Today marks the beginning of my last week working as a coffee shop barista. Maybe not forever–hey, who knows what the future will bring–but for now. For the foreseeable future.
It’s bittersweet. This is the first job I got in DC, not a week after I made myself at home in a tight, un air-conditioned, vacant loft space in a college friend’s crappy Arlington, Virginia rental house (this isn’t an insult to my college friend–she no longer lives there, but considered it a dump herself. It was an old house that wasn’t well-kept up).
I worked there 15-20 hours a week last summer until I got my temp job in September. During the six months I spent at my 9-5 office job, I worked at the coffee shop on the weekends. My financial well-being was lacking when I moved to DC–teaching in Thailand enriched my life, but certainly not my bank account–and I needed the extra money. Plus, I didn’t know what the future would bring post-temp, and I wanted to ensure I had a back up income. This was an intuitive move–when I started my part-time online teaching job, I needed those coffee shop hours.
I certainly didn’t appreciate the job enough while I had it. In the year and two months of my employment at the coffee shop, I spent more than enough time griping about it. I was hesitant to take the job in the first place–I had already done the barista gig the summer before I moved to Thailand and thought I should try something new. Additionally, I believed that making minimum wage as a college graduate was insulting (granted, DC minimum wage is much higher than the national average, but it was an ego thing–which I’ve since worked to quell). My mom had to give me a pep talk about how IT’S A JOB and you currently don’t have one, which knocked a bit of sense into me. When I got my part-time ESL job and realized I wanted to pursue teaching, I spent more than enough time looking through job postings for additional teaching opportunities, to a future when Continue reading “Hanging Up The Apron”
If we were having coffee, we might meet at one of the plethora of little cafes within twenty minutes walking distance of my house in both directions. Perhaps, if we felt a little extravagant, we might be settled in for a nice, long brunch complete with not just coffee, but maybe a mimosa or two. Brunch is huge on the East Coast, at least compared to the Midwest, and DCers mean business when they do brunch. In addition to multiple brunch spots nearby, there are so many things to do see and do in my neighborhood and the surrounding neighborhoods. I can’t wait to explore more and find the best places for eating, drinking, and entertainment. Today is my day off, so I’m taking it slow but also want to give myself some time to explore more. When I was walking to the grocery store today, I stumbled upon two farmers markets within a few blocks of each other. I was super psyched about that and bought some local peaches from the one nearest to my house!
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my third housemate moved in earlier this week and she’s been great so far. Last night, we hit happy hour together at a nearby restaurant and it was great to talk to her and get to know her more. Overall, the dynamic of our house is shaping up to be really awesome and I think it will only improve when fourth Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare–In Which I Settle In”
If we were having coffee, I would tell you about how the majority of this week has consisted of job applications with minimal exploring in between. Although there is so much to see and do in the DC area, being unemployed has resulted in me staying at home and not doing a whole lot in an effort to save money. That’s okay because when it all comes down to it, I’m a bit of a homebody. However, it’s also gotten a bit excessive to the point where I’ve started having conversations with the cat in between job applications.
I’m not one who believes everything happens for a reason.
Life is too sporadic, too uncertain for every single thing in this life to happen for a specific reason.
Life just happens. We make meaning out of what happens. What happens affects us whether for better or for worse. But I don’t believe there’s any rhyme or reason behind it. One small second, change of plan, different action could have changed something, everything. But it didn’t…and life goes on.
I also believe that the best things in life happen when we aren’t looking.
