Today I made a new friend while waiting in line to be seated at the iconic and very busy Hopetoun Tea Rooms in the heart of Melbourne, renowned for its extravagant and magnificent window display with tiers of mouthwatering cakes, sponges and tarts dressed with fresh and dried fruits dripping honey and glaze. It is literally a feast for the eyes.
I had queued up earlier in the hope of relaxing with a coffee and cake before a business meeting on the upper level of the historical Block Arcade, a site to be seen by tourists exploring the hidden treasures of Melbourne.
Alas, the wait was too long and with disappointment and my taste buds screaming, I left to attend my meeting. When it concluded, I revisited the sparkling display window of the Tea Room. My five senses came alive. I surrendered. In a trance I walked to the end of the queue and would wait, no matter how long it took.
Just like little children waiting eagerly in line, there I met my new friend. She too was also alone in this queue and welcomed me. We made small talk, laughed and giggled like two little girls so eager to devour the beautiful pavlova we both had our heart’s set on. I suggested we share a table if this meant that we could be seated sooner. She didn’t mind a bit.
We both ordered the same herbal tea and pavlova and waiting for our order, learned more about each other.
Emily spends six months of the year here in Melbourne and six months of the year in her native China. She has one son studying second year of University here.
I discovered my new friend and her husband, a businessman, commute frequently between Melbourne and China. Emily lives in Chadstone when in Melbourne and often visits the city centre to browse shops and enjoy the eatery’s in our city centre. Emily’s English was challenging to understand but we managed. We savoured the pavlova, accompanied by cups of aromatic lemon and ginger tea.
When it was time to go, we exchanged goodbyes and took a selfie each on our mobiles before we parted in different directions.
And just like that, friendships can be made queuing for coffee and cake! Friendships can occur anywhere; all it takes is that first hello.