Thursday, August 19, 2010

observations on a new friend

I’ve mentioned my recent detox efforts a few times; something that has become an unfortunately expensive part of those efforts is my daily matcha from Cups & Chairs.  I can’t seem to stop myself from going, though, so I have reduced my spending in other areas so I don’t feel so bad about spending over $3 a day for tea.  One of the reasons I continually make my morning stop in there is that I have noticed my matcha tea habit seems to be calming me down and making me feel lighter.  I didn’t realize quite how agro coffee had been making me until I gave it a few days off, but now I let things go much more easily.  Although it’s still a struggle to go to work sometimes, I don’t waste the whole time getting there being in a bad mood.  Even when something annoys me, it doesn’t stay with me as long, which is a fantastic way to cut down on my road rage during my 30-mile, hour-long commute each morning.

I have been thinking my change in demeanor was due to the tea, and in some ways it probably is, but there is something else: The daily conversations with Kylie while she prepares the tea.  She is always ready to smile and exudes peacefulness.  I have wondered from the beginning if she is saying some kind of prayer during the preparation of the tea, some way of infusing it further with goodness and happiness.  Regardless, just the conversation slows me down and gives me a better start to my day than pouring coffee into a travel mug and having all that extra solitude to be grouchy.

Another thing that completely eluded me until this morning’s matcha fix reminded me how ignorant I can be at times to other people’s culture.  Something I was already aware of, but that I had forgotten, is that in a lot of Asian cultures, respect is shown to a person (in situations where money changes hands) by handing the money to the other person (or accepting it) with two hands and a small bow.  I already knew this, but somehow have completely missed that Kylie does this every time I carelessly hand her my money with one hand, while the other hand holds my wallet and/or keys.  Ironically, I started thinking about this while she was ceremoniously preparing my tea, but I still handed her my bills with one hand, feeling only slightly uncouth when she bowed almost imperceptibly and accepted the bills with both of her hands.  I really felt like a jerk when I realized she was trying to figure out a way to give me my coins with both of her hands, while I stood there, boorishly, with my one hand cupped to receive my change.

Tomorrow, I will go in prepared to show her the same respect she has shown me.

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