Hospitality is something we all benefit from, in many different forms. A warm, welcoming smile. A hearty handshake. A hug from someone we haven’t seen in a while and who can, for whatever reason, make everything all right.

Hospitality is the key which opens many doors of possibility, and it was my good fortune to recently spend a little time at the Armenian Heritage Park with some hospitable people for Tea & Tranquility. The Park, located right in the heart of Boston, was founded upon and maintains a tradition of welcoming everyone into its space.

With a mission statement like this, it didn’t surprise me to find those like Barbara Tellalian, one of the founders, in her element as she met old friends and new visitors with equal enthusiasm. Joining Barbara were other greeters, their role being to ensure anyone interested in participating is given that chance, along with plenty of information regarding the park’s history, the different events it hosts, and programs in which it participates.

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Fresh herbal iced tea, pizzelle, brownie tops and chocolate chip cookies were in abundance at the Tea & Tranquility. The pizzelle was, in many ways, symbolic of the friendship between the Armenian Heritage Park and the North End, with mutual respect for cultural heritage and cuisine. Seeing people enjoy eating and drinking while getting to know each other was fascinating as well as inspiring: to note how little it sometimes takes for people to come out of their shells and form bonds with their fellow human beings.

The physical characteristics of the park offer much toward making a Tea & Tranquility session enjoyable. Whether viewing the abstract sculpture – a split-rhomboid dodecahedron that is annually reconfigured to reflect the Park’s observation of the coming together and pulling apart facets of the immigrant experience – or choosing to traverse the labyrinth to gain some quiet, catch your breath, and relax. I noticed a lot of people “customizing” their Tea & Tranquility according to what made them have the best time.

I met many new people from a variety of different places – local and international alike. I watched as older folks took their time watching the sparrows drink from the fountain shining in the sunlight, while kids raced around the winding pathways and played games with their friends. Walking the labyrinth at one point for the first time in a while, I found the activity enjoyable and definitely relaxing.

In the end, events like this are always as important as they are fun. Community is something invaluable, whether historically, psychologically, personally or on a societal level. When good things are shared among the sincere, there’s nothing quite like that sort of celebration. It makes one deeply thankful as well as proud to be here.

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