Liquid Love

January 24, 2010
“Non-fat, no water, no foam, extra hot chai, please.” Mmmm. My liquid love. Yes I am one of those. The kind that knows what they want. I am a person who enjoys trying new things and experimenting, but when it comes to Starbucks I rarely waver. It is the only place, other than the gym, where I’ve been considered a “regular”. The barista could start making my drink when I walk through the door. Starbucks is the only social meeting place open late in my home town, or really any other town I’ve been to… well, other than fast food and bars. My parents would go to Starbucks in the morning to get away from us kids and me and my sis would go in the evening to get away from the parents. When I was in college, I went to Starbucks to aid and distract me in my studies. Now I go to Starbucks because it reminds me of home. In Europe, Starbucks isn’t on every corner. So when I would see a Starbucks, my heart would skip and my mouth would start to water because amongst the new and exciting, I would crave something familiar.

I used to feel bad not supporting the local trendy indie coffee shops or European cafes when Starbucks dominates the brewing world, but they all had their chance. When I explored out of my comfort zone, I’d be disappointed when the chai would be made with powder instead of syrup, or water instead of milk, or it would be too sweet, or not sweet enough. The worst part of all my trials and errors with the locals is that it wasn’t any cheaper than Starbucks. So I had to suffer through all of the less than adequate chais without any relief to my wallet. I don’t know why, but Starbucks just does it the best… with my alterations, of course. I always return a little ashamed I ever abandoned my first love and it’s true about never forgetting those… It was a cold winter evening back when I was 16 years old and my friend recommended this hot tea that she promised tasted like pumpkin pie. I’ve been in love ever since.

If anyone needed a favor from me the magic words were, “I’ll get you a chai… from Starbucks of course.” Every time it was worth it… well except for that one time when my sister and mom wanted me to be my sister’s “subject” in her cinema make-up school final project. I objected until they told me they would add some mullah on my sb (yep I shorthand Starbucks) card. Some might think “Oh how nice that your sister wants you to be her subject. You should be flattered, not bribed”. Ya well you get in a swimsuit in front of wanna be models (with real portfolios), get lathered up in grease, walk in 6 in. heels, eyebrows plucked until bleeding point, and then have your sister say, “my model won’t quit eating” just because you were the only one who was enjoying the free lunch platter, then go on the subway still covered in grease and glitter and 2 cans of hairspray keeping up your Mohawk, and then wonder how you’ll ever get your self-esteem back. So, that was the one time chai wasn’t worth it.

Anywho back on subject. The reason I dedicated a whole blog to Starbucks is because not only does it satisfy my sweet, warm, spicy cravings, Starbucks cafes transport me to a familiar, safe, comfortable haven. No matter if I’m at home trying to escape family drama or in Istanbul, Turkey sightseeing on a 4 hour layover, it is the same low light warm tone ambiance that brings me in. Also, a “grande chai” is the same in German, Bulgarian, Arabic, etc. So no matter how far away I am, how foreign I might feel once I walk through Starbucks’ door I feel a little bit of home and I know what to expect when I order. There isn’t anything or anywhere else that I’ve discovered that brings such an instant feeling of comfort and belonging. Right now I am writing this in my comfort zone with my liquid love’s warm touch near by. Even when home doesn’t feel likes home Starbucks is always there as my home away from home away from home.

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