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I started drinking tea in Dublin. I had no reason to try it or like it before that, but when my writing professor would bring in a pot during the study abroad class, I didn't want to be left out. And I found I quite liked the bitter brew, especially when our professor also brought in a plate full of biscuits dipped in chocolate on one end.

When I returned to Dublin two years later for grad school, it didn't take long for me to become a coffee shop fly. For a €2.50 tea, I could park in a Costa or an Insomnia for an afternoon and peck away at my thesis while I observed life around me. There was something comforting about parking for hours at a coffee shop with other students, old friends catching up, young people meeting up for a chat.

It'd get me off campus at the least.

I also became a great appreciator of scones during my thesis coffee shop sessions. The raspberry or fruit baked good was always served with this sense of luxury, cream and jam with the scone. It became a hobby of mine to try them all in Dublin. Bramble's scones were my favorite, with crusty tops and sticky jam.

Every once in a while, as a special treat, I'd write in the cafe at the National Library, a slightly sunken room in the big stone building with bright windows. The cafe had the best scones - firm with a soft inside - served with luxurious clotted cream and shining strawberry jam that still had the seeds in it. I'd sit there, a room away from the books, feeling very literary as I ate my scone and drank my tea and wrote my thesis.

It's good I discovered tea. It's been one of my comforts ever since I started drinking it regularly, even though it does noticeably stain my teeth. While I'm much more regular now, there were times in college I'd drink five or six cups a day. It's always a comfort and always there.


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