imperialism or greener grass?
When I finally land at the Zurich airport, I've been awake and traveling for about 20 hours. I still have a train and a ferry, before being picked up by friends and then some social time at supper, and getting ready for preaching on Sunday. In short, I need coffee.
The thought of drinking "European Coffee", with it's head of crema elegantly served in a ceramic cup, is one of the great joys of being in Europe for me, and I've been looking forward to this coffee since I woke this morning. New to the Zurich airport, and having a short layover, I thought it best to get my train ticket first and then my coffee. I was glad I did because the line was long and by the time I acquired my ticket, I had only a few minutes before I needed to board the train. There was one coffee shop though, immeidately across from the ticket counter: Starbucks!
There they all are, drinking sipping the stuff I can get by walking up the hill from my house in Seattle; from paper cups no less! It was similar in Amsterdam, where the longest line for breakfast wasn't at the bakery serving quiche or belgian waffles, but the McDonalds. I ponder who is to blame for this exportation of sub-par 'franchise' eating and dining, but of course, it's a bad question. I have lots of European friends who love Starbucks coffee more than their own European cafes, which I find astonishing.
Surely there are many in the world who love the familiar. But I think much of Starbuck's appeal to Europeans is precisely that it's American, in the same way that my love of European coffee is that it's not American, for there are many of us on this globe who love the grass on the other side of the fence, being convinced that it's greener grass than our own. I go to Europe and eat Milka chocolate bars and eat schnitzel, but the gifts I carry for friends consist of chunky peanut butter, starbucks beans, and chocolate chips, things craved by Europeans that we take for granted in the States.
What then? I need to stop comparing and simply start enjoying. Maybe then I'll drink the coffee I need, even if it's from the empire.