Our daughter loves bubble tea. If you’ve not had bubble tea, it doesn’t sound appetizing no matter how I describe it, but I’ll try anyway. Bubble tea, or at least the bubble tea we order at our local Ninja Café — Large Classic Kung Fu Milk Tea with Boba — reminds me of Thai iced tea, which is a milky sweet tea. The difference with iced bubble tea is that the bottom of the cup is filled with tapioca pearls (boba) that are chewy like gummy bears (though they don’t taste like gummy bears). You drink the tea with a fat straw, as big around as those fat pencils kids use in Kindergarten, to accommodate the boba, which you suck up the straw along with the sweet milky tea.
At least once a week, on our way home from swim practice, or if we’re just out and about, or even if we’re sitting at home and nobody is going anywhere or making any move to go anywhere, our daughter will ask if we can go get bubble tea. She frequently requests iced coffee as well, and the garbage can in our garage is filled with her discarded clear plastic cups from Starbucks, Panera, and Ninja Café.
Like most kids of her generation, she is rightfully alarmed about environmental destruction and climate change. She’s learning the connection between her actions and how they impact the world around her, and she’s trying to think beyond herself. She opted for a smaller car that gets better gas mileage once she considered that aspect of the SUV she first thought she wanted. And when she sees the plastic cups in the garbage (along with the dent in her checking account from all those $5 drinks), she feels bad for contributing to the devastating pile of plastic garbage that already exists in the world.
She’s been thinking for a while that she’d like to make her own bubble tea to take those plastic cups down a notch. But she needed two key components that don’t exist at our regular supermarket: boba and big fat straws.
There’s a world market across town that is not convenient to anywhere we ever go, but we’d heard they had boba. So last weekend, as part of her driving lesson, she drove us to Oasis, and lo, they had both boba and fat straws.
The package of tapioca pearls contained enough for five drinks. She was out of boba by the end of the week.
For her driving lesson this week, we drove from our house to the aquatic center, then on the way back home, we made a pit stop at Oasis. She practiced getting on and off the highway, lane changes, traffic, parking, and plenty of left turns. I got myself some marzipan at the market (without having to drive myself there!), she got practice driving to and from the pool, plus some extra exits on and off the highway, and we got her more boba so she can make bubble tea at home. This time, we bought two packages.