AN EXTRA SHOT

Starbucks Double-shot with Korean writing.

It doesn’t mean I’m addicted to coffee if I wait outside the door for a café to open, does it? It doesn’t mean I need caffeine if I wander down some random street in South Korea looking for a café in the rain, right? It just means I like to add an extra shot to start my day. Who doesn’t?

After my early attempt at Acqui Terme Café, it didn’t take long for me to stumble upon Paris Baguette. About a block away from Jeonju University in historical Jeonju, South Korea, this little café is where France apparently meets Asia.

I could tell the place was just opening. Only one man sat outside with his coffee. Inside, a girl busily set pastries out for display. I entered the scene as an obvious foreigner, unable to figure out how to open the automatic door. A couple of waves did the trick.

An already familiar K-Pop song quietly played in the background. I flashed the pastry girl a smile, and she immediately dropped what she was doing to take my order. I asked how she was doing. She answered with a nervous chuckle. I awkwardly giggled back. Then silence.

I kept it simple and ordered a latte directly from the menu. As my drink was being made, another girl kept peeping at me from the kitchen area. I peeked right back at her with a grin. Then she hid. We played this game for a while, until my latte was ready.

These sorts of interactions are what I live for, and are the reason I travel so much. They’re like an added shot of espresso to my day, life. Such simple, practically non-verbal communication can help get past even profound language barriers. I can hardly wait to learn some Korean. Then I’d be able to order a triple-shot latte.

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