Monday, January 30, 2012

I'm a quitter

The coffee culture in Korea is quite quirky. As one walks down any street in Korea, they can experience a rather rhythmic pattern of establishments. Coffee shop. Hair salon. Pastry shop. Coffee shop. Beauty shop. Hair salon. Hair salon. Coffee shop. Coffee shop. Pastry shop. Clothing store. Ice cream! Coffee shop. Donuts! Coffee shop. And the beat goes on....

Prior to coming to Korea I would easily slide myself more toward the avid coffee drinker side of the caffeine scale but would stop a few notches before obsessed. Now, having lived in Korea for 15 months, I have purchased enough 3 to 5 dollar cups of joy to be moved a couple more notches. CLOSER. to. obsessed. Not ON obsessed. Regardless, the scale is tipping and I would like to maintain balance so for this reason, I have decided to give up coffee for... for...well...I'm not sure for how long but hopefully for a long time. (subjective I know because for those that consume their paper cupped caffeine on a daily basis would argue that 29 hours is a long time to go without) I'm aiming for AT LEAST a year.

This is almost like choosing to give up scarves in the dead of winter--sure you don't need 'em but GEEZ life is toastier and sweeter with 'em. Coffee culture in Korea is unique in two main ways: one, it's thriving and is an automatic default activity among Koreans and two, coffee culture is a night thing, not a morning thing. I feel like in America, coffee shops are like local news stations--they all want to be the first one so they each start their day a bit earlier than their competition (news at 4 am??!!?) where as in Korea they're all fighting to be the last to turn off their light; your typical coffee shop (including Starbucks) doesn't open until 10 or 11 am. However, many won't close until 1 am.

Text book American first date: dinner and a movie (drinks?)
Text book Korean first date: dinner and coffee (more coffee?)

You ever seen a 4 story Starbucks? If you live in Korea you sure have! Yep! 4 floors of tables filled with couples, business partners, friends, singles, students, and so forth.

So I raise my paper cup and plastic lid and propose a steamed and frothy milk toast to myself for giving it up. Cheers. I'll drink to that.

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