By: Jody Park
September is here. To be more specific, this is my second September on PEI. I first arrived on PEI on September 23rd in 2017 to learn English for 6 months. I did not realize that I would be spending a second September on PEI, but I ended up coming back to PEI to study Business Administration at the University of Prince Edward Island. September has become a special month for starting big adventures!
My first September on PEI was quite tough for me. Everything was different from Korea: the people, language, culture and even the food. The language barrier was the hardest thing for me at the time. My English was not as good as it is now. I could not always understand what people were saying, and it was hard to express what I thought. But luckily I met the most amazing people I have ever met on PEI while I was learning English. Not only did I learn English from them but I also realized how much potential I have. I am thankful to them all from bottom of my heart.
My English teacher Ariana is one of the people I really appreciate. She taught me a lot of things about academic writing in English and made me fall in love with chatting with people over a cup of tea. She used to take her class to cafés when someone was graduating from her class. The other day we went to Leonhard’s Café for someone’s farewell. She ordered one of Lady Baker’s teas and recommended that I try it. Honestly, I did not think the tea would be tasty but after I sipped Lady’s slipper carefully, I was proven wrong. I had thought that tea is boring and old-fashioned but it was totally not. I still remember the wonderful harmony of the smell and taste of the tea and the story we talked about. That day I realized that drinking tea could connect one person to another and make people’s hearts warmer from bottom to top.
I also found out that it is nice to drink tea when I spend time alone. Since I came back to PEI, I have been spending a lot of time alone to reflect on where I came from and where I am going, and get ready before another long journey begins. I have been a little concerned that my second September on PEI might be much harder than the first. Studying abroad is such a wonderful experience, but I have been worried that pursuing higher education in a language that is not my first would be difficult. I was not feeling confident in my ability to face a lot of the obstacles ahead and get through all of them. These thoughts made me anxious and kept me awake at night. I genuinely wanted to be more relaxed and keep calm so one day I drank coffee to change my mood, but the caffeine in the coffee made me jittery. After that I wondered what it would be like to drink tea instead of coffee, so I looked for some teas to help me relax. I talked about it with Katherine, who is one of the warm-hearted people I have met on PEI, and the owner of Lady Baker’s Tea, and she recommended that I try some herbal teas such as To Market To Market and Abegweit Lullaby.
Katherine's recommendations totally hit the spot. To Market To Market helped me to concentrate when I was organizing my plans, thoughts and feelings. I got stressed while I was sitting in front of desk for a long time but sweet fruity aroma and taste of rose in the tea put me in a good mood. Abegweit Lullaby reminded me of me my mother humming lullabies to me when I was little. Whenever I had a nightmare, I cuddled up to mom and she hummed to me. Within a few minutes I would fall asleep. Abegweit Lullaby has helped me sleep as soundly as I did when my mom hummed to me. The chamomile flowers calm my mind and the peppermint clears all the emotions that have built up through the day before getting into bed. Surprisingly, it is also a good tea to start my day with in the morning. It goes well with Ham & Cheese on toast for breakfast and clears my mind before heading into a new day. I think Abegweit Lullaby is going to be another favorite of mine, along with Lady’s Slipper. Both are comforting teas as we move through September and into the fall.
I know that taking a first step into something new is not always easy. But now I know I can take a break when I need to with a cup of tea to calm my mind. This will help me with my first steps and eventually I will get through all the obstacles in my path just like I did last September. I look forward to drinking tea alone in my room and with friends at The Fox & Crow at UPEI. Cheers to my second September on PEI, and to all new students who are starting their first semester at university or college this fall.