By Robyn.

Being invited to a Tea Group at a house in Ann Arbor is truly special. COVID 19 has made us adjust. But here are three good reasons to join a Tea Group.

Tea Group 1

Tradition

International Neighbors began in a Tea Group over 60 years ago when an American lady invited international friends to her house for coffee and conversation. After that the international guests felt more at home in Ann Arbor, so many miles away from family and friends in their own countries.

What makes a Tea Group special is the core group of friends who stay together year after year, welcoming a new group of guests each year. Think of it as being part of a multi-generational family with grandmothers, young mothers and everyone in between. Children are welcome. And such strong friendships cannot break apart even in a pandemic.

Tea Party, February 2017

Warm Friendship

We treasure our members and can be creative to support each other during this difficult time. We cannot gather together like we normally would for a delicious Indian lunch or to celebrate American traditions such as pumpkin carving and Thanksgiving. But we can safely gather outside a 90 years old member’s house to sing her “Happy Birthday”. We can take neighborhood walks, careful to stay in small groups with social distancing. We can check in on each other (e-mails, Zoom, phone calls, Facebook) and help with shopping.  We can help our community and children in need.  Colorful brown paper bags decorated by Tea Group children were filled with delicious lunch items and donated to Food Gatherers who distribute “Lunches with Love” to hungry children.

Lunches with love

The Future

The pandemic won’t last forever and the Tea Groups will be back with our traditional hospitality. Maybe our famous Tea Party for all of International Neighbors will be back. In the meantime please join us as we experiment with social distanced friendship! While the warm weather holds we can do many things outside. Perhaps matching a guest with a Tea Group member for walks around the neighborhood will work. And some of us have large back yards. In addition to our long-standing regular Tea Groups we have had Baby Tea Groups that give young mothers a chance to get together with their babies and toddlers. We can’t share houses, toys, or playgrounds yet but Dominos Farm and Petting Zoo, which we visited last year, has re-opened with COVID 19 safety standards.

So please go to our website and “Request to Join” a Tea Group. We look forward to getting to know you. Questions? Happy to answer them at our upcoming Virtual Open House or by e-mail tea@international-neighbors.org