Tea makes the world go round

Whether you like it cold, shaken, green, or black, tea is one of the world’s most favorite drinks. Literally!

For me, tea was one of those things that got super trendy and I had to somehow start liking it! Yep, that’s right, I forced myself to like tea and voila! Now I love it!

Of course I LOVE my shaken black tea with two pumps of sweetener from Starbucks but tea is a wordly obsession! Seriously everywhere that I’ve traveled to for longer than a couple days, tea is a staple to their diets. Like it means something more than just a yummy comforting drink.

In the United States we get so caught up in all the health benefits. That’s unfortunately how our culture works. There has to be something we can gain rather than just doing something for enjoyment. And ya, I sure do love knowing that tea has great antioxidants, anticancer properties, and can attribute to weight loss, but those things don’t really cross my mind when I’m in front of the barista.

In other countries I’ve really spent some time in like Kenya, South Africa, and Turkey, tea means something more! It’s a way of saying ‘you are welcome here’ without actually saying those words. The community as a whole is based off of such a simple drink that brings people together no matter how different those people really are or what kind of culture they come from.

Having Turkish cay. Offered to us by a shop owner at the Grand Bazaar.

Having Turkish cay. Offered to us by a shop owner at the Grand Bazaar.

Kenya: Hot chai tea was a staple when I visited. Crazy to think that the first international country I visited when I was 10 years old was in Africa. HAH! I could slap myself for not liking tea at the time because chai is soooo good! I was crazy. It was offered constantly! Some of the poorest villages and poorest houses we visited ALWAYS had chai brewing and ready. If that’s not hospitality then I don’t know what is.

Serious love for this country

Serious love for this country

South Africa: I studied abroad in this amazing country my Junior spring semester of college. I’ve never drank so much tea in my entire life. Every kind of institution has two tea times built into their daily schedules. So cool, especially when you are going crazy in a 5 hour class and need a freaking break! Rooibos is the nation wide tea of choice and I fell in love. Tea time also means loads of cookies and fresh bread. I had to give this up for lent that year because that’s two daily temptations too many! I kept the tea habit though! I miss getting together with all my friends twice a day to catch up and say hi over tea.

206850_10150263573673206_697798205_9446381_4602692_n

Twice a day. Everyday.

Turkey: Cay (pronounced chai but it’s just black tea) brought the community together like no other. You would constantly see business owners and friends outside of their shops drinking tea together. It’s served in these precious glass tea cups that you have to hold by the rim or else you’ll burn your fingers off. I remember going into a Turkish delight shop with my mom and the owner gave us endless free samples and offered us tea. We were instantly friends and felt so welcome.

Free samples? Ummm, I'll take one of everything!

Free samples? Ummm, I’ll take one of everything!

 

There are so many kinds of tea and each one is known for something different. These three stand out to me so much and have a special special place in my heart.

Now sold at Ikea. Turkish tea carriers are getting to be mainstream!

Now sold at Ikea. Turkish tea carriers are getting to be mainstream!

Whether it’s based on the antioxidants or the taste, enjoy a cup of tea and relax in the moment.
What does tea mean to you?

bath time

So, I haven’t really mentioned it yet, but traveling is like my numero uno passion in life. If I won the lottery the first thing I’d do would be to travel around the world. I’d be on a budget (more places, duh!) but still fabulous.

I totally get that people have different loves in life but honestly I think it’s pretty lame when people have ZERO lust for the world. Like, are you serious?! Get up and go put yourself in a new environment for once (even if it’s just another state!). That’s what makes you grow as a person, expands your mind and ideas, and you will definitely make so many crazy relationships along the way.

ANYHOO…to make a long story short, my mom, aka my bestie, is my biggest inspiration. She has a lust for life I’ve never seen anyone else have. Currently she’s an international school art teacher in Istanbul, Turkey. You know what that means!!
I’M GOING TO VISIT!

I recently just got back from my trip to Istanbul and I’ll be periodically sharing stories from that adventure.


 

One of my absolute favorite things I did in IST was take part in the traditional Turkish bath. Like, I read about this stuff when I was taking Latin in middle school. You know I was stoked!

photo 1

Kalic Ali Pasa was unreal and over the top fabulous! Think of a day spa, Turkish style. And did I mention the building is ancient?! It was built in 1571! Can’t really fathom that thought.

The first thing you notice is the architecture. HUUUGE vaulted ceilings and pretty much everything is made out of marble (nbd!) You can instantly feel the heat and moisture in the air, but not in a gross sweaty way. Super quiet spa-like environment.

selfie!

selfie!

The traditional bath experience (what I did) is amazing. You also have the option of doing a massage after the bath (next time I’ll have more time). Men and women can both utilize this spa but not at the same time of day (PTL! Awkward!) Women have all day until about 4 pm and the men are scheduled in the evening.

The room where the magic happens

The room where the magic happens

I am not going to tell every single detail (I have to leave some kind of a mystery!) but I have never felt so clean in my life! You are scrubbed down good!!! I had so much dead skin (everyone does) and the ladies will show you and laugh! Just embrace it and laugh along with them. At the end, you’ll find yourself wrapped in a Turkish towel (you KNOW I bought a couple for my bathroom!) and you basically get to lounge and even sleep on these huge couches where you are served hot mint face towels, tea and snacks (if you want) until 4 pm. Next time I go, I would schedule my bath earlier in the day just so I can lounge longer afterwards. Why not right?!

Where you can pass out for hours afterwards. Delish!

Where you can pass out for hours afterwards. Delish!

If you ever find yourself in an ancient country like Turkey, you MUST go visit the baths. They recommend treating yourself every 4-6 weeks for skin health and exfoliation. I’ll be back.

4d2212cdd4ca816524aa6f16c7a21b41

XO,

S