Today I met up with a friend who recently had a baby. After a walk-about until baby went to sleep, we headed to Starbucks.
I know, I know. I went to Starbucks. That evil corporate giant who sucks the lifeblood out of the small, locally owned coffeehouses across the United States.
In my own defense, Switzerland is not known for it's Coffeehouse Culture. With few exceptions, Starbucks is pretty much it. It's not like there were any other coffeehouses to put out of business.
Plus, Starbucks is an extremely popular choice among mothers due to its strict corporate policy of Non-Smoking, which incredibly extends into the Smoker's Haven that is Switzerland. No second-hand smoke mingling with the pregnant women and the youn'uns. Or me, for that matter. So, give me a break already. (And yes, Kaite, I am talking to YOU!)
Anyway, while placing my order I realized that I wasn't speaking German. Though in most exchanges I have on a daily basis I doggedly continue to speak German even when they respond in English. Not a single German word had passed my lips since I walked through the door.
Then it hit me. I have never spoken German at any Starbucks I have visited since moving here. In fact, this is the first I have noticed that I don't attempt German while within the walls of a Starbucks. Not even to say Verstehen Sie Englisch, bitte?
After some thought I figured out why. Starbucks is the most American-feeling place in Europe. (Well, aside from the US embassies. But that's different.) My point is that it didn't occur to me that I should speak German in Starbucks.
It's an American company with an American feel and I am going to speak, well, American. And I won't feel a single ounce (not gram!) of guilt about it either.
One last note: Ya think Starbucks is expensive in the US? Hah! Try paying over 5 chf (close to $5 USD) for a small cup of tea! And they won't even give you more hot water for free. Astoundingly enough, it no longer puts me into cardiac arrest. Have I gotten accustomed to how expensive everything is in Zürich?