Tag Archives: friends

A Tea House on Los Rios Moment

Is there anything better than sharing afternoon tea with dear friends?

It’s been 10 years since Gene and I relocated from Boise, Idaho to Southern California with nothing but two cars stuffed full of our belongings. We could never have dared to hope for the life, opportunities and friendships that this adventure would lead us to.

These were my thoughts as I met two of my dearest friends for afternoon tea at one of my favorite local tea spots in southern California, The Tea House on Los Rios. I couldn’t believe that in the nearly 8 years I’ve known S and 6 years I’ve known B, I had not yet exposed them to this gem!

These are the women who have known all the ups and downs of my work life, pursuits of dreams and hobbies, and most important, my foray into motherhood. With 5 children between the two of them, they were my adoptive sisters who cheered me along the way, giving the best advice anyone ever told me, “Do what works to keep your sanity.” There were and are days when that mantra has helped me keep my marbles.

So here we were, on a Saturday no less, getting together for tea and conversation. While we once all worked together and lunched together weekly, we are now strewn across the length of Orange County, so these moments are even more rare and precious.

It was a chilly Saturday, but we sat on the wrap around porch and admired the blooming flowers, sipped pomegranate mimosas, enjoyed our current scones with jam and clotted cream, nibbled on our tiny sandwiches, and of course, drank copious amounts of tea. (I always go for the Los Rios Tea with a pot of Queen Catherine blend)

The tea, as always, was excellent. The food was delicious. But the friends… They were, and are, the best part of the moment.

The Tea House on Los Rios
31731 Los Rios
Los Rios Historic District
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Open 11:00 am -5:00 pm Wed thru Fri
Sat & Sun 9:30 am-5:00 pm
Closed Monday and Tuesday
Reservations Recommended
(949) 443-3914

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A Toulouse Tea Moment

The year I turned 21, I went on an exchange program to Pau, France. With every intention of immersing myself in the French language and culture, I soon fell into the expected rut of hanging out with those most like myself – at least most like my nationality. I spent all hours of the day and night with Americans. A motley crew, to say the least. A hippie, a scholar, an angst-ridden socialist, a newly divorced and experimenting homosexual, a small town cheerleader, an anarchist, a hairdresser, a cross country runner, a white girl who preferred dating black men, … and here I was. A white bread goody-two-shoes from Boise who knew nothing but church, family, and a whole lot of conservative status quo.

My semester with this lot gave me an infinitely richer education than my Bachelor and Master degrees combined. I learned what it meant to be open-minded, to appreciate people for who they were, and the gifts and talents they each brought to the table. I learned about living in community – of filling in the gaps for a friend when necessary and having confidence they would do the same for me in my times of need. I was introduced to foods and beverages, card games and books I never would have found on my own, and they in turn were introduced to me and my quirks – namely my penchant for tea (and red wine, as it turned out).

On one overnight excursion toward the end of the semester, a trip set just for the American students, we went to Toulouse and Carcassonne. At lunch before the journey back to Pau, we all sat together, trying to translate American pop songs into French (we had crashed a karaoke bar the night before). As we sat at the end of meal with our cups of tea, we ended with, “Stop in the Name of Love,” (or, “Arret a la nom d’amour”) as captured here.

Stop! In the Name of Love

Stop! In the Name of Love

My heart was breaking as I anticipated the end of the semester and facing the world without these comrades, and yet my cup overflowed knowing I had changed because of them. For the better.

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