I shall now start a series called: “Something I Like, Something Which I Do Not.” It will begin with me saying something I like, and then it will end with me saying something I do not. It will include all kinds of context and rationale, and it will not be meant as culturally insensitive… it will just be my opinion.
Here we go:
1. Something I Like:
The extreme variety of teas here in a basic grocery store. OK. grocery stores are a little bit different than at home. There are a few main store names (Mercator, Hofer, Spar), and every few blocks in Ljubljana contains one of them. Each is very small in comparison to American grocery stores (less than half the size of The Dump in Durham, N.H., for example, which I consider to be a small-ish grocery store anyways). In any case, that means that each grocery store does not carry the same things (they each might have a minimum of 15 different types of produce for sale, for example, but they might have slightly different varieties).
However, even the smallest of the grocery stores here–the size of a little gas station mart at home (and I’m talking about the little ones–not the large ones)–Yes, even the smallest grocery stores here contain at least three dozen or more varieties of tea. Heavenly!
This means that every single time I walk into a grocery store, I feel the urge to purchase another box of tea. This is highly unnecessary because I already have the following:
– strawberry vanilla
– green tea with mint
– English breakfast
– Winter Time
– Magic Moments
– Winter Fairytale
All the winter time/magic moments/winter fairytale varieties include some kind orange and cinnamon combination, mixed with a slightly different variety of spices and other fruits. Yum!
[It should be noted that where I indicate that grocery stores are smaller here, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Bigger is not always better. And there are a few really, really huge–Super Wal-Mart sized–grocery stores outside the city center in Ljubljana. I just don’t usually go to them because I don’t have a car or a bike (yet), so I can only buy what I can carry home in my environmentally-friendly neon pink mesh bag with a quote in German from Walt Disney. And, yes, I bought said bag at a Ljubljana bookshop.)
2. Something Which I Do Not (Like).
The absense of chai. Ah, this is always a rough conversation. The word for tea in Slovenian is čaj, which is said the same exact way that we say chai. So if I ask if the local cafe has chai, the answer is: Of course, what kind of čaj? And then the result is a cup of some kind of tea, which I most certainly always like (I’m not sure I’ll ever get on the coffee band wagon), but… it’s not chai :/
A friend introduced me to a place called the Čaj Hiša (Tea House) in the old city center… and lo and behold, on the menu, was the following: Indian chai. Thus, I had a cup of chai with all kinds of happy good things in it.
Was it the same as at home? No.
Do I still miss my Panera chai latte, or the delicious beverages in the pumpkin spice chai variety from Tea Luxe on Thayer? Yes.
Was the Indian chai at the Čaj Hiša enough to make me smile for a while, however? Yes.
Am I capable of finding said Čaj Hiša on my own again, without the guide of my dear friend?
The answer to that question is probably quite obvious. If I still manage to get lost while using a GPS in my home state, you can infer the answer to that question for yourselves.