet's Coffee & Tea which had recently opened near our campus. What tea would you like to have?

I had bought a small box of this Rooibos tea (in teabag form) since I've only briefly heard about it and its health benefits and was just curious about how it tasted. To be honest with you, although the aroma of the teabag was welcoming, I am slightly disappointed. I was expecting a bitter yet refreshing taste that relaxes the senses but...it doesn't seem to have any taste at all, although I've steeped it for more than five minutes! Any of you **Tea Mates** had rooibos yourself and think differently?

Although I didn't like the tea too much, I did try their Pumpkin Spice Latte while I was in Peet's Coffee & Tea cafe. I must say that I like their pumpkin spice latte more than either Starbucks' or Dunkin Donuts' because it feels like I'm actually drinking a coffee with legit natural flavors. (I just realized that I'm now speaking positively of coffee in a tea house!! What hypocrisy and blasphemy!! XD)

Aside from either tea or coffee, one thing that I really liked about Peet's Coffee & Tea is its aim to not only provide with quality teas and coffees, but to do so with socially, environmentally, and economically responsible practices. It also donates to and supports organizations and entities (like TechnoServe) that aim to improve the lives of the farmers it works with. Unlike some businesses that make similar claims, Peet's Coffee & Tea seems to be more transparent about how it aims to achieve such ideals and what particular organizations and entities it supports.

This may seem like a childish thought, but I wish that all the businesses out there follow such practices that is good for everyone; practices that both take and give back rather than just take till all is exhausted. It is indeed quite childishly stubborn of our "modern", "civilized", and "cultured" societies to be still doing the latter and to still associate being a "do-good-er" as being "anti-capitalist". In addition, it is ironic how even when societies may value democracy, equality, morality, etc. their economies exclude the poor and underprivileged in their own nations and/or worldwide (a topic discussed in a blog post I had shared in my last post:  http://kalman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/26/back-to-the-land/). At times, I feel guilty of eating the food I eat, wearing the clothes I wear, etc. in our highly globalized world since I wonder whether a single poor person, an animal, or the environment has been abused or denied their full rights in order to produce and sell me such products. And it is astonishing to see that such tyranny still exists. I also feel guilty for being the one to have such luxuries while many others are denied it.

It is, however, uplifting to see the increasing awareness of individuals and businesses about the importance of equitable and sustainable trade. Instead of continuously feeling guilty and hopeless and blaming God, Fate, or any person or circumstance, I think that we must make use of this challenge and produce a positive ripple effect which can not only uplift those whom the ripple touches, but also ourselves. Otherwise, we'd paralyze ourselves with vain negative energy and that is not adaptive for us or anyone. I think we should also consider that the underprivileged have much more to teach us and that we ourselves are "poor"; we are just too arrogant to acknowledge that. I could go on and on about how in the end we are all "poor" but I'd rather leave it up to you to reflect in your own way and maybe possibly promote discussion.

After blabbering about being thankful, charitable, and socially minded in my previous two or three posts, I now present to you a video of a speech about the concept of a "social business" from Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank. My professor of  my Social Entrepreneurship class showed us this video and I'm glad that I found it myself to share it with you (this is not a complete video though and I highly recommend watching the full video via the button already provided (watch full program) or look it up in http://fora.tv, the question and answers part in the ending is not to be missed. Oh, and don't forget to pause the background song by pressing the pause button on the Ipod gadget on the right side bar of the blog before playing the video!):



From your Tea Mate,
Reema B. :-)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

inspiration of the month 3 & blog changes






TEA TIME!!!

Tea for the post: Thai jasmine tea. What tea would you like me to serve you today?

The end of the month has come so fast!! I mean, I feel as though it was just Summer yesterday and now the Fall semester is suddenly ending and winter break is approaching (by the way, I will be going back home to Dubai during this 3 week holiday!! I'm quite excited especially since I'll finally be learning to drive so that I can get my licence...even if I don't, I'll at least have finally started!!)

Speaking of speed, I had recently bumped into this interesting blog post about the connection between our speedy modern lifestyle, food, and democracy. Please do check it out as it is quite a fun and interesting read about a very important topic. It actually reminded me of my trip to Ecuador where I had stayed in a reserve/organic farm and where almost everyday I would eat organic food that came fresh from that farm...you have no idea how healthy I felt after the end of that trip...and I had lost a lot of weight (in a healthy way...not an anorexic way)! I hope that maybe in a future post, I could start a discussion related to this blog post. Anyways, here's the link to the post: http://kalman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/26/back-to-the-land/

As you **Tea Mates** may have noticed, I have made some changes to the blog and have added a playlist and a book shelf. I plan to add more books but there seems to be a problem with my Shelfari account and I'm trying to solve it. I also don't remember the names of some past books I've read which I'd love to share in this shelf. I have so far only added one song to the playlist but I will change the song once in a month or two so that it doesn't get too monotonous. I have also removed the shout box and chat widget as I noticed that no one was making use of them and they were only taking up space in a blog that was otherwise meant to have a simple design like a simple **Tea House**.

Enough of my blabbering lol, now that it is the end of the month I think we need to continue our second ritual! For those of you who are newbies of this **Tea House** and would like to learn more about one of its ritualistic traditions of sharing an inspirational quotation in the end of each month please click here and here.

Now, I present to you....the INSPIRATION! This is a translation of one of Rumi's poetry (however, I typically hate how translations tend to ruin the essence of the written art...I also wish that I knew more Farsi to be able to read the original piece myself! This piece seems to be related to the blog post I just shared, especially the part where the author talks of abundance and heedlessness).

Oh yes, and one final note: since the time in my laptop is in Dubai timing, and since Boston is 9 hours behind Dubai, the date of the post is a day ahead! Oh....and I just realized after posting this that today is December 1st...not November 31st!!! XD


"Thanksgiving is sweeter than bounty itself.
One who cherishes gratitude does not cling to the gift!
Thanksgiving is the true meat of God's bounty;
The bounty is its shell,
For thanksgiving carries you to the hearth of the Beloved.
Abundance alone brings heedlessness
Thanksgiving gives birth to alertness.
The bounty of thanksgiving will satisfy and elevate you,
And you will bestow a hundred bounties in return.
Eat your fill of God's delicacies,
And you will be freed from hunger and begging."
----Rumi