For the love of coffee…
Espresso – C20: Italian, short for caffè espresso, literally: pressed coffee]
Yesterday, while I was at the NATIONAL NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER (NNMC) in Bethesda, Maryland, I went to a get coffee in the coffee shop. My first time because this is not the Walter Reed Medical Center (Army Hospital), this is the Naval Hospital and I was not familiar with the coffee shop. As I was scanning the choices behind the cashier, I can’t find a regular coffee in their menu. The first line was, espresso, single. There was a long line of men and women in their service uniforms behind me; and so I ordered for the espresso, single.
While waiting for my order, a gentleman in the navy uniform was looking at me. Vanity of all vanities, I thought for a while, he was kind of “interested” in me.
When my order came, the lady gave me a coffee in a cup the equivalent to that of a one shot whiskey. I asked her, “what is this”, she told me, “this is your order”, a single espresso.
To make the long story short, the reason why there was no choices for regular coffee, was because I did not see in the first place, on the counter, they have a line of big thermoses filled with coffee in different flavors. All you have to do is get a cup, pour which flavor you like ,bring it to the cashier and pay for it.
I told the lady, “I am sorry really, this is my first time here”, and she said ” that is okay”.
In my “innocence” of this world, who would have thought that a single coffee espresso is exactly like a single shot of whiskey. And very concentrated at that!
As I walked back, I was smiling at myself because, the gentleman in the Navy uniform who was looking at me, was not really interested in me, but rather find me “weird”. He may have thought, “here is a lady from a far away land, where there is not much of a choice of a coffee in her country, and doesn’t know what she is ordering.”
My first love of coffee developed while I was in South Korea. They have this 3in1 pack in tube where there are coffee, creamer and sugar all in one. The taste was so good.
It was also in South Korea that I have my first touch of snow. We were getting out of the grocery store, it was December 24, 2004, and all of a sudden snow flakes were falling all over the place. And I said to myself, “isn’t this romantic”.
South Korea is colder compared to Maryland, and we had coffee in cups very small in size like the cups used for water dispenser here in the US. I love Korean foods, very ethnic and similar to those in the Philippines.
The Kimchi, – Korean . a spicy pickled or fermented mixture containing cabbage, onions, and sometimes fish, variously seasoned, as with garlic, horseradish, red peppers, and ginger. I was told this is a very healthy food. What ever, I learned to love it, although the first time I smelled it, I could not stand it. But, getting used to it, it is delicious.
It was in South Korea that I have known my employer and get me to the US. Back to the coffee…
Coming back from Chicago to visit my cousin in December 2007, while I was waiting for my plane in Detroit, we had a lay over for about an hour, I ordered for a cup of coffee and a cinnamon bread in one of the coffee stands inside the airport terminal. That was what I have ordered, or so, I thought.
When my order came, I was given a cup of coffee only. I asked the lady cashier, but I have ordered also for a cinnamon. The lady said, “yes, and your cinnamon is already in your coffee”. I was trying to figure out in my mind where did she put my cinnamon bread in my cup of coffee. Well, again there was this long line of people behind me, and I moved on.
While pouring my creamer and my sugar in my cup of coffee, I was mumbling to myself. “Where is my cinnamon bread?” The lady beside me could not stand it, said, “I think you and cashier did not understand each other. She may have thought, you wanted a cinnamon in your coffee”. Well, later I realized, here in the US they put cinnamon in their coffee.
A good friend of mine, Marlon, called me names like, an angel walking with earth people, innocent in so many ways, lacking in social graces, with a loving heart but very sensitive and the latest, while we were walking in the park, said, “do you have to bring your purse with you while we walk?” hahaha
I was surprised because in the Philippines, the rule is, never leave your purse in your car. How could you tell somebody who is used to life in the US, that a hungry man in my country will stake his life for a 50 peso bill which is just equivalent to a dollar in the US?
I realized, being innocent has an advantage. You will not feel embarrassed at that precise moment, only after you’ve come to realize the truth, but by then, you could already be flying above the skies of Michigan going to Washington DC.