And Just Like That, I Got Closure

a starbucks been there romanis mug is seen on a table against a light green background


This is my Romania mug.

I got it the very first time I ever visited a Starbucks in my home town – Sibiu, Romania. I never knew they had opened stores in Romania and, when I saw one, my eyes got big.

Now, for some, a Starbucks “been there” series mug may not be a big deal, but this one may just be the biggest for me.

I was last home in Sibiu in August 2019. I bought that ticket on a whim, all for the need to liquidate my grandparents’ possessions, sell the condo and officially become the heir of their estate. No easy feat, by any means. Everything was as complicated as it could be, legally and… by matters of the heart, as anyone could imagine. It got even more complicated after it was seemingly solved!!! But, staying on track here…

Ahhh yes, the day I ran into Starbucks. 

My mom, who was usually with me every step of the way, left me to my own devices that day. I had to handle closing the cable/internet/phone contract with the telephone company. I had a vague idea what that meant, so I went in, confident this would be solved on the spot. Boy, was I wrong and boy, had I been gone from Romania for waaay too many years!

The guy who first helped me said I had to go to the condo, find some type of equipment and return it to the company, as it was on loan. Mmmmmkay. No idea how the equipment looked, no idea where to look for it, my mom was not with me. Fine, we got this.

So I finally called mom, she described where it could possibly be and I found said equipment. Went back to the phone company, mind you, walking about 20 blocks back and forth in the dead of August because… I don’t have a car and… STOP IT, THERE IS NO UBER IN ROMANIA!!!

I entered the office where, in the same dead of August, people absolutely DO NOT believe in air conditioning, there is not a breeze of air in sight, and not a measly water fountain in the entire building to have a drink of water. What the actual hell.

I asked the same guy who first helped me how long it’ll take until we can get things sorted out. I was not waiting inside, it was way too hot and I couldn’t breathe. He all but rolled his eyes, gave me this look and called for a colleague.

So I obviously lost my shit. I was hot, I was angry and so damn done. Went outside literally in tears, as it was totally cooler out there in the August heat than in the building. I wish I was kidding.

I just felt that panic attack coming, because… allthefeels. I just couldn’t breathe. No air, I just gasped and heaved and tears and… everything came out.

E. V. E. R. Y. T. H. I. N. G.

Eventually I went back in and just had to ask someone, anyone, for some water, even tap! I just had to have some water in my body or I was about to pass out.

Dude’s colleague saw me in distress and said she’d help, all I needed to do was to have a seat and breathe. She brought water and asked what I was there for. I barely got the words out: needed to close the contract for my deceased grandfather’s account. 

I noticed she could barely hold herself together, and I was sobbing uncontrollably at that point. She kept making trips to the back to bring me more water and kept asking if I was okay. She did her work, checked the equipment, closed the contract, I signed and we were done.

The entire time we never really looked at each other, but I knew in that moment I had a personal connection with that girl. It was like this silent “I got your back!” 

I never got her name and I’m sure we’ll never meet again. But at the end of August 2019, in a really hot office building, in front of about 30 strangers, I cried my eyes out and found closure for my grandfather’s passing.

After walking out, I locked eyes on the Starbucks store across the street and ordered a nice, cooling cup of ice water… which Europeans just don’t do! I messaged Brad “I’m home”. He answered with “you’re crazy”, but he got it 🙂


two Starbucks cups are seen in the foreground, showing the blurred background of a Starbucks store


And at the end of a very relaxing hour and a good, strong espresso, I also bought my souvenir Starbucks Romania coffee mug. One with a story. 

Every time I make coffee or tea, I’m reminded that my Grandpa is never truly gone. He’s just chilling somewhere with Grandma, watching over us and guiding for better judgement. 

About that and the beginning of this 2020 chaos… another time.

I miss his smartass every day!!!

black and white vintage photo of a tall man walking along a lake shore with boat showing in background


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