Falling in love in a coffee shop
It’s nearing a year anniversary from the last time I checked into this gypsy story. And the story left off with a 20-something english-teacher/documentary-grad/slightly-less-clueless-than-a-year-previous getting on a plane to leave the Thai town that had been my home for a year.
It’s been over a year since I first had the feeling that I was finishing up my last few months in Thailand and I had to return home.
And I remember being asked why I was leaving when I was so clearly out of my mind happy in the life I had created, and the only thing I could say was “I just know I have to leave”
“And I think it’s time to be with my mom”
I visited my mom for 4th of July and I stepped into the closet/room that I had called home for 5 months after my plane landed back in America. And it was only now having space that I could recognize how terribly and tragically difficult it was to move to a completely new place.
Now, I haven’t changed that much and a year, dear readers, so I wouldn’t pretend to know anything.
That being said. I feel like I can reflect on what I’ve learned from all of this. Since the beginning of 2017 I’ve been holding myself accountable and prioritizing my own health and happiness. And just because it’s my blog I feel like I can say that I’m pretty proud of the life I’ve created here through all of that.
So I’ll break it down.
Change sucks. But it was a bit better when I had…
When I got to Fairfax, CA (the hippie-mecca of northern California) I spent one day recovering from my traveling. One day wallowing in self-pity. And the next day I had 4 job interviews, and at the end of the day I had 2 jobs.
And that’s how I ended up working for the last 9 months at a coffee shop in San Anselmo, CA.
And in the beginning it wasn’t ideal. It wasn’t a career path. It wasn’t teaching. I had a degree for gods sake.
But like most things in my life. I got so, so unbelievably lucky.
I joke and say that I don’t have friends, I just have regulars at my coffee shop.
Somehow I ended up at the heart center of a tiny town with a 4-block long main street. And somehow every single person that I love here now wandered into my coffee shop.
A majority of the dates I’ve been on since moving here came from coffee. I met my roommate. I met all my best friends. I managed to meet what feels like every single person who lives in the town. I got my new job through a regular. I’ve lived here 9 months and I can walk down San Anselmo avenue at any time of day, see someone I know and greet them by name.
But it wasn’t like that in the beginning. First I needed…
Looking back at my closet of a room made me realize just how long those first few months felt. Back when I had no one to run errands with. No one to spend a Saturday night with. (I mean, for the first few months I worked almost every day, sometimes both jobs in a day to slave away the self-pity over my pathetic social life)
But it just takes time.
And I was just talking with my college-BFF Annie about this the other day. How before you’ve done the waiting it seems to stretch out for eternity, but once you’ve gotten there, now that I’m at this place of sweet joy in my life–it doesn’t seem too long at all.
Because what really makes it easy is…
Moving is fucking difficult. And I know (from reliable sources–mom) that I wasn’t always the easiest to deal with in the transition.
And I made mistakes.
I worked at a brewery in addition to the coffee shop for a solid 5 months and I remember at some point I was working 8 shifts in 5 days including 3 truly tragic days where I would close the restaurant at 10pm and then have to wake up at 4 am the next day to open the coffee shop. Go from the roasters to the brewery and repeat.
I cried like every day.
And it was a big moment for me I realized that I needed to quit that job. They even tried to get me to train as a server to keep me around. Until finally it just dawned on me that I wasn’t supposed to be there. I was holding onto it for the income, for the sake of pleasing my bosses, and for the idea of my commitment to this place.
But I wasn’t about to manifest anything new until I released the job and created space for something new.
And the next week I was promoted at my coffee shop.
And a few months later I’m creating all sorts of opportunities for myself. Including (but not limited to) solo henna gigs, kids yoga teaching, and elementary school music and dance teaching jobs.
And the moral of the story is this…
It was one of the hardest things for me to do. Leave Thailand on some gut feeling that it was the right thing to do.
Trusting a feeling is terrifying.
And I remember those first few months crying and thinking “what was I doing?” “Why did I come here?”
And like so many things in my life. Maybe it was luck. And maybe it was fate. And (dare I say it) maybe it was me.
Who took a chance on a place I had never been because I felt like I wanted to create a life near my family. And took a chance on a job that didn’t really seem to be taking me anywhere.
And found myself a family. I found myself a group of people who really, really love me.
I found friends who broaden my horizons, take me places, and make me laugh so hard. I found so, so much love.
So this is my little corner of home. It’s not terribly exciting. It’s not terribly dramatic. And it’s not half-way across the world.
But it’s pretty fucking special.