As we end one year and make our way into another, we’re taking this chance to look back and explore the places our collections have taken us. Tea has made it to over many different countries, met hundreds of caring people, learned how to sing and dance and say hello in countless languages. Most importantly, we’ve gathered all the inspiration along our way to share with you. Here’s a look at some places we’ve gone over the past few years.
We’re excited to announce our first collection of Citizen Blue – a semi-annual collection that celebrates the magical spots we stop along the way to somewhere else. Rooted in rich indigo hues, Citizen Blue revisits heritage Tea styles and favorite prints from places we’ve already been and offers new designs inspired by places we’ve seen only glimpses of.
Citizen Blue is a voyager, a nomad. Not quite here or there, the collection draws inspiration from the journey and all of the magical spots we stop along the way to our final destination. It is truly global inspired, as pieces within a single collection range from Japan to Mexico.
Here, we share with you a look behind a few of this season’s designs…
We thought it would be fun to compile a few songs from a handful of the countries we’ve visited as a way to celebrate the past 11 years. You’ll find everything from traditional Hungarian folk songs to contemporary music from Norway. Now turn it up and start dancing!
Horses have played a major role in the development of all cultures, maybe because they proved reliable creatures and friends. For the past three holiday seasons, we have featured horses on our girls’ tees. Take a trip down memory lane with us.
Our third Foreign Correspondenthas returned from her travels! Mary, her husband, and her two children traveled to Mexico this winter. We outfitted them with a suitcase full of Tea before they left, asking them to share their adventures with us upon their return. Below is part four of their adventure. To learn more about her family’s adventures, check out herThe World is a Book blog.
While souvenirs are mostly associated with trinkets, I’d rather like to think of its other Spanish meaning of “recuerdo” – a memory. This is how we want to look at souvenirs – tangible memories of a wonderful family vacation. It was quite appropriate since our family visited predominantly Spanish speaking countries of Mexico, Belize and Honduras. My 9-year old daughter says a souvenir is special because “it helps me remember where I’ve been”.
Mexico was a treasure trove of souvenirs for all of us. We were a little bit more restrained in Belize and Honduras as our time was limited and shopping wasn’t as abundant compared to Mexico. Imagine the excitement with the variety of maracas they could play with and the number of sombreros they could try on.
So, what were the most popular souvenirs for kids when we visited Mexico? The typical maracas, small guitars, marionettes and sombreros were everywhere. But, the one with the most appeal to children, especially boys, were the Lucha Libre masks. These were the colorful masks of animals, heroes or pop culture items that Mexican wrestlers wore.
Souvenirs are not only about the shopping experience but also the cultural association with a place. Over the years, we’ve bought dolls and beanie babies representing each country or city visited. We’ve probably collected enough to assemble our own United Nations parade. My daughter found more dolls from three new countries during this trip, each wearing their traditional native costumes to add to her collection. I’m glad she’s still young enough to enjoy them. It’s a simple connection she has to a country and a culture.
Interacting with the vendors and practicing friendly phrases in the local language is among the joys of shopping in a foreign country for us. Our kids loved saying ‘Hola’, ‘Gracias’ and ‘Adios’. They enjoyed saying the minimal Spanish they knew and the vendors were more than happy responding with big smiles on their faces for attempting to talk in the native tongue. We’ve found through the years that a simple hello and thank you to vendors in their local language goes a long way while traveling.
When the vacation is over and as they go on their daily lives, souvenirs can transport the kids back to that special time and place. Souvenirs can represent the local people they met, the areas they explored and their experiences during the visit.
Our third Foreign Correspondent has returned from her travels! Mary, her husband, and her two children traveled to Central America this winter. We outfitted them with a suitcase full of Tea before they left, asking them to share their adventures with us upon their return. Below is part three of their adventure. To learn more about her family’s adventures, check out her The World is a Book blog.
During our excursion, we visited the country’s only zoo despite our limited time in Belize. The Belize Zoo was established in 1983 as a haven for animals used in a forest documentary. In time, it became a refuge for animals that have been orphaned, rescued, or donated from private owners.
This is unlike any zoo we’ve ever visited. It currently houses over 150 different animals all native to Belize. Animals lived in thick landscapes much like their natural habitat instead of concrete cages. The enclosure fences were shorter. We were able to see most of the animals up close. On some exhibits, we could have reached in and touched them. Of course we were tempted, but didn’t.
The zoo was so large, we had to come back a second day to see the rest of the animals. There were no giraffes or elephants here – much to my kids’ disappointment at first. Instead, we were instead treated to animals we have never heard of or seen before. Ever heard of a tapir (Belize’s national animal that looks like an anteater), a Jabiru stork, a quash (racoon relative) or a motmot (bird)?
We also had the opportunity to visit a monkey exhibit in Roatan, Honduras during this trip. I was particularly nervous of letting my kids step inside but was assured the monkeys were safe. Once inside, the monkeys instantly clamored to find the nearest arm or shoulder to climb on.
These animal encounters were one of the trip highlights for our kids. They were introduced to new animals and learned about the importance of their native habitat. These were memorable experiences that certainly fostered their love and appreciation for animals.
Visit our Studio T blog tomorrow to learn about the family’s experience in Mexican markets.
Our third Foreign Correspondent has returned from her travels! Mary, her husband, and her two children traveled to Central America this winter. We outfitted them with a suitcase full of Tea before they left, asking them to share their adventures with us upon their return. Below is part two of their adventure. To learn more about her family’s adventures, check out her The World is a Book blog.
In Kohunlich, the most impressive site was the pyramid-like Temple of the Masks. The center stairs were flanked on each side by three levels of sculpted stucco masks at about 6-8 feet high each. They were believed to represent the Maya Sun God “Kinich Ahau”. The diverse faces were also thought to represent ancient Kohunlich rulers.
The giant masks were magnificent and remarkably preserved considering they were built around 500 AD. Some of them still had hints of their original color. The faces were the only three-dimensional areas. There were many symbolic messages on the masks with many different interpretations. We saw the masks up close by climbing the steep staircase. It was worth the climb to the top for some spectacular views of the forest canopy.
In order to keep up our kids’ spirit of exploration, we engaged them in some activities. We asked them to identify items they saw around the masks and what its meaning could be. Travel after all is a learning experience.
My husband and I knew that visiting the ruins would be a challenge to hold our kids’ interest. They kept themselves occupied by looking for animals and exploring hidden corners. Sometimes, kids have more important things to discover.
Visit our Studio T blog tomorrow to learn about the family’s animal encounters in Central America.