So, around four months ago when I found a job posting on Indeed.com for an espresso bar barista at a gas station situated in the suburb over from where I live, I wasn’t looking for a life changing experience. I was simply looking for something to keep me busy between graduating from college in May and heading off on my next big adventure as an English teacher in Thailand
in September. A full time job where I could earn enough money to be able to pay for all my Thailand travel expenses without having to worry too much about finances, while spending the Continue reading “An Ode to the Gas Station I Called Home this Summer”
If we were having coffee, I’d start off out by telling you that this week has been awesome. Truly awesome. I’m down to a week and a half before I leave the country for an indefinite amount of time and I want to make the most of the time I have left here…and I feel like I’ve definitely been doing that this week.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about how I visited my college town earlier this week for the first time since I left as a new graduate in May. I’d tell you about how wonderful it was to be back and how I practically started crying when I drove up to campus and greeted my friends on the campus mall. There were tears and they were of the best kind. I was so happy to be back. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed campus until I was all the sudden there again. It was so wonderful to spend time with some of my dearest friends and I loved getting to see a bunch of people whom I hadn’t seen in ages. I also ran into my former history adviser and one of my favorite professors on campus, which was wonderful (hm…I’m using the word wonderful a lot in this paragraph. But this visit was so wonderful that my usual attention to variations in word choice while writing is failing me…and I don’t even know how else to describe it). I’m so unbelievably glad I got to go back before I leave for Thailand. This place means so much to me and, given my current sense of wanderlust, adventure, and a general need not be living in Minnesota for at least the time being, it’s quite possible that I wont be back again for…well, years. Seeing so many people that I know I wont get to see for ages and ages now that I’m Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare–Back to College (for a Day), Friends Time, and Thailand is Getting Closer!”
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that oh, hey, I had a head lice scare earlier this week! What? Head lice, which is much more common among children and here I am at 22 being told I had lice…AND I NEVER SPEND TIME WITH CHILDREN! A dermatologist told me this lovely news on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, before heading to work, my mom and I stopped at this lice specialist (they highly recommended Mom come too because we live together. Dad shaves his head, so no worries there) only for them to tell me there that the dermatologist was sorely confused. I actually don’t have lice. Of course, this is after I paid a good sum of money for a lice treatment product and had to endure my mother freaking out the whole of Tuesday night because of my supposed lice infestation. Well, I made it through childhood without head lice and now, it seems, I’ve made it one step further in adulthood. I don’t have lice. Huzzah! Makes for a good story, though, right?
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that work is fabulous. My body is adjusting to the long hours on my feet so I don’t hurt as much as I used to when I get home. My coworkers are all great, which is an added plus. Basically, I get to make coffee and other delicious drinks all day. I also bake cookies (another task on my work list) when needed. This is my job, people, and I love it! Well, there’s the cleaning up and around the espresso bar, too, which I don’t mind, because I’ve always found Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare–So About that Head Lice and Other Stories”
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, as an espresso bar barista, I’ve been scooping up more ice cream than making any sort of coffee drink…by far. From there, I’d probably spend a few short minutes complaining about how unbelievably sore my right arm is from completing that task about seventy-five times within an hour (five scoops per twenty ounce milkshake and I surely made fifteen, if not more).
If we were having coffee, I’d have to explain to you how the espresso bar I work in is actually located inside a gas station. It’s a pretty nice gas station, as gas stations go, and, along with the espresso bar, there’s also a full deli where customers can get hot food. It’s a hot spot for lunch and yesterday, Friday, was hopping. There’s a special the deli offers that includes a twenty ounce milkshake or a smoothie with the meal so, naturally, right after customers get their food to go, they come our way. There were three of us behind the counter at one point all vying for the two blenders (something we desperately need at least two more of) to make either another smoothie or milkshake order. Mostly milkshakes yesterday. I’d tell you that, to make matters worse, my utter dependency on the recipe binder (It was my third day, I definitely DON’T have all the recipes memorized yet) slowed us down a bit. Well, at least I can say I can now make chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and oreo milkshakes without the binder after yesterday…but those are basically the easiest recipes anyhow. I’d probably then say something along the lines of, “Welp, we all have to start somewhere.” After that, I’d finally remember to point out–since I got side tracked with the milkshakes–that there’s also a Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare — The Barista Scoop Edition”