Say What Now?

So this post wasn’t planned. I was going to actually write about my hike but it’s hot. Like 90 degrees (30 degrees Celsius) without any cloud coverage and barely any wind. For those of you who know me know that I don’t do heat (unless it’s for volleyball). Most summers I have stayed inside wherever I am with the AC on blast. I wear as little clothing as publicly acceptable. All of this basically means that there was no way that I was about to hike my butt up a mountain for a couple of pictures. But I digress from the story I want to share.

I didn’t start drinking coffee until college. I actually hated coffee but it was something I thought that I should like as a college student and as a semi-adult, I know, crazy right? The cafeteria had free Starbucks regular coffee so I started drinking that. Sophomore year, my friends worked at Starbucks and I was introduced to lovely frappuccinos. Junior year another friend started working there too and continued on to my senior year. He would spoil me with free drinks all the time since we were living together. I was introduced to and knew most of the workers there. I had a little Starbucks family, if you will.

Quite naturally, the first place I started going to in Germany was Starbucks. People spoke English, free wifi, and I knew the drinks. Perfect.

Over time I became a regular. I slowly began to know all of the workers and having short, and I mean short, conversations with them. Those that didn’t remember my name, they knew my order or would simply recognize my face. This was the first place that I actually tried to speak German to people in public scary but I did it.

The best part about this Starbucks is that it’s been an environment that disproves German stereotypes that I’ve had. Everyone here smiles and cares about the customers (I know that’s the job but I truly believe they care). The small talk that they’ve engaged me in has been surprising. They actually talk to me. What?! I love it. And they’ve been super nice to me! They encourage me in speaking German (I only speak Germany to most of them now). And they give me reduced price and FREE drinks! That’s huge and I never expected it. Then, the biggest surprise that I’ve had in Germany, happened yesterday.

When I walked in and was about to order my drink to a new employee, the other guys working (they knew me) asked how I was and such. One of them told the cashier “This is Tony. He’s a great guy, etc!” I’m currently blanking on the specifics but he was praising me…ME!!! WHAT IS GOING ON?! I was floored. Germans are supposed to be mean but people here were awesome and kind!

These workers have been amazing to me. This Starbucks has become my safe haven in Germany. When everything was going wrong in my life, this place was my rock (except when the company decided to change the chai latte to a sweeter version, sacrilege). It’s an international place with languages being tossed around left and right. I actually met a UNC Alum here once. I’m definitely going to miss this place once I leave.

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