Apr 24, 2010

COFFEE PERKS (pun intended)

SHUT UP! We now have a Gloria Jean's Coffee Cafe in Lviv!!

I walk in, keeping my expectations low so as not to be disappointed by the lack of American-ness, and was blown away. It is lovely. That really is the best way to describe it. Lovely and decadent. It's definitely an upscale-looking place. I am greeted by a sweet girl, smiling and telling me about the new cafe and deals. Today is free dessert day (with the purchase of a coffee, of course)! Score!! As I look around I am overwhelmed by how similar it is and the American-ness intact with a European flare. Overwhelmed by the by the both English and Ukrainian menu. No English is spoken by the cashier, but that's ok; I like to use my Ukrainian. I choose to partake in a basic iced mocha and free tasty treat. I ask the cashier which is the best and to give me that. She laughs. My original plan is to take my coffee and go (because you can! it is now the 3rd place in Lviv that you can get coffee to go!), but instead I am lured in by the posh yet welcoming decor. After giving in to the urge of being touristy and taking pictures, I proceed to sms everyone I know who would appreciate this fantastic discovery.

Free wifi, coffee to go, English menu, Starbucks-like atmosphere (but nicer and less commercial), a guy with an iPhone, no smoking, smiling staff...I almost feel like I'm not in Lviv, Ukraine. THEN I look out the window.

Signs in Cyrillic, women in spiked heals dressed to the nines for no other reason than it's a Saturday, men in pointy-toe shoes, cars parked on the sidewalks, more Adidas wear than you can count, men in head to toe black, a baboocya (grandma) on the street selling sunflower seeds out of a large, white bag, marshrutkas filled beyond the maximum occupancy, boys wearing the scarves of their favorite Ukrainian futbol club, bride after bride walking around getting their wedding day pictures taken in front of another statue or church...I am reminded where I truly am.

A smile comes across my face as I think of the progress this city is showing. Yes, a Gloria Jean's Coffee cafe is progress! Oh the joy this place will bring to foreigners (aka Americans) who live in Ukraine! The smile subsides. A bit of loneliness creeps in as I sit alone. Then I take the last drink of my tasty iced mocha--in the nice to-go cup, and the smile returns. Time to go. I think I'll go buy some cheap earrings now...and some lettuce, of course, cause it's Spring and I can. :)


Alice Robbins said...

Shut up!!! All I have is Costa Coffee here in Katowice! Oh, to have Gloria Jean or Starbucks. . . .PLEASE let the rumors be true about Starbucks moving to Katowice!! Congrats girl! I am so glad for you!

Erin W said...

I love everything about this post. I know those feelings.. different coffee shop, different culture, but the rest I know. I cannot wait to chat with you!