Sometimes a situation seems golden, like I’d be sitting in the catbird seat as the expression goes. So it was when I signed up for the French Literature Class at the university many years ago. It’s a situation I think back on while sipping my tea. And chuckle at my misjudging of the situation!
The goal in university, contrary to common perceptions, is to get high grades, and not necessarily by studying hard and learning anything. (Just as getting ahead in a job doesn’t always result from being good at it but by knowing with whom you need to be on good terms.) I had a plan on how to get high grades without working too hard. Here’s how it was basically supposed to work:
- The professor of the French Lit class was Irish and had an affinity for all things Irish.
- My middle name is Irish.
- Ergo, I would have a leg up due to my Irish name.
There is a saying about the best laid plans. It sure applied here. Sigh! My middle name was trumped by another female student in the class named “Kathleen” —a name that the Irish seem to hold in high regard (it can be sort of hypnotic like the Pied Piper’s song that led all the rats and then the children out of the village). And she spoke French better than I did. I ended up studying my butt off to get that “A.”
When it comes to tea, some folks think they have that golden situation where they grew up in a family that drank tea daily. While this experience certainly gives them a good exposure to tea, it may not help them when they want to expand their tea knowledge. If you grew up thinking that tea only came as dust in bags with strings and tags attached and that you steep it in a mug or small teapot, you might really have to shake yourself out of that comfort zone and work a bit harder to expand your tea tastes. You might also find yourself being unwittingly drawn down the colorful but deceiving road of the highly flavored teas where you have no chance to develop “tea tastebuds.”
You may have to do more research to go beyond the stale bagged tea or highly flavored tea taste profile that you grew up with. I’ve been there. It’s a tough climb.
So, what can you do? Just as I buckled down for French Lit and did my homework, you can do yours. That means reading up on tea, trying different teas, attending tea tastings at local tea shops, and possibly attending a tea conference or seminar. As you train your brain, you also train your taste, developing your tea tasting talent.
Bottom line: nothing beats talent and knowledge.
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