Interning in London was the experience of a lifetime! The group of students I was traveling with was afforded a little time to do some amazing sight-seeing, museum-visiting, and out-of-town "field trips," but really, our time there was so short and so packed full of work and school, there was barely a moment for anything else. We had to keep up with two weekly courses as well as a full-time unpaid internship. I had friends e-mailing me questions like "How are the clubs?" "Are British guys really as sexy as they sound?" and "What are pubs like?" Honestly, I could never answer any of these, because I didn't have any time for that kind of socialization! I didn't even have time to relax, I didn't read a single book (for pleasure) while I was there, although the ones I brought with the intention to read brought me dangerously close to the luggage weight limit on the return flight to D.C.
The one thing busy Londoners always have time for is Tea. And it's not just at "tea time" (about 4 in the afternoon, in case you're interested), noooo. Tea is an all-day thing, and as a temporary Londoner, I became an avid tea-drinker. It became the choice to get me going in the morning and once at work. It kept me going all through the early hours, and then I'd have another cup at lunch. One or two more in the afternoon made the day complete, and the funny thing is I never had to make a cup for myself! I was certain that as the intern, making tea would be a staple of my daily tasks, as the infamous task of making coffee is to interns in America. But the design firm's admin assistant, Katy, kept the tea coming all day long. She didn't even ask if anyone would like tea, she just intermittently deposited a full, hot mug every hour or so, intuitively prepared to the drinker's taste.
Once home, I had become to used to drinking tea instead of coffee that the return to Starbucks has been a slow, uncommitted one. Every week or so when I have to open the store at 6 am, the nearby coffee shop calls to me, but usually nowadays I lean more toward the tea kettle than the coffee pot. The tea I drank at Charas didn't taste like tea the way I'd prepared it in the past, and I was sure it was because the British tea, PG Tips, (stocked in boxes of 1600 satchels in the Charas kitchen) had a different taste, and beside I was practically forced to drink it with milk. I was prepared to purchase PG Tips tea online, but I found the brand at World Market and have been drinking it (with milk) ever since. But somehow, I just can't make it the way Katy did.