Don't Tell

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I think most people posted about their Christmas on December 26th [or if you were shopping, within the next few days]. Well when you're traveling through Southeast Asia, you're allowed to take your time.

Every new city we arrive in, I take note whether there is a Starbucks or not. Almost every city we've visited on this trip has had far more than one Starbucks. Even the small, more remote towns continue to surprise us. It's amazing to me how Starbucks has taken over the world. Since we have more Starbucks in Seattle than we know what to do with, Yuriy and I decided to stay away from the coffee giant while abroad. We would rather try authentic French coffee in Paris or Turkish coffee in Istanbul [and support local shops].

However, our decision did not stop us from walking into a Starbucks... on several occasions. Passing through the doors is like being teleported back to Seattle. Every Starbucks store smells and looks the same. It's a little piece of home and familiarity. Every time we walked out empty handed, determined to stay away. You couldn't pay us to drink a Starbucks cup of coffee.

Since we were in Hong Kong for Christmas, it meant no family, friends, presents, caroling, church service, stockings, or my mama's Christmas dinner. I admit I was pitying myself a bit. I came to the conclusion that we deserved some Starbucks coffee on Christmas day. There's nothing more satisfying than breaking the rules and indulging.

On Christmas morning, it was sunny outside, Hong Kong continued to be busy, workers were all over the streets, and hardly any businesses were closed for the day. It sure didn't feel like Christmas back home where the city literally shuts down because everyone is at home with their families. We enjoyed our guilty little treat in the big cushy chairs in a corner of Starbucks. Just the two of us, far from home. It was a sweet way to start off Jesus' birthday.

- Julia
Julia: gingerbread latte, apple/cinnamon/walnut muffin
Yuriy: toffee nut latte, blueberry scone


  1. So fun - promise I won't tell (partly because I'd have probably done the exact same thing!).

  2. haha! I'm a Canadian currently living in Hong Kong, and I SWEAR by Starbucks here. There actually aren't that many of them in Hong Kong, considering the size and density of the city... I'm trying to squint and see the background of the pic to see if I can tell which one you're in...Did you go to the Starbucks in Wan Chai? Or was this on the Kowloon side?! Anyway, they have some competitors here (namely Pacific Coffee- did you come across it?) but Starbucks gives me that North American familiarity that I need sometime, even though I'm Canadian and by far prefer our national coffee-house "Tim Hortons" (Google it if you've never heard of it)!

    How did you like Hong Kong and which part did you stay in? I've been living here for a year and a half and live in the craziness of Central/Soho.

    Funnily enough, while you were in Hong Kong at Christmas, I was flying to Istanbul! I was in Istanbul from December 26 to 29 and actually have the same photo of that pomengranate stand near the Galata Tower that you have in your previous Istanbul post!

    Great minds think alike!! LOL

  3. it is nice to have a little familiarity when you have been away from home for so long

  4. it's the little things, right?
    starbucks can be so grounding some times.

    also, merry belated christmas!

  5. I won't tell. ;) I would have done the same thing! Whatever gives you small comfort and reminds you of home, most especially on Christmas!

  6. your hair is amazing! i can't believe you can do that on yourself!

  7. awe. i got a little sad reading your post and joined in on your pity party. i'm glad a place like starbucks was able to brighten your holiday spirits.

  8. That is so wild--that Starbucks has managed to permeate through to the farthest corners of the world. I'm glad that it offered you comfort on Christmas. And I adore your braid. I've been silently reading along for about a month now. I'm so glad that you're documenting this trip in this medium because your pictures are generally more telling, and pleasing, than what I would find were I to pick up a guidebook to Turkey.

  9. It's funny you say that . . . when I was living away from home and going to graduate school I would often walk into Kohl's, just because it reminded me of my parents!

    Safe travels you two!

  10. I am a barista for Starbucks back in Seattle, and I loved this post. I do agree with you on supporting local coffee shops, and trying the local coffee because that is what i try to do. I just thought that it was really cute that you two went to starbucks for christmas to make it feel a little bit like home.
    Your pictures are awesome too

  11. You guys are so gorgeous! :)

    Whenever I travel I make sure to take notice of the nearest 'Bucks too!!! Love it!

  12. I love that you guys went to starbucks. I actually make it my mission everywhere I travel, to look for a starbucks and take a picture) true, it feels like home...since I go every single day and it's my 2nd office. Cute pics...gorgeous couple :-)