Jasmine Tea

I recently had jasmine tea again.  As I took in the aroma and that first hot sip, I realized, it was not for me.  It wasn’t the flavor ~ I liked the flavor.  A lot.  I loved the floral aroma and light taste.  It wasn’t the flavor itself, it was the memories entwined with that flowery tea.

The first time I had jasmine tea was in San Francisco.  I was in my 20’s.  I was there with a friend, a man that agreed we should “get to know each other, and see where this goes.”  We were hailed in from the streets of Chinatown by a woman, sat at an outdoor bar, and offered all kinds of different teas, back to back.  I was having so much fun drinking those teas, hearing about them, tiny cup after tiny cup.  Some I enjoyed, others I found too bitter or strong.  But the one that stood out the most for me was jasmine tea.

I said as much and the lady offered a big container of the tea, which was curled up into pearls.  It was expensive, but my friend kindly offered to pay.

So I had this sizable amount of the jasmine tea pearls, which I would drink the entire time I lived in California.  I had it as I explored the city of Los Angeles.  I had it when I went to Santa Monica beach.  I had it when I went to Valencia, Long Beach, and San Diego.

I had the tea as I dyed my hair pink and orange.  I had the tea as I went to college.  I had the tea as I struggled with sobriety and reached it, wrote and published my first short story, learned to dance to the beat of my own drum.  I had the tea as I stayed up late watching SNL (seasons 36 and 37, the only good seasons in my opinion…).  I had the tea as I journaled endlessly while reruns of The Office ran in the background.

I had the tea as I visited bookstores, giant malls, and museums.  I had the tea as I went to a Dodgers game, went to movies, went to Mexican markets.  I had the tea as I tried new restaurants and fashion styles and manga and music and comics.  I had the tea as I learned to sew, cook, and make jewelry (among a plethora of other hobbies!).  I had so much of that tea.  And I loved it.

After all of that, the tea ran out. It came time to say goodbye ~ not just to the tea, but to that friend, because we saw “where it went” and it was nowhere. It was time to say goodbye to the city, to the beaches, to the palm trees and wonderful weather.  It was time for me to move on.

And like a chapter… no, no, no, more like a book… Like a book, that part of my life was closed.  That was 12 years ago.

So… fast forward 12 years.  Today.

I had jasmine tea again.

And it reminded me of that 28 year old I used to be ~ quite youthful, and I would say a bit immature as well.  Wide-eyed, taking in the giant city, giant mountains, giant state of California.  Determined ~ to sober up, to get an education, to learn new things.  Open to trying new foods, new places, new art.  Having taken a stab at love, even though it never sparked and fizzled out before it could even start.  Twenty eight and super into the cringiest slam poetry, feeling like I was living life for the first time, a late bloomer smelling of jasmine tea.

Today, I prefer apple cinnamon 😊

Yari, the ✿ Lovely Panda Mom ✿

Thank you so much for reading!


  1. Yari, thanks for the good post and fun photos! Speaking of food memories, I can’t stand the sight of Veal Parmesan after getting sick on it at a restaurant 56 years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally thought this post originally was going to be a jasmine tea review, and then as I kept reading, I realized I was in for way more of a bigger treat than I thought!! Instead, I got to read a beautifully-written memoir with some amazing photos, to boot! It was such a treat to see your lovely self in all of these photos, and it was actually very nostalgic for me to see because I’ve been to many of the places you visited (I live in central California), so it made me say, “Oooh, I remember that place!” Thanks for the time capsule and the way you wrote it was so bittersweet and captivating…if it were a book, it’d be a real page turner! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

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