Yesterday, I wrote about lunchtime at the office, but I neglected to share two additional elements. (I know you’re wondering how there can possibly be more involved in an hour’s lunch.) First, my mama wanted to know how much my meals cost. Typically, 8-12 CHF (which is virtually the same in USD given the current exchange rates). When compared with prices in the rest of Switzerland, I can say with confidence that our meals must be heavily subsidized.
The second thing I completely forgot to mention is what happens when we finish eating. (And no, not the part about putting our trays on the conveyor belt.) Coffee! At the end of nearly every lunch, the person I’m eating with (and once in a while me, if you can believe it) asks, “Would you like to get a coffee?” (Or, if they’re a non-native English speaker, “Would you like to take a coffee?”) We walk down the stairs together into an area that is full of tall tables and couches. We choose whether we will have a Nespresso or a coffee / tea from the NESCAFÉ machine, and then we find a spot to sit or stand. When the weather is nice, there’s an outside patio with tables & chairs, too. We continue our conversation for another 10 minutes or so over coffee before going back to our desks.
This scene of so many people in business formal attire catching up over coffee in pairs or small groups was so foreign to me when I arrived! Yes, Americans drink coffee, but I’ve never witnessed something quite like this. After nearly two years, it’s become quite normal to me, and I anticipate that it will be one of the things I will miss when I leave here someday.
So, when you come to have lunch with me, you will also be treated to a coffee. And yes, you can enjoy it with a real cup & saucer.