By Alexandra Sorensen
I always knew that I was going to move away to Toronto to pursue a singing career. What I didn’t know was how much I would miss home when I did. Growing up, my mom and I connected over tea, making a cup every morning and always drinking it together. Tea was a tradition in our household and something that always brought us together. As a kid, I wanted to try tea to be like my mom, but as a young adult it was a way for the two of us to have a little bit of time together in the morning before a busy day of work and school, even if it was just for a moment.
When packing for my move to Toronto, one thing was non-negotiable – I needed to bring a big bag of Lady Baker’s Willow’s Dream tea with me when I went. Even years before I planned on moving away, I would always mention to my parents that they would have to send me lots of Lady Baker’s Tea when I did (there’s nothing better). When I got into the Masters of Opera program at UofT, I was so grateful and thrilled, but I was also terrified to start this new adventure away from my friends and family on PEI. I was very lucky to have my mom come to Toronto with me to help me with the move, and she even snuck in some other Lady Baker’s teas in her carry on so I could have them with me. She was insistent upon finding a kettle the first day we got here so that we could have the comfort of tea, setting up a station in my kitchen within hours of being in Toronto.
That tea did provide comfort. For my mom while she helped her daughter unpack all of her belongings into an apartment in a different province, and for me after she left. For the first few days after my mom had flown back home and I was waiting for my boyfriend to arrive in Toronto, I was honestly very sad and lonely. I was in a little apartment alone in a big city that was barely furnished and full of boxes of furniture I couldn’t put together on my own. In those lonely days, I turned to tea not just for enjoyment, but for comfort as well. The comfort of home. I would make a cup of Scottish breakfast in the morning just like my mom would, and then sip on cups of Willow’s Dream throughout the rest of the day. Doing this truly brought me a lot of warmth and comfort. While I can’t say that tea completely saved me from homesickness, it has been a way for me to still feel connected to home. Moving away is scary. Starting a new program at a new school is scary. I was taking a huge leap. What has made it worse this past week has been seeing the devastation of the hurricane back home from afar and wishing I could be there for all of my friends and family. But knowing I can always start off my day with a hot cup of tea calms me a little, as I am sure it is doing for others right now back home, so thank you Lady Baker’s Tea!