Challenges abroad: Chapter Tea

We’ve all been there. Whether it be on your summer Costa Del Sol holiday, throughout a time living abroad or even just visiting someone else’s house. We’ve all had that horrible experience of being given a cup of tea that’s just no good.

Even at home we have our own particular ways of brewing a cup. Lazy busy people will mix it all together in a mug. Sometimes we’ll make a bit of an effort and bother using a teapot. Sometimes we’ll be close to physical violence in the age old argument of whether milk or water goes first. (For the record, the correct way is to mix the teabag and hot water first, then pour this into a cup with milk).

I’ve been there. I remember a rubbish cup one year our family went to Ibiza. I have faint memories of weak and milky tea in Colombia. But this experience is one I will never forget.

Just look at it. It was so bad I’ve decided to strike out the name of the “upscale, speciality” tea stand I bought it in. Look at it. I don’t even know where to start. It’s colour should say it all; a pasty, weak, bland ucky colour. This is supposed to be “English Breakfast” tea. worst tea ever

The signs were there to retreat and grab a coffee as soon as I started to order. I should have ran for the hills when the server asked, “Do you want it hot or cold?” I should have screamed in horror at the suggestion”… would you to like to mix in another blend?” I can’t tell you how disgusted my face must have appeared on being told “we have no normal milk… only almond, soy or lactose free”. I chuckled when he asked if I wanted it with honey, something I would only do if I had a sore throat.

I knew the cuppa wouldn’t be marvelous. But screw it. Let’s go for it! What do I have to lose? It’s a Sunday and I want a nice bloody cup of tea to drink as I read. I was going to recreate my weekend mornings relaxing by the dock’s in Belfast. I was discovering a place in Mexico that could become my Sunday afternoon, people watching, tea drinking utopia. I’m not going to let a few foolish questions ruin my day.

So I sat down. I took out my book (The Greatest Salesman in the World, Og Mandino. Wonderful read). I took the plastic lid of the paper cup. Ugh. What a minging colour. Still. Let’s give it a chance.

When it entered my mouth I could tell I wouldn’t finish it. It was sweet. SWEET. There was no sugar. I hadn’t opted for sweetener, or anything else that would also it’s taste. What on earth was happening?

I tried to drink it. I took a few sips. I sent a Snapchat of it, expressing my disgust. I tried to finish it. I tried to focus on the compelling book I had in my hands. I attempted to enjoy the cup while watching the people walk by, going about their Sunday shopping. But I couldn’t. The taste was not only in my mouth and throat. It had infiltrated my mind. I couldn’t stop thinking of it. Even once that cup of tea had been discarded in a bin and was out of life, I couldn’t escape the memory of it’s horror.

Horrific, depressing and miserable moments stick in our mind. Many remember the moment they discovered Princess Diana had died. The moment news of Michael Jackson’s death hit our TVs, phones and tablets will stay etched, frozen in the memories of millions of people. People of an older generation will never forget when they heard the wireless emit reports of JFK’s assassination. But only I will be burdened for the rest of my life knowing the monstrosity of that cup of tea.

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