There is no way....no way that anyone else could love StarBucks more than me
by by Peggy Bashkiroff
(Mt Edgecomb, South Africa)
It was about ten years ago when my husband, youngest daughter and I decided to move overseas and take up the expat life. My husband had been offered an interesting job in London. To be fair, we decided to sit down and discuss what we were willing to give up and what we wanted to help us enjoy our new lifestyle. My husband was easy as he wanted a great job and the opportunity to travel. Sasha (our youngest) knew she had to give up many of her school friends in order to make this move. Her priorities were a good school and the ability to make new friends. Mine was more complicated...or so I thought. I didn't want to give up the ability to eat good Mexican food and I would NOT live anywhere that did not have a Starbucks! You see, Starbucks offers more than great coffee drinks and pastries. It is a lifestyle, a meeting place, and a place I could always expect warmth of spirit. Sounds crazy I know, but this has turned out to be the truth in my life.
The company Nick was going to work for was located in London. This was our "research" visit to see if we all could handle this grand move. Well Nick went to the offices where he would possibly work while Sasha and I decided to check out the scenery around and near the offices. Guess what.....a Starbucks within 2 blocks of the offices. Great, I was ready to move. My husband accepted the job and we moved just outside London (a 45 minute train ride). Hummmmmm, a long trip to get to Starbucks, but oh well a woman's gotta do what a woman's gotta do! We had found a really nice town home in Surrey, just south of London. Since we moved there during summertime Sasha and I had plenty of time to explore the adjacent towns and villages. After about a month we visited Windsor Castle. And guess what....a Starbucks just across the street. I was elated to know it was only 15 minutes from our home. So 5-7 days a week I trekked to Starbucks to get my morning fix. This is where the tradition of collecting Starbucks mugs began. Life was good in the UK.
After about 2 years, Nick received an offer in Dubai. I had never heard of the place and was traumatizing over making another move. My first question was, "Are there any Starbucks located there?" Nick knew this would be the clincher to get me to go. He
immediately did the research and found out that they were in fact in Dubai at about 8 locations. Great again! We moved to Dubai and it was a 15 minute ride to The Palm Centre where the nearest Starbucks was located. It was 29 days after we moved to Dubai that 9/11 occurred. We were terrified on that day. However, the next day Nick went to work and Sasha went to school. I sat in my kitchen pondering if I should dare drive to Starbucks for my morning latte. I am glad I did because on that day when I arrived there were more people than normal. As I requested my latte, several people noted my American accent and before I knew it I was surrounded by at least a dozen people. There were Philippinos, Indians, Arabs and Europeans, all expressing their shock and sadness of the prior days events. The staff at Starbucks was amazingly kind and considerate. It was there and then I realized that I Starbucks was a great meeting place. Over the two years we lived in Dubai I met the majority of my friends in Starbucks. It was easy to meet people and discuss the days events and find common ground.
Since we moved from Dubai we have lived in Malta, Qatar, India and now in South Africa. We lasted in Malta and India for only a short time. No Starbucks!Qatar was interesting and I had my favorite Starbucks locations of course. Again, made some great friends and felt at home. South Africa looked to be a problem with no Starbucks anywhere to be found. But it has potential as it is an amazingly beautiful country. The people are friendly and I think they are ready to enjoy a great Starbucks coffee. My husband laughs at me, but loves it when I return from a trip back home to the USA. My suitcase normally has at least 5-6 pounds of Starbucks coffee beans in them. Hey, I am too set in my ways to change my cravings r loyalty! So PLEASE open up here in SA....(we live in Umhlanga outside Durban by the way)! I am your biggest fan and promoter..... (worldwide).
Oh, my coffee mug collection is growing and growing. I found Starbucks even in Bali...paradise! My husband and friends have added to my collection from cities in the USA and around the world (China, Philippines,etc.). I even picked up one in Copenhagen last September. Hey, people please put a little more color on your mugs!!!
Surely, no one could love Starbucks more than me!