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Pittsburgh Parenting Blog by Sewickley Academy

Sewickley Academy's Private School Blog

This I Believe: "A Strong Cup of the Extraordinary"


Modeled after public radio's "This I Believe" series, Sewickley Academy seniors share what they believe in as the final project of their Senior Seminar course.

"A Strong Cup of the Extraordinary" by Elizabeth

Elizabeth has attended Sewickley Academy since pre-k. She’s an avid reader with an affinity for drinking tea and watching ice hockey. She enjoys traveling and learning about different cultures by meeting new people, especially through homestays. She will attend Case Western Reserve University in the fall and major in chemical engineering. The most important thing in her life is her family; they have taught her all the things that aren’t taught in a classroom but are essential to life: the power of a genuine smile, the strength of a sincere apology, and the capabilities of unwavering faith.


Below is the podcast's transcription:

I believe in tea. Chamomile, peppermint, herbal. White, green, black. My personal favorite is a blend of different black teas my mom orders from Ireland. I drink two cups of this tea a day. When complemented with just the right amount of milk and sugar, the tea is the perfect blend of Southeast Asian leaves and sweetness. In the morning before school, I wake up a little earlier than necessary so that I’ll have time to brew a cup and actually enjoy drinking it. In the evening, especially on weeknights after a long day of school, I don’t feel relaxed until I have a warm mug cradled in my hands.

Tea has always been important to me. I didn’t realize why until the summer between my sophomore and junior years. It was late June, and I was preparing to spend six weeks on an exchange in Australia living with a family I had never met before. Everything was going to be completely new: a new family, hemisphere, countless new experiences. I finalized my packing list, making sure I had all the essentials: plenty of shoes, jeans, books, and stuffed animals. The last thing I stuck in my suitcase was a Ziploc bag full of Irish tea bags. I realized my dependence on the tea was based on something more than just caffeine content. I feel safe when I drink it. I feel comforted. Even halfway across the globe, I had a piece of home, a piece of something familiar. My morning and evening ritual, usually performed while in my cozy house in the company of my parents and four siblings, was constant even in a land 9,599 miles away. In the tea bag, there weren’t just leaves: there were slivers of winter mornings drinking tea with my mom; fragments of nights with my sisters, laughing until we cried, as we drank our tea around the table. There were even broken pieces of nights curled under a blanket when my only comfort was the warm mug held between my fingers. I believe that tea is a constant in a world full of unknowns, a comfort in a world full of heartbreak, a healer in a world full of disease.

I believe in savoring the simple act of drinking tea, in taking something ordinary and seeing the extraordinary in it. Something as ordinary as the rotation of the Earth is extraordinary in its brilliantly colorful sunrise on a summer morning, or a crimson sunset in the evening. Tea is my brilliant sunrise and sunset. No matter what happens, the sun will always rise and fall. No matter what happens, I will always be drinking my tea.

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Topics: This I Believe

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