I have a strange relationship with Starbucks. I don't particularly like the food or the coffee but I find the stores themselves oddly comforting. You can guarantee that they'll be exactly the same wherever they are in the world. As an expat in HK There are days when you crave that simple familiarity and bad coffee in amongst all the noodles and wontons.
When I was pregnant with Charlie I developed a penchant for Starbucks sausage rolls and chocolate frappucinos, especially after work as I stepped off the bus in Tung Chung. It was in the days when I felt sick all the time and didn't want much of anything, so it was an unusual choice, but Mama wants what she wants!
The first thing I ate after giving birth to Charlie was a sandwich and hot chocolate from, you guessed it, Starbucks. It seems they're conveniently located inside most of HK's public hospitals - like a little oasis of Westernism. They're also at the border crossings, like a beacon, guiding you homeward. Many of the stores closed down in Australia recently, Australians being renowned coffee snobs and all. It would appear that hospitals and border crossings are the only place you'll find them now here too.
So given our history, it seemed only fitting that I found myself sucking back a short mocha latte from Starbucks while we waited patiently at the children's hospital at Westmead today. Josh had his first surgery today and all went well, but I'll fill you in on all that later. What struck me most while I was having my daily dose of caffeine was how odd it was to be craving something I don't particularly like, that reminds me so much of a place I claim not to care for. HK has never felt less like "home" than it has these last few weeks that we've been in Sydney, and yet my little trip to the coffee cart had me feeling quite homesick.
Sometimes we have to be taken out of our comfort zone to realise just how comfortable we actually are.
All that from a latte, who would've thought it??