Header for Courtney’s weekly tea
An illustrated purple gaiwan filled with amber liquid
the weekly tea
from white2tea
weekly tea: cockscomb
This tea comes to you from my parents’ home in Seattle, where I am currently because my dad (drum roll) broke his ankle so badly that the surgery (which went fine!) involved six separate screws being inserted to put it back together again. So I went out for a week to help my parents.
So here is something I don’t think I’ve mentioned here before: tea is not something I share with my parents. For religious reasons, they don’t drink anything except herbal teas. (Despite this, my mom always kept a box of Lipton teabags in the house: tea helps stop bleeding and it was part of her home-remedy avoid-seeing-doctors lifehacking.) (This may give you a certain impression of my mother, and you’re not exactly wrong: she has never met a placebo that she doesn’t love. But her fear of doctors is based on a specific incident which is so far beyond the scope of what I can fit in this particular newsletter that I feel badly mentioning it.)
So the first time I had tea was in my twenties, and it was probably something Lipton-like. I did not particularly enjoy it, but I love a challenge. It took me years of trying teas to begin to like the taste of actual tea. It took me more years to realize that I had brewing preferences and that I was allowed to ignore the directions that said “steep 3-5 minutes” if I didn’t like tea that had been steeped for three to five minutes. It took me a decade beyond that to realize that the way I liked to drink tea was actually very common in the East, and I was not a freak because I thought tea should be steeped for very short spaces of time.
Since then that I’ve begun to really, truly go down the tea rabbit hole. Tea is an adventure, and it’s one I’ve had to discover all on my own.
So anyway, on to this particular tea: cockscomb is a rock oolong, but it’s an atypical rock oolong. There is that characteristic mineral taste, but it’s somewhat muted, leaving the charcoal roast of the tea to play more prominently. It has a bright body and a delicate aftertaste, and—most importantly—it feels chock full of the good tea chemicals: antioxidants, gamma alpha butyric acid, L-theanine… who even knows everything?
Despite the caffeine in tea, I find it to have a calming effect. I tend to have tea in the afternoons, rather than the mornings, too—there’s something about the heat and the chemicals that lets me process what I’ve managed in the day so far and then put it down and move on to the next thing. 
Tea is an extraordinary experience, and mostly, I feel sorry for people who can’t share in it.
(Per popular demand, I will be trying to remember to explicitly link to the teas I talk about here.)

Cockscomb is a rock oolong from white2tea.

A note about parents…
As you can imagine from the preface up there, it has Been a Week. Dad’s surgery was yesterday; my mom and I spent hours in the hospital (where I did work and she fell asleep because she hadn’t been able to sleep at all the night before).
My mom is legally blind, and so part of what I’ve been doing out here is caring for her (and my dad) in all the ways that my dad would have before: taking her on walks, cleaning up glass from where they dropped a dish… that sort of thing.
The older I get, the better I understand my parents. In large part, this is because I understand myself better. Much of my frustration when I was younger stemmed from the fact that they did things that did not seem rational, and in searching for a rationale, I often assumed motivations. Now that I am older, it is much easier to understand that Mom did not forget things on purpose; she forgot because she is forgetful, and I know this because I can look at myself and say “yup, checks out, indeed I am my mother’s daughter, and it turns out that having children does not change your brain chemistry, good to know.”
I can also look at my parents and see who they are and where they came from. Not to put too much about them in here, but neither of them came from what we would generally call “good” homes. My mom’s mother got sick when she was a baby, and her older sisters blamed her for her death. Her sisters told her she was stupid and renamed her “Saddia” because they said the name “Gloria” was too nice. 
My dad cannot remember his childhood. He has instead pieced it together from other places; what I’ve heard is pretty awful.
There were a lot of things my parents didn’t do right, but the one thing I can tell about my parents is that they tried. They have always tried. They have not always known what to try, but they have tried. (My parents’ religion has caused tension between us. As an adult, I now understand why it would appeal to them to be given clear rules that they could follow, and if they did, they would be loved.)
I do not think they have stopped trying.
There are a lot of things, I think, that parents can give children, but the greatest gift my parents gave me was the love they never had. 
The second greatest gift my parents gave me was the ability to not fear the unknown—to try new things.
My dad had not been in great spirits before his surgery. It was not anything obvious, but my dad is usually very cheerful and he…wasn’t. But I think that now that his doctor has declared the surgery successful, he’s feeling more update. This morning, my dad told he had begun to think of his broken bone as an adventure: how much could he do from his knee rover? What would he learn about posture and gait when he started going to physical therapist? It was a challenge, and he loves a challenge.
I heard this and thought: ah, right. That sounds familiar. 
Maybe I did get tea from my parents after all.

Until next week!
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