Tea and cakes is usually coupled with the image of an English person. We forget that the Irish are right up there drinking tea with cakes and biscuits and scones and basically anything else you can consume while drinking tea. At the office here, there is always someone who gets up from their desk and will ask, “Anyone for acuppa tea?” (Not making this up, stereotypes are real for a reason.)
What do you picture when you think about British or Irish people drinking tea? Cute teapot, nice china cups, and a flower plate topped with biscuits right?
Well let me introduce you to THIS GUY:
I’m not even sure what this is called here… its an electric tea pot? It plugs into the wall, has coils inside it that heat up REAL FAST and give you hot water in a very short amount of time. An average office or home in Ireland must go through many of these in a lifetime, because it is always plugged in and ready to run. Whenever I want a cup of tea, I go into the kitchen and “check” to see if the water is hot or not, but I should really stop checking it by now; I should just accept that of course it will be hot. BECAUSE ITS ALWAYS BEING USED.
After taking this picture I realized that there is another one of them in here too!
(Probably a back up, in case God forbid, the other one broke.)
Now I consider myself a to be a “tea person”. Mainly because I dont drink coffee. I’m a “Non coffee person”. And because I like tea… In Boston, being a tea person is sort of a niche thing. Especially around the daily coffee drinkers, who surround me with their dark obsession. In Ireland if you are a tea drinker, it’s like “uh you’re not special”. But unlike in Boston, where being a “tea person” means you buy many different flavors and varieties of tea, in Ireland, so far I have only experienced “regular tea”. I dont even know what they mean by “regular tea”, because I am too afraid to ask. Black tea? Maybe.. Lipton? I don’t think so.
“What kind of tea do you want?”
“There´s more than one kind of tea?…What do you have?”
“Let´s see… Blueberry, Raspberry, Ginseng, Sleepytime, Green Tea, Green Tea with Lemon, Green Tea with Lemon and Honey, Liver Disaster, Ginger with Honey, Ginger Without Honey, Vanilla Almond, White Truffle Coconut, Chamomile, Blueberry Chamomile, Decaf Vanilla Walnut, Constant Comment and Earl Grey.”
“I.. Uh…What are you having?… Did you make some of those up?”
― Bryan Lee O’Malley, Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life
I’m sure that I am missing out on the cute cafe or shop here in Dublin, that has millions of tea varieties. But here in the office, I drink Earl Grey, all day, erry-day. As a tea drinker in Boston, I drank a good amount of tea; I especially love me some Earl Grey with Sugar In The Raw in it. Or sometimes I’ll just “raw dog” it if theres no sugar to be had. (“raw dog” in the tea world would equate to “black” in the coffee world)
For the past couple weeks, my tea intake has doubled. I have at least two cups of tea per day. I believe this is because of several factors:
– the mugs here are much smaller than the average mug I would use back home. I’m a BIG mug user. I don’t mean I use mugs a lot, I mean I use big mugs..
– smaller mug = less tea for me = I want more tea = more cups of tea
– smaller mug = different tea bag to water ratio = less diluted tea than I usually consume in my BIG mug..
-THIS in turn leads to a second level of factors I wasn’t considering until I started to feel the affects. CAFFEINE. As I said I like the Ear Grey a lot. Which has caffeine in it. (Plus the sugar I add to it). Multiply that by a small mug with less water, times the sheer amount of cups I have begun to consume, divided by the little amount of sleep I am getting each night, which will still equal a more caffeinated Me.
For those of you who know me and the affect caffeine has on me, don’t worry. This is not like Mountain Dew affects. Its much more subtle. But I do experience a distinct jittery-ness in my limbs brought on by two, back to back cups of concentrated Earl Grey.
ALSO a new factor: apparently my increased intake of caffeine is making me have to pee more often than I already do.
I already have one of the smallest bladders that I know of. (Granted I haven’t met or actually seen my or anyone else’s bladder, but I’m taking a guess here.) I am probably a step above the average annoying girl with a small bladder who has to pee all the time.
I have what I would call a “bladder problem”. And by that I mean, it sucks. I thought about self diagnosing myself with “Incompetent Bladder Syndrome”, but then I realized the acronym is IBS……so yeah, not that one.
Even right now as I am typing this and sipping my tea, I have to pee.
It is really the short amount of time that passes between the frequent bathroom runs that concerns me. It will be like 45 mins later and YUP I have to pee again. How is my body producing this much pee and should I be concerned? Was this too much information to share on my trip to Ireland blog? Probably.
I just dipped that cookie (SORRY BISCUIT) into my tea, trying to be cool like a real tea person. I kept it in there too long and it mushed away and fell on the desk when I took it out…. #teadrinkerfail
So in conclusion, I think I am going to keep my “Tea Drinker” title to myself until I return to Boston.
I LEFT THE APARTMENT YESTERDAY.
I HAD ADVENTURES.
TODAY I AM HUNGOVER AND ONLY LEFT FOR FOOD.
