When I brought home an Amsterdam city mug from Starbucks my then husband remarked, “I thought you weren’t collecting those.” As I placed that mug in the cabinet next to the others I responded, “I’m not.” Yes, there were multiple mugs, but I don’t just pick up mugs from every Starbucks in every city I step foot in. Shoes, yes. Clothes, most definitely. Starbucks city mugs, no. My mug gathering is not willy-nilly. It has a rhyme and a reason.
The first mug was from Los Angeles. The blue city mugs that I’d seen previously didn’t float my boat. However, I was instantly drawn to the beautifully soothing green hues on this mug. And the palm trees. As a native Angeleno living in the land of the endless grey sky, that imagery of sunny southern California with its perfect weather and palm tree-lined avenues and a cappuccino are what gets me going some days.
I’ve since added a second Los Angeles mug to my * ahem * “collection”, but to be fair, the You Are Here series mug was a gift from my daughters who thought I would like it.
Then there’s the Paris mug. More sepia-colored than green, and with red accents, the scenes of my beloved city seduced me right away. How could I not get this mug? And can there really be a Paris without France? Same sepia tones, different scenery.
But in my defense, I can’t be accused of collecting the France mug because it was given to me as a thank you by the ladies who went on the Cordon Bleu tour I organized. And while I probably wouldn’t have bought it myself, it compliments the Paris mug quite nicely, don’t ‘cha think?
The next acquisition was the Amsterdam city mug. Canals, row houses with gabled roofs, and on the backside, an omafiets. Quintessential Amsterdam. I do live in The Netherlands, and since it took FOREVER for Starbucks to come to here (the first store opened in Schiphol Airport in 2007) I kinda feel like I’ve earned that one.
So you see, it’s not so much a collection as little snapshots of my life and travels. Where I was born (Los Angeles), my soul city and where I would live if given the opportunity (Paris), and (close to) where I live currently (Amsterdam) since there wasn’t one in The Hague.
Starbucks opened its first location in The Hague in 2011, and while at the time there were no specific city mugs*, there was a Netherlands mug, which I added to my quote-unquote collection.
The Netherlands mug has shades of orange, as the Dutch royal family hails from the House of Orange-Nassau, with scenes of the typically Dutch windmill on the front and tulip on the back.
Don’t judge me. If ever a Starbucks mug was earned, after living in The Netherlands for a century, that one most certainly was.
I have since added mugs from Buenos Aires (my first time in South America; how could I not?), Beijing (because…China. C’mon!), Mexico City (it felt exotic) and Chile (it also felt exotic, and I chose Chile over Santiago because of the wine glass on the mug). I’ve also picked up a couple of travel mugs, the most notable being Russia with an image of a babushka on front.
As I look in my cupboard many years and several Starbucks city mugs later, I smile at the little snapshots of my life and travels, and chuckle to myself as I admit that I just might collect Starbucks city mugs after all.
What do you collect on your travels?
UPDATED APRIL 2020 *
Originally posted on the blog formerly known as Ms. Wooden Shoes in April 2009.**