Back in May 2005, I stopped consuming caffeine. Occasionally I do this since I don't like the dependency my body develops on the caffeine and how absurdly expensive Starbucks is. Plus, consuming caffeine can reduce fertility. If my well-orchestrated, spreadsheet-based plan to get pregnant was going to work, I wanted everything going in my favor.
If you have ever traveled to Europe, or anywhere else where you have to change time-zones, you realize pretty quickly that life is better with caffeine. So, when Dan and I went to Italy and Austria in September (at about 3 months pregnant), it was time to believe the pro-caffeine propaganda that is published by sympathizers of the coffee and soda pop industry. "...current research has shown that a moderate intake of caffeine won't do any harm to developing fetus. Moderate intake would equal approximately 3 cups of coffee per day (300-400mg of caffeine)."
Given the foreign trip and the clear, un-biased research about caffeine, we created the rule, "Caffeine in foreign countries doesn't count." We proceeded to tour this nifty cafe in Graz, Austria:
Here is the pre-caffeine picture of Dan inside the cafe:
Caffeine consumption in Graz led us to tour some exciting places, including the now-unnamed "Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium"
It also gave us the energy to tour a very interesting sculpture garden...
Dan in Peril!
The Tree Hugger
Our caffeine consumption did not end in Graz, the second largest city in Austria with the third most exciting tourist attractions in Styria. But continued to Vienna where we found a more traditional venue for caffeine consumption:
Once again, here is the pre-caffeine picture of Dan inside the cafe:
And here we are happily touring around Vienna:
Yes, my shirt says, "Knocked Up." This is the advertisement for a happy, caffeinated, touring pregnant woman. And also the advertisement for a happy, connected to a wireless connection, touring Dan.
After our Italy/Austria trip, we returned to the United States and I returned to my decaffeinated state of being. Remember our rule, "Caffeine in foreign countries doesn't count." Little did I know, I would soon make an international move.
In November when we moved to Japan, we went to Starbucks the first day we were here. I dutifully ordered a decaf latte (lattes have calcium). Turns out, they don't offer decaf espresso. So, they made me a decaf coffee. The problem was that it was a french-press sort of coffee, the beans were too finely ground, and it took forever to get. Once again we invoked the rule, "Caffeine in foreign countries doesn't count." The Japanese are just starting to become aware of decaffeinated coffees. Of course, the attitude, "Coffee? Without caffeine? That's crazy!" kind of makes sense.
Every once in a while, I find some good decaf coffee. My favorite is the freshly brewed stuff they have at Tony Roma's. It is very, very good. But most of the time, I just try to limit my intake to a coffee drink every other day. Sometimes I can even avoid the temptation to get the fat-filled mocha with whipped cream and just stick with the latte.
Besides Starbucks, there are other coffee places nearby. The closest Starbucks to us is in Iidabashi station (one of the 3 closest train stations to us). However, between here and there, there are at least 4 different cafes. We have visited many of them, including Cafe Veloce, Cafe de Crie, and Precious Coffee Moments.
We thought that "Precious Coffee Moments" was kind of a strange name for a cafe. But, as their sign says, they have been around since 1933. Who can argue with that.
Dan seems to enjoy the place. Here he is enjoying his very own "Precious Coffee Moment"