"Drink Tea and Everything Will Be Okay"
Over one decade ago, I faced my fears and traveled to live in a different country. There I studied and pushed my boundaries within an artists’ heart and soul. The awakening of the journey continued to unfold years after the experience. Still to this day, I hold memories from this excursion inside of me as well as trinkets I collected and brought back home with me. One of the pieces happens to be a gift from the ANGELS that helped to look after us while we were there. I call them Angels because they looked over us but more-so guided us in a land so far away from our own: giving us directions but also pairing it up with a story about the road; and helping us find an answer but only through asking us the same question in return-- what did we feel about it? Two of the Angels in particular will never be forgotten and always remembered for their compassion and open-mindedness to guide a young, naive American girl unbeknownst to the great magnitude of what was in fact a journey that would last a lifetime in memory.
In our parting moments and our bittersweet goodbyes (more so accepting that we may never see each other in person again) they handed each of us a gift to be remembered by. Hand-selected by Angels to represent what they thought about us, as well. My unique gift was a refrigerator magnet—what a perfect gift! Something easy and light to carry home on a plane ride across the world and something to keep in the kitchen. One of the most important rooms in a (Russian) home. The place to gather health, where conversations are created and built upon, a room where family gathers. The message however was written in Russian language and in the form of a saying:
"Can you translate this for me?" I asked the Angel. She read it carefully and studied it before answering. (Of course, sometimes sentences do not translate perfectly to English especially when they are a saying of sorts that pertain to a particular culture’s nuances. Whatever she told me, the Angel wanted to make sure I understood.) It says, “Drink tea and everything will be okay.” She half-smiles/smirks at me. (To get any kind of a smile out of them was a gift to hold within itself. It means they appreciate you. Their smiles were always genuine.)
I repeat her, “Drink tea and everthing will be okay...?” “Yes,” she answers, “just drink the tea, all will be okay with you.” I thanked her and realized that's going to take some time to wrap my mind around! What's the big deal with tea, anyway. Either way, I adored it immediately. I held the small token in my hand before tucking it away in my daily book bag where I was holding other special items that would for sure be coming with me on my trip home. For many years this magnet placed on my fridge-- sometimes in the front or the side out of view, but always there. Ever since the moment I was settled in my new home post-Moscow it came with me, too. Over the years, I have repeated to myself, “Drink tea and everything will be okay!” Then, I remember to make some tea! There is wisdom in this message and I better keep it to heart, for them at least.
In the year of 2020, how many times a day I must think—what to feel in this situation? 2020 self on high-alert. Basically, a year of time-- what do I reflect upon? My mind continues to jump from one tab to the next—head to the kitchen. I end up in front of the fridge, I see the message, “Drink tea and everything will be ok.” Sometimes I listened and sometimes I didn’t. The times I did follow-through were times that I was astonished, “It really does work. What is this magic!” Something about the warmth of the tea is calming and so is the act of drinking it. However, mostly for me it’s the healing that comes from a purposeful moment of stillness. You can’t drink the tea too fast or else you will burn your tongue, too slow and the warmth will fade. The last time I had this moment of reflection through tea I was struck with a strange question about the magnet. I run to the fridge reading and asking, “What is the actual translation, again? In all these years I've always translated it the same way in my imagination: Drink tea and everything will be okay. I never once checked it out for myself. As the Angels would always encourage- what did I think?”
Out of curiosity, I decided to utilize technology and test for any alternate results using google translate, to which came some hilarious outcomes. In true Russian fashion I must also sprinkle a little humor to this very serious proverb. Well, I took it so seriously myself all these years-- lighten up it’s just a magnet! A magnet nonetheless but with powers to heal through not only the message itself but the deeply-rooted memories attached. Now, it provides me the gift of a genuine smile more than a decade later.