Tea Time

By: Carey Fritz 

I have recently returned from my second trip to Ivanovo, Russia.  It has changed my life.  For the better.

There are many wonderful things that happened, but today I want to focus on one aspect of life in Russia that really touched me.  Tea Time.

People who know me well, know that I prefer coffee to tea.  Every morning we were in Ivanovo I had my morning coffee- instant packets and flavored creamer that I brought with me from the US.   But there's something about tea time in Russia. The tea there is amazing!  (I now have a cupboard full of Russian tea!) But it's not the tea that makes it amazing... It's the fact that no matter what you are doing, or who you are, when you are in Russia and they say that it's tea time, you come. Every one comes.  The guys working out come from the gym (yes, still in their gym clothes!), the director comes from his office, the seamstress takes a break from her crafting, the graduates stop playing UNO, the Americans stop preparing crafts and activities. Everyone piles in the kitchen and has tea (and pastries and candy!)

But it's not about the tea.

It's about spending time together. We gather around the tables and visit while sipping our tea.  We discuss what our life is like in America, what their life is like in Russia.  We learn that we have similar interests, feelings and thoughts.  Friendships are formed.  Jokes are shared.  It's a time of bonding.  It's a time of growing our family.  The Russians in Ivanovo are my family... separated only by a bit of distance.

When I return from my trips to Russia, I try to continue the tradition of tea time.  Just a few moments with a good cup of tea (Russian, of course) and my family and my friends.  I wish we did that more often here at home.  We are too busy rushing around and always doing.  We need to be intentional about taking the time to just be with one another.

Slow down.  Take the time.  Tea Time.