From Coffee, Canada, to Kuwait [a tribute to Tim Hortons]

After living in Kuwait for a four months, I can now declaratively announce that Thursdays are the best day of the week.

Thursday’s hold a collective sigh of relief amongst teachers as we acknowledge that we’ve made it through another week. Despite all the grading, the lesson planning, contacting parents, and coaching, it’s OKAY because the weekend is here.

Thursday is also the day that Tim Hortons comes to campus!

I’m not going to lie… when I’m in Canada, my attitude towards Tim Hortons is mediocre at best. The coffee’s not greatttttt (although I’ll never turn it down), the donuts are definitely smaller than what they were in the 90s, and I always leave Timmies with a permanent Timmies stink in my clothes.

But once I moved to Kuwait, and really, whenever I’m travelling, I suddenly turn into this freelancing Tim Hortons advocate:

“You’ve never had Tim Hortons!? We NEED to change that.”
“Timbits are LIFE.” (On a side note: all of my students here in Kuwait now know what a Timbit is and how amazing they are).

I’m still not sure why I have this transformation to advocate, but regardless, my Thursday mornings here in Kuwait are better because Tim Horton’s is in it.

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In my attempt to discover where this passionate advocacy stemmed from, I thought back to my earliest Tim Hortons understandings. My earliest memory? A chocolate glazed donut.

As a little girl, I used to wake up on school day mornings and come downstairs to meet my grandfather, who was always seated on the couch with donuts in hand. One for my brother (it was always a maple dip), one for my sister (also a maple dip) and one for me. My donut of choice: a chocolate glazed.

And while I’m sure my mother disapproved of this daily sugar-filled routine, this school day morning tradition informed my earliest understanding of Timmies. The pleasant aroma of coffee and donuts gently wafted its way through my young and impressionable nostrils and nestled itself as a memory in my heart.

As I grew up, Tim Hortons was connected to all things soccer.

Whether it was practices, tournaments, or games, Tim Hortons became a part of almost every soccer memory I’ve ever had.

When the new season started, we’d pack up our van with players and equipment, and head off into the GTA to play other teams in our league. Our carpool pick-up location? Tim Hortons. If we were early for a game? Stop at Tim Hortons. Had the earliest time-slot in a tournament? You might even run into some of your teammates with their parents at the nearest Tim Hortons to the field.  Tim Hortons was everywhere.

As I moved into my teenage years, I began to discover the versatile wonders of Timmies.

I learned that a Tim Hortons breakfast sandwich and coffee could (almost) cure a hangover. I learned it was a quintessential safe gift to give the person who had everything. It was the perfect kind of thank you gift. It was the relatively ‘cool’ place to hangout as a young teenager (“Do you want to go to the Lundy’s Lane Tim Hortons? or the Tim/Wends?”).

When I went off to university, we’d build in a Tim Hortons stop on that four hour road trip from Niagara to Kingston. Tim Hortons helped me get through my lectures and seminars, and supported me as I wrote way into the night to finish essays on Wordsworth or Blake.

Around this time I started to understand how Tim Horton’s was connected to the Canadian identity. Part of being Canadian (I think), is always being confused about what being Canadian is. We’re nice (ish), we don’t really have a national dish, although the argument’s out there for poutine, we love hockey… ??? But we struggle with this idea of national “identity”.

However, Tim Hortons is one REALLY CANADIAN THING.

So when I arrive at school each Thursday morning and stand in the Tim Hortons line waiting to pay for my $4.36 coffee, I am SO HAPPY. Because through one small stroke of luck, a little piece of home – one than has nestled itself into nearly every memory of my upbringing – is here with me in Kuwait.

And when I take my first sip of that Tim Hortons coffee in the morning, I am momentarily transported home, and to all the wonderful memories of home that Tim Hortons has helped shape and create in my life.

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