“Quieres un te” I mumble to Ama, Abuela and Abuelo who are sleepily slumped in front of an afternoon ‘tele novella’. “Si” says Ama struggling to keep her eyes open, and Abuela “y tu tambien” or something along those lines which I know means “me too”. Unsure they understand I am offering them the ‘Twinings’ mulled spiced tea I brought in the Duty free on our way here, which promises “Rich and aromatic Christmas spices” I run to the kitchen to grab the box and another to compare. “te de normal or tea de Navidad?” I spanglishly announce again where upon I am surprised that yes, both Ama and Abuela want the strange christmas tea.
I fumble in the kitchen to find teacups and saucers, excited to share something of my english tea drinking culture (of which I myself have only just discovered in the past few years). I use the electric kettle, a rare appliance to find in a spanish kitchen, to boil up some water (albeit slowly!).
I present the tea without milk (advised by Jon that they wont want it) and with a pot of sugar, but offer the milk anyway as the tea box itself states it needs ‘a good splash of milk and some sugar to bring out the spicy flavours’. ‘No’ to the milk.
I perch on the end of an already crowded sofa in anticipation of the event.
Abuela is first to try, and the sour look on her face said it all, she did not like it one bit and passed the rest to Ama, who drank it all quickly and said it was ‘muy rico’ (yummy)…….Ama adds some sugar to the other teacup and says something with the word “beber” to Aubelo, I am secretly glad he is going to try it, I like his opinions on the worlds goods. He tries to stir the tea but is obviously not used to teabags as it’s string get caught around the spoon, Ama removes the teabag.
Eventually he tries it, I understand “not enough sugar” and Ama tuts, I think because he has health problems, she grudgingly adds another spoon of sugar, He takes no notice for a while. I try to understand the annoyingly dramatic soap but still watch Abuelo out the corner of my eye. After a while Ama’s eyes begin to close, Abuelo takes his chance, grabs the sugar pot, roughly dumps three extra sugars into the tea and smiles as he downs the sweet beverage.
I secretly smile and carry on drinking my warm, spicy, milky tea….
tastes like home.