The TCIS Boarding Care Program has many traditions that have been created over nearly 65 years, and they each have a unique story behind them. Some traditions came about in the name of fun, some began with deep meaning, and some came from the various cultures represented in the diverse students and staff.
One such tradition in the Adams Dorm comes from Dorm Mom, Mrs. Tiece Adams, and is known as the Arabic Mint Tea Party. Mrs. Adams shared with us about this tradition and its significance:
Before every Arabic mint tea party, I always explain the personal significance this has for me. [I grew up knowing this as "Arabic Mint Tea," but it is also very commonly known as "Moroccan Mint Tea" and is signature of Northern Africa.]
Growing up as a missionary kid in Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa, one would quite often see groups of teens all around campus on Friday evenings – sitting on woven mats around a coal brazier, sipping this very tea. As teenagers, and for many in the culture, this was one way we socialized.
Arabic mint tea, as I learned to make it, combines Chinese Gunpowder green tea, vanilla, sugar, and mint leaves. Served in tiny glasses, it is prepared in three rounds, reusing the same tea leaves each time, but as the tea leaves get weaker, the tea itself gets sweeter. Each round of tea has a name: LIFE for round one, as the tea leaves are most bitter; FRIENDSHIP for round two, as the tea is bittersweet; and LOVE for round three, as the tea is the sweetest by this round.
While we have not done this every year, I believe we started Arabic mint tea parties in my first year at TCIS – in 2004. The experience is very much a social, almost ceremony-like event, which is shared with friends. As each round of tea simmers on the brazier, we take the opportunity to share as a dorm about times when life was bitter (round one,) about friendships we remember as bittersweet (two,) and stories about love (three.)
I love that this tradition allows me to share something special and unique from my own teen years, with students. It is an opportunity for us as a dorm family to relax, enjoy a unique cultural experience together around a fire, and share stories from the heart.