Lets go back. Let’s Tarantino this.
Yesterday. First part. Day. 2pm. I stop moping, get my camera gear, put on a rain jacket (EVEN THO IT WAS SUNNY. I’M IN IRELAND GODDAMNIT), and I leave the apartment.
I head down the street with a vague idea of checking out where the train station is/just walking around to take pictures. Unfortunately I can’t show you any of the pictures I took because I still use film and will have to wait forever to develop them, BUT I of course brought my phone to take lower quality shots as fillers for this blog. And for Instagram obviously…
ANYWAYS. I walk down this street next to the canal near my apartment. Its nice and sunny and grassy and people are walking with their dogs and having fun together. I hate them but I still use them for my photos.
I then continue down the canal across a street to a much different looking area. Unfortunately I don’t have a digital shot of the peaceful green grass next to the canal on the other side to compare, so just imagine JP pond/the Esplanade in miniature. VS this:
It’s not that bad. Just a little graffiti and some barbed wire fences. And dog poop everywhere. It wasn’t like I was walking alone in scary dark alley at 3 in the morning. (Not yet anyways). Also it is a curse of being a photographer, we like decrepit worn down places.
Also I thought that the huge structure in the distance was the train station I was looking for. It wasn’t. I was way off. I later found out it was Croke Park, a giant rugby and football stadium.
So I walk down this pathway near the canal and I see a few men ahead who are looking at something in the water. As I near them, the older gentleman and young boy start to walk away, leaving me nearby a middle aged man wearing a red and white jersey with a torn bandage around his right arm. He begins to say words to me. I saw words because he had the thickest, most grungy accent I have ever heard. Not to mention a mouth full of rotting teeth. I could not understand him. When he began to speak to me I first thought he was asking me if I thought something in the water was a toad. After I said “I’m sorry what?” He replied with “A TOADA, TAOWD, DON’TCH YER NAH WHAT AR TOAD IS??” I then looked towards where he was pointing and saw a circular object floating in the canal. He then starting making gestures with his arms and face, which I eventually understood to mean TURTLE. He believe that there was a turtle in the canal, upside down, in dire need of our help. After more rambling about whether turtles would even be in the canal and an inner debate about going into the canal to save the turtle or not, he looked to me for assurance. Now I was assuming these are the words he was rambling. I can not be sure and definitely missed most of it. I can’t even tell at this point if it is actually a turtle. I thought it was just piece of metal floating in the water but the mans eagerness and potential insanity, started to wear on me to the point where maybe I did see a turtle. Once I had accepted the existence of the turtle however I had to convince the man that the turtle could not be saved as it was surely dead in that position. After more “conversation” the man finally gave up his attempts and walked off in the other direction, while shouting more incoherent words.
Of course my roll of film ran out right before I met this man and I was unable to change it quickly enough to get a proper photo of him, besides one of his profile walking away. This is why I tend to photograph landscapes and houses…
The next person I met along the canal was an older woman walking two small dogs. She stopped me to ask what I was photographing and we began to talk about the reason I was in Ireland. She asked me if I knew anyone here and remember at this point I did not, not to mention that I was in a dangerously lonely state that had just led me to carry out a conversation with a crazed drug addict. So when I answered her question, my sad “No, I don’t” may have been heavier than I meant it to be. I say these things in defense of my sanity, because the next thing this woman did was ask me to her house for tea, to which I obviously replied, yes.
The woman’s name is Maura Beckett and she lives just behind the canal in a terrace house that was built more than 100 years ago. She has lived in many other countries, but now lives alone back in the house she grew up in, which she inherited after her mother died.
Maura was very nice to me, talking to me about her life, the area, and asking me questions about myself. This is a picture of her as she tried to explain the train and buses I could take to my internship. She was slightly forgetful, in a cute older person way, when she would mix up the names of the trains and stations. Maybe she was lonely as well, but either way she was extremely kind and made me feel like a person again, rather than an English speaking hermit. She told me later that the area by the canal that I had been walking in was known to be populated by drug addicts. She was worried for my safety and for my camera, which is why she asked me to tea and hurried us away from the canal. I’m not sure how much danger I was actually in at 2 in the afternoon, but the sentiment was sweet nonetheless.
After tea and talking for almost two hours, Maura decided she was going to chaufer me around the city centre. I know that from an outside perspective, the idea of going to a stranger’s house for tea and then getting in their car to drive around a strange city doesn’t sound like the smartest decision to make. But I think sometimes you just have to trust people and after five minutes with Maura I knew I hadn’t made a bad decision.
After my driving tour, Maura took me to the Natural Botanic Gardens right near my apartment, gave me her phone number and told me to call in case I ever needed help. She even invited me to the neighborhood block party they’re having in two weeks, so maybe I’ll go to that.
All in all it was a very surprising day and I’m very glad I left the apartment.
And of course I ended back at Smith’s..
End of Part 1.