Today I had a break in my work schedule. Usually I use this time to prepare classes, but today I decided to go to a coffee shop and take a breath.
There, I realized that I have not drunk coffee for two years. I have been thinking for a while about the reason, and I have to say that the main reason is because I hate asking for a coffee in a coffee shop, in the US.
In Barcelona it is easy, you have different options, simple options: un cafè amb llet, un tallat, un cafè sol o un cigaló (if you are older thant 50 or you feel like one) Maybe you can see someone asking for splenda instead of sugar, or very rarely someone asks for soymilk (probably this person is allergic to lactose). However, the process to get a coffee is easy and the rules are clear. You only need to follow three easy steps:
Second: Waiter doesn’t ask you anything (very important step)
Third: A few minutes later you have your coffee, that’s it!
Until I arrived in San Francisco, I thought that asking for coffee was simple, easy and relaxing. Ordering a coffee was a confortable trade, a bargain! I got relaxed without a lot of effort. I could enjoy a good, hight-quality moment, without hurting my brain.
In Barcelona I had had some incidents, but I can say that my relationship with coffee was good, but after I landed in San Francisco. I put a foot in a coffee shop and it was the beginning of the end…
– May I have a coffee with milk, please? (Now, I know the right way to get a ‘cafe amb llet’, this is: “A latte”, but in that moment I had literal translation, you know, my English…)
I had said my sentece, and I waited. I was ready to pay; suddenly something happened. The waiter asked me:
– brisdkjfnskdjvnskjdhfkxmcvn (well, probably he said: small or large?)
– what??? ( another thing that I have learned, to say “what” is not the best way to ask for patient. People will be nicer withyou if you say: Can you repeat please?, or Sorry? or Say again, please… The “Queee???” of my whole life is only in my memories)
The waiter noticed that I was a forigner and he repeated the question, after my “yes…?”, he decied to stop asking and he collected my money. ( $3,65 by the way! the “cafè amb llet” a 1,20€” is part of my old life too)
I tried a few times later that day. I trained myself for different questions, and I thought that I had the answers: small, non fat milk, no foam… but always I got frozen.
I was sweating each time I wanted a coffee, and that situation wasn’t good for me and my confidence (everybody knows that is very important to feel comfortable when you are learning a language). As I said, my relationship with coffee wasn’t goos for while, when suddenly the solution appears. Thanks Paloma! I just discovered Chai Latte!! (For sure, it wasn’t an accident)
How could I live before without Chai? Definitely, I decided to give up coffee, and become a ChaiLover!
Since I made that decision my live has been easy, again. Now I enjoy going to a coffe shop, again.