Despite the fact that I’ve been the Managing Editor for T Ching for almost two years, I never had the opportunity to attend one of the many amazing tea festivals that take place every year. Instead, I have had to settle for reading about them in posts by some of our incredibly talented writers. This finally changed in July when my husband and I went to the Portland Tea Festival!

Our very first stop was to find the T Ching and International Tea Sippers Society booth, where I finally got to meet my “boss”, Babette Donaldson, for the first time! She gifted each of us a cute little “Sip For Peace” tea cup, then indicated the handout and banner that I had created for the 2018 T Ching Writers Contest. (There’s always something special about seeing the tangible final product.) She pointed out that our contributing author Kei Nishida was in her “neighbor” booth and then urged us to go and explore the festival.

I wandered over to patiently stand in the short line at the Japanese Green Tea booth then introduced myself to Kei. Since our writers are located all over the world, all communication is done via email. As a result, not only had I never met him before – it was also my first time meeting any of our authors face-to-face! Then, after a final wave to Babette, my hubby and I set out to experience the festival.

We saw a huge variety of products, chatted with numerous vendors, asked a lot of questions, and of course – sampled some amazing tea! My husband isn’t much of a tea drinker, so our enjoyment was very different. I got to introduce him to many new things; including cold-brewed green tea — which he really liked, despite the fact that he has never cared for green tea — and gongfu tea preparation. He, in turn, watched in amused bemusement (or bemused amusement?) as I asked the vendors technical questions. We had a snack of steam buns and almond cookies, and bought some things from the used china booth (all items were donated and the proceeds go to the tea fest).

As the event wound down, we returned to our starting point to make our goodbyes to Babette. When we arrived at her booth, my husband immediately saw how exhausted she was and offered our assistance in breaking down and packing up her booth. In short order, we got everything boxed and my husband had it loaded in her car. We said our goodbyes, that we were glad to finally meet, and agreed to meet again at the end of September for the NW Tea Festival in Seattle!

( Edit, April 5, 2020: I struggle a bit with this and many other of the posts I have written for T Ching over the last couple years. You see, despite the cheerful tone of this post, there was a darkness that I was hiding – even from myself. My husband was actually treating me terribly, not least of which included cheating on me. When we were at the Portland Tea Festival, my husband took a selfie of the two of us, smiling and looking happy. I wanted to include it in this post, yet when I was writing it he had already fallen asleep for the night. I deliberated, then decided that since he always insisted that he had nothing to hide thus had no reason to put a lock on his phone – I figured he wouldn’t mind if I got onto his phone and into his photos so I could retrieve the one of the two of us. Instead, I found photos of at least one of the women he was cheating on me with. I knew that bringing it up would cause nothing but recriminations and him lashing out at me, so I carefully and quietly put his phone back on his nightstand and then took the photo of the cups from the tea festival to use for the post. I then proceeded to put the entire incident out of my mind… ~Jaelithe )

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