Everyone has their own pandemic heartbreak story. Weddings, graduations, and birthday parties — all on hold for now. Even the smallest get-togethers or casual dinners out seem like hazy memories from some other reality, as all current community is one of togetherness in isolation and uncertainty.

My father, who is 85 years old, & yesterday he rode his motorcycle around the small streets in Hanoi where he was born and raised to see for himself his terrifyingly quiet Hanoi.

But then, when he came back home, then posted a few photos on his Facebook page sharing with his friends, drinking a cup of Cozy strawberry tea, the sadness seemed to disappear & throw through his window.

From my grandmother, my father – old Hanoians, I learned how they drank tea to relieve stress while seeking peace in their souls.

In times of crisis, tea can be more than just a restorative drink; the simple preparation and, if possible, sharing of tea are reminders of the peace and normalcy that will return once we make it through. The Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh said: “Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves — slowly, evenly, without rushing towards the future. Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.”

In that spirit, let’s bring a moment of calm and self-soothing to our current situation. Brew yourself a really good cup of tea, hopefully, with leaves from one of our local purveyors, some of whom are still selling their fine teas to-go, online for pickup, or wholesale at local grocery stores. Take comfort in the process — boil, steep, prepare — and if you’re unsure of any steps, learn and practice them. Then breathe in and focus on the slow, simple, ancient pleasure of a cup of tea, and reflect with fondness on the separated friends, family, and loved ones around the world taking solace in the same. If ever it was time for tea, it’s now.