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  • Writer's pictureNancy, Hostess of Cup & Crown

The Drink That Binds Us


I'm sitting in my dining room gazing through the picture window that frames a wide vista of the wintery scene that is my front yard. There is a shallow layer of snow and ice that covers my lawn and driveway which, unfortunately, is a steep hill and currently too frozen to attempt. Combined with my children matriculated in their virtual school all day, there is little to no chance that I'll be venturing out of my house today, even if it's just to get to the grocery store.


This has been a very precipitous February, moreso than I can remember in the several years I've lived here in Fairfax County, Virginia. On these cold days of winter and COVID isolation, I'm especially grateful for tea. Yes, TEA.


Despite the heat running in my house [which, it must be said, I also appreciate and God bless Texas], whatever sweater and jeans and socks I wear, I still feel a chill. One of the reasons I began drinking tea some years back - a reason that falls somewhere between Trying To Be British at the top of that list to Hot Chocolate Has Too Much Sugar at the bottom - is that it warms me. Or as I've described to many acquaintances, "It's like having a warm, soothing bath on the inside."


I'm also grateful for tea as it has been a means of maintaining friendships during COVID. I recently read a lovely article called "5 Amazing Ways That Tea Brings People Together" by Shawn Geitner, founder and owner of Beleave Teas in Apollo, Florida. One of the reasons listed by Geitner is that "Tea is a way in which guests are welcomed. Tea is considered the supreme form of hospitality in a variety of cultures. It greets people and always brings a smile."


Before the country shut down, I frequently enjoyed sharing a cuppa with a friend or two (or three or four) after the kids set-off for school. Refusing to allow the pandemic to shut down this enjoyable respite, I opened "Nancy's Virtual Tea Room" and have had several friends join me for Virtual Afternoon Tea via Zoom. Though we are not sharing a table, we share our stories about parenting, marriage, work, and life in a pandemic, and still with a cup of tea in hand. I have also been joined by new friends and have enjoyed their personal stories, hearing about their occupations and ambitions, learning about their passions, and discovering what interests we share. I invite all my readers to visit my Cup & Crown Facebook page for a little eavesdropping on these conversations from my various guests... you'll hear anything from what it's like to live in New Zealand, how to connect with a great financial advisor, or where to get information about the best Italian restaurants in the Washington D.C. area. And whether or not you drink tea, I invite readers to contact me if you or someone you know would like to be my guest for Virtual Afternoon Tea (nancy@cupandcrown.com) to share some conversation or even to "plug" your business to Cup & Crown viewers.


"This simple yet mysterious drink we call tea really does bring people together." ~Shawn Geitner, Tea Sommelier and Educator

Now... I'm someone who is quite critical of how reliant we have become on screens and will be relieved when we return to tactile, tangible relationships that await us in a post-pandemic world. I cannot deny, however, that social media has allowed me to make new friends over the past year. I have found several other individuals and groups on Facebook and Instagram who share my love of tea and/or interest in Britain. One of those groups can be found on Facebook: Calling All Tea-Timers & Anglophiles. Organized by my good friend, Amy Mitchell, a handful of us gather for "afternoon tea" every Friday afternoon. Each of us armed with our afternoon cuppa, we share stories of our weekly goings-on and funny anecdotes. Sometimes we get tips from others on flavourful teas and where to find them; how to make clotted cream; travel advice; and what's good in British television and movies. It has also been a source of networking amoung those of us who are business-owners. We invite you to see what we're all about... you can catch us live on the Calling All Tea-Timers & Anglophiles Facebook page every Friday at 3:00 p.m. EST. And when you're ready to join us, just link-in with tea in hand and be ready for some fun conversation. All are welcome!


We have all had to be creative in our friendships and relationship-building - even in business networking - during COVID to ensure the isolation doesn't drive us apart or drive us mad. As it has been for me, tea has been the drink that binds me to those I hold dear and to the new friends I have made in recent months. Quoting Shawn Geitner again: "There are countless reasons why people are drawn to tea over other types of beverages, but the opportunity to participate in some of its many rituals plays a huge part. This simple yet mysterious drink we call tea really does bring people together."


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