I recently decided to start blogging again. Admittedly, I wasn’t the best at blogging the last time I decided to give this forum of expression a try, but I’m hoping to do a little better this time around. I wasn’t really sure what to write about to get back into the swing of things on here until the other day, when I was sitting alone in a Starbucks between appointments, reminiscing.
The last time I decided to try my hand at the “art of blogging” was shortly before our little family – then of four – embarked on the adventure of a lifetime: two years living, working, and exploring in China. I remember writing one of my first blog posts, announcing the exciting news that we were going to be heading overseas.
I look back now, and wow, was I ever clueless as to what life was going to bring my way during the time we spent in China. I think it’s a good thing I was so naive or I’m not sure I would have chosen to go. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t regret going for one minute! Some of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had were in China – both personally and professionally – and I’m so glad now that we had that time together as a family. Talk about quality family time – for better AND for worse! 😉
We also made some of the best friends we have ever had while in China – relationships that were born of necessity and commonality, but grew into the deepest of friendships as we did life together daily; friendships that will stand the test of time and are truly friendships of the soul. These kinds of friendships are hard to come by because they take persistence, vulnerability, and dedication… they take sharing not only the exciting and meaningful moments – but the mundane moments of everyday life as well. These are the friends who become like family, and make it possible to build a real home in a foreign place.
I have often said that one of the most difficult things about living overseas is that you end up leaving little pieces of your heart all over the world… and no matter where you go after that, you feel homesick for someone, something, or someplace.
This is why I love Starbucks so much.
Starbucks is nearly the same no matter where you go in the world. You can find one in almost every city, and when you walk in – generally speaking – you can order the drink you would chose in your hometown. The overall atmosphere and decor are the same – the marketing is familiar – even the baked goods look and taste the same. You can buy the same travel mug at a Starbucks in Seoul, Korea as you can in Saskatoon, Canada (although I have to admit – they DID have a far better selection of pretty mugs in Asia 😉 You can call up your best friend and head out for a coffee date and completely forget that you are an ocean away from the life that is most familiar.
Needless to say, I spent many hours in Starbucks while overseas, and always made sure to set aside time stop in. Not just because I liked my warm beverage and chocolate-covered pretzel – but because it made me feel “normal” for a little while. It felt like home.
The funny thing is, now that I am back in Saskatchewan I find myself drawn to Starbucks for the same reasons… it feels familiar… it feels like the same coffee shop I so enjoyed back in Huangdao, China. Now, when I feel homesick for my China friends – I pop in at a Starbucks, and I can almost convince myself that my “soul-sister” is just a few minutes away.
I know that Starbucks is just a coffee shop, but for me, Starbucks has become a little piece of home wherever I go. It’s a source of familiarity, and it links my life as a traveler with my life as a prairie gal in so many ways. Wherever I wander, Starbucks is a place that feels like home. And home can be many places. For now, home is a small town in Waldheim, Saskatchewan, and I’m enjoying the journey.
Along with my Iced Vanilla Latte.