"After Lunch" by Po Chu-i + Simple Scones

Just over a year ago, I visited London again for the first time in eight years. Except for my favorite cafe in Bloomsbury that had closed, the city hadn't changed. There was still soot on the churches, black cabs darting through narrow streets, a hint of gray light as the sun starts to set. This time, no longer on a student's budget, we had afternoon tea at the Dorchester. It had all the pomp and circumstance you'd expect like perfectly tender scones and smoked salmon sandwiches. But what I love most about afternoon tea is the state of mind. There's something about it, isn't there? Pausing from work from 3:30 to 4 pm each day, brewing a dark cup of tea, watching cream swirl in the teacup, taking that first, hot sip. It truly helps you relax and ease into things. It's the perfect time for a mental break, too, when you can let yourself wander, mull over a creative project, or daydream. I so wish we took this ritual more seriously in America, that it was part of our culture so that not having tea would seem, well, uncivilized. A girl can dream.