Do you believe in destiny? I definitely do. In June 2008, I was on a visit to Bozeman, Montana for my son’s 11th birthday. Evan and I were returning to our hotel room after a fun-filled day when I caught a glimpse of a beautiful young woman with dark hair. My heart started to race and I felt compelled to say something or at least make a connection. Like an excited young school boy, I yelled from my car to get her attention. She turned, with an aggravated look on her face. “What!?” Then she walked away and I felt my heart drop. My son, in a role reversal of the best kind, said, “Dad, you can’t just talk to people you don’t know.” I looked at him and smiled, trying not to show my disappointment.
Summertime in Montana can be breathtaking. A couple of days later, I was standing at the door of our room admiring the view; just then, the same beautiful woman reappeared. This time I was more careful about my approach. Although my heart was racing again, I remained calm. Before I knew it, we were conversing and it immediately became obvious that she was not American. In fact, Kateryna was from the Ukraine. Minutes turned into hours and once we parted, we continued our conversation via email. Later Kateryna visited me for a few days in L.A.; they were some of the best days of my life.
When Kateryna returned to the Ukraine, we set up a Skype account with a web cam so we could see and hear each other. There is a ten-hour time difference, so we usually spoke once in the morning and once late at night, which is her morning. One of the first things I noticed was that no matter what time of day it was she usually had two things by her side, chocolate and a steaming cup. One night I asked her if she ever had problems sleeping with all the caffeine? “It’s not coffee, it’s tea,” she said, explaining that she preferred tea over the strong coffee they have in the Ukraine. Now, when we talk, I usually have a sweet and spicy tea and she enjoys a green or black one.
As I write this, I am visiting Kateryna in the Ukraine. I brought a variety of teas from America for her to compare with the teas in the Ukraine. Her mother sent some wild raspberries that she picked from the countryside for me to try on my visit. Kateryna’s family is from Derazhnia, which is about 500 miles west of Kiev, the Ukrainian capitol. Many families go on weekly trips to the countryside to pick wild herbs and berries, which are virtually chemical- and pesticide-free. Yesterday we were on our way to her home town from Kiev and stopped on the way to have a quick bite at a Korean restaurant. Along with the meal, we enjoyed some rice tea. The tea had a great flavor and the teapot was glass so you could see the rice floating in the pot. During a short walk after the meal, I mentioned to Kateryna that I felt as if I were walking on air. Whether it was the tea or love or perhaps both, I felt wonderful. We have had tea together everyday since I have been here. We plan on getting married and having a family together. I am absolutely positive that our children will be avid tea drinkers.