When I was younger, I loved going on roller coaster rides. Now they make me queasy, and since being vomited on was always a huge fear of mine when getting on a ride, I do not want to be that person and I no longer seek that kind of thrill. I remember standing in lines for over an hour to get on my favorite rides and then getting right back in the same, long line right after the rides had ended. I had no problem standing in a long line because, I knew that the pleasure from that coaster was going to be epic. I had zero complaints.
In 2008 or 9, my sisters and I went into the city to watch the fireworks and we went early to get a good spot on the asphalt. Since we were, really early, and fireworks do not begin until after sunset, we waited 4-5 hours in the hot sun. At some point, I think we were delirious, because, everything became really funny. We laughed an very random things. We waited, with the threat of heat stroke, because, we knew that we were going to have a great time together.
En route to our honeymoon, our flight was delayed because of a storm front that went north to south, barring all flights to the west. We waited at the airport for about 6 hours, flew to Atlanta , and then had to wait until the next morning to fly to our destination. Just so that you can fully understand, we went from the reception to the airport, and waited. See the pic? I looked like that - minus the dress for about 14 hours! When the waiting was over, I was overly pampered by every attendant, as if they had born the blame for the storm and the long commute. Once we were fed and rested, the waiting was a faint memory.
Dr. Seuss spends two large pages talking about waiting place. He calls it the "most useless place." Waiting is a pain. Well, unless you have a really good book, a cup/s of tea, a lovely person to talk to, or a funky town to explore. Usually it is just a pain - book or no book.
In 2012, I went to the Coffee and Tea Festival in NYC. It was incredible and it was PACKED! There were almost 100 booths of, mostly, tea vendors. I decided to check out Everlasting Teas. This line was ridiculous. At one point, I decided to remain on the line, simply because I had already stood there for so long, and I needed to get something for the trouble. This was a tea festival, and yet, while standing on this line, I felt like I was in a line of the angered and tormented. When I finally made it to the front, it was crystal clear why the wait was so lengthy. The vendor was unaffected by the frenzy of tea fanatics. He said something to the effect of, "Let's tune out everything around us - all of that unnecessary noise. It's just us and this experience."
He then proceeded to S L O W L Y tell us about the teas and the farmers in Taiwan with whom his small company harvests and lives with for portions of the year. As this man spoke, it became clear that he was the tea-freak whisperer. Everything around me faded and there was only this picture of a field of Taiwanese camellia sinensis, and scents of jasmine and honeysuckle all around me. Finally, we began to taste the tea, as he continued to talk at a pace, likened only to Oogway from Kung Fu Panda, about the nuances of each flavor. I was tea tasting for 20-30 minutes. I purchased a bag of honeysuckle oolong and walked past the, very angry, pursed lipped, people, waiting to get to where I was.
Waiting sucks. It can only be tempered by results.
That experience with Mr. TaiChiZenMan, helped me to reflect on how I served others and how I treated myself. It even informed my advising. I respect the power on environmental factors to exacerbate tensions, but I also respect the power of the mind and our actions to supersede the stressful effects of things outside of our control.
Friday, was the last day before the first day of Fall 2017 classes. Newly accepted transfer and freshmen students, without schedules and having had no orientation to our university, needed to get registered. They needed to get registered at a time when almost all of our courses were full. There was a lot of waiting in our office. No amount of candy and chips was going to ameliorate the frustration that abounded. I began every meeting, by telling my students that there would never be an advisement experience like this again - that this level of pandemonium, was a symptom of the timing.
In my mind, there are two options on this day: one could quickly register the students or show them how to register and get them on their way, or one could take the time necessary to understand their needs and their concerns so that they can be confident with their start at this new and large institution, which is, usually, significantly larger than their former ones. I suppose that there are a few options in-between those, but I find that once you deviate from option A, there is no turning from option B. I am an option B kind of advisor. The craziness of this day is not a typical UAlbany day in Advisement, so like the tea-whisperer, once a student enters my room, nothing else matters. We are going to tune out that crazy, and, hopefully, the effects of the wait will be null and void. My aim is to have the student feel like I did, when I rode Deja Vu in Magic Mountain (long, since removed) back to back. My friend still marvels at how she went along with my request, "Let's do that again!"
I want my students to have minimal to zero uncertainty about their present plans, even though they may still be forming their larger goals. I want them to know that they can ask questions and have their questions answered. I want them to leave my office feeling in control of what is truly theirs, their education. I want them to know that they waited, because, everyone who enters my office gets the same treatment. One of my students, was justifiably irate about her long wait. She did not express this to me until the end of our meeting, when she said, "I was angry while waiting, but this was worth the wait."
In truth, she was with the time.
Here, I share new discoveries and thoughts about things I love. Ride along with me. Comments are welcomed and appreciated.
Tea Houses I Love