Blog Post

One coffee to-go, please!

7. August 2023

One thing I realised when moving to New Zealand is the amount of to-go coffees people order. Coming from a country where a coffee is easily $15, we simply don’t buy to-go coffees. Instead, we sit down and drink our coffee. We meet up with friends at cafés. We read a book. We enjoy our coffee. Before moving to New Zealand I would rarely ever get a to-go coffee while driving.

Here, though, it seems that everything is takeaway. I don’t know why that is exactly, but in my personal opinion you are missing out if you always get your coffee or food takeaway.

Here’s a little story. My partner and I were once visiting Istanbul, and he had already had dinner and just wanted to go back to our apartment. I gave him the key, and continued to wander around the cobblestone streets for a bit and found this cosy vegetarian Turkish place. Originally, my thought was to get the food takeaway, because I was alone, and I didn’t have a phone or a book with me. But looking at the chairs in the shade with the vines around them, I thought to myself that it looked so lovely that I wanted to sit down and enjoy my dinner at the place.

At first it felt a bit awkward. Remember I had no phone, book or anything. But then I started chatting with the waiter. What food would he recommend? It was our first night in Istanbul so I was keen to have some authentic Turkish food. He told me all about his favourite foods, and I ended up with a delicious meal.

I chatted with the waiter some more, and soon realised that he was a tour guide, and knew the history of Istanbul very well. Soon I had a list of insider tips about Istanbul, and I knew about the history of the area we were staying in.

It was delightful.

Had I gotten my dinner takeaway style or had I been on my phone the whole time, I doubt I would have visited the Galata Tower bright and early the next morning. I doubt I would have tasted havuç tarator (A Turkish carrot salad), and I probably would not have realised that the area we were staying in was built by the Byzantines.

It was not a life-changing experience, but it was truly delightful, and it left me feeling inspired and excited about exploring the ancient city.

So, perhaps sometimes, sit down and drink your coffee. Don’t get your dinner takeaway. Leave your phone at home. Strike up a conversation with a stranger. You never know, they might just have a story up their sleeve.