Friday, December 30, 2011


My fondness for tea has several origins: my British education, my upbringing in Egypt, extensive travels and family connections.  My grandmother in Oregon kept an exquisite collection of china teacups, each one unique.  When I visited her, I enjoyed choosing a different cup every afternoon.  A different pattern of flowers, leaves, gold accents.  I used to have tea with my mother after school, sitting around the kitchen table.  In college, my sister and I brought a tea set with us and carried on the tradition in our dorm.  We gathered an eclectic group of friends to join us for a drink and multidisciplinary chat.

After we all graduated and went our separate ways, it has been more challenging.  It hardly seems worth it to brew an entire pot just for myself.  I have also recently completed a seven-year phase of working 80 hours a week, which does not lend itself to a consistent teatime.  I have been lucky to grab a paper cup from the hospital cafeteria at odd hours of the day or night.

Life is improving now.  Though I still rarely use a proper tea set, I can sit down for a warm mug on occasion.  I can’t gather easily in the same kitchen with friends and family, but I can have a virtual community.

You are welcome to join me, if you like.

What shall we talk about in our teatime chats?  I am both a poet/writer and a doctor.  I am interested in the intersection between the humanities and medicine, which I believe are complementary disciplines.  Working as a primary care physician inspires my writing with the drama and depth of the human condition.  At the same time, the reflective practice of writing makes me a more compassionate and well-rounded doctor.