THE Coffee Shop.

My first alarm clock goes off at the wee hour of 4:44am. Reluctantly, after cursing the early time of day at which I wake up in, I crawl out of bed and literally stumble to the bathroom. After getting ready and eating a small breakfast, I gather my things and leave my apartment, locking the door behind me as I start my walk to The Coffee Shop.

Not to work, but to home. 

I don't know if I've shared with you yet, but I am currently working as (surprise!) a barista at The Coffee Shop.

Which one, you ask?

THE one. Coffee Shop is a hidden gem that Siobhan and I first found when I moved to Walnut Creek and I instantly fell in love with the place. 

A neighborhood type joint tucked away on Locust Street, Coffee Shop not only caters to you during all hours of the day (including breakfast and alchohol), but the place itself feels like actual home. 

There's a reason I'm always drawn back to coffee it seems, back to home. 

You all know that since I was near four, I've had an insatiable thirst for that cup of joe. And when I first began work in a coffee shop, it only strengthened my desire to learn more and to continue work in this type of environment. 

As a FIDM graduate, I often feel pressure from the world, and from myself, to take that degree and pursue a "big girl job" in the adult world. In fact, I ran into one of my old college classmates whilst working the other day and at first, I felt ashamed. Wearing casual clothes and working in a coffee shop, I felt that I was caught in some unspeakable act but after thinking about it, I realized it doesn't really matter what other people think, if they even think of me at all that way. 

You know why?

Because I love working in coffee. I had multiple interviews when I first moved here, when I was trying to find my footing (and a job), and I was constantly asked why I wasn't pursuing something in the publishing industry, the industry in which my degree fits in. 

To that I ask: can't a girl have multiple infatuations? Can't a girl have a job that's full of passionate coffee loving individuals? Can't a girl chose a job that means more to her than just paying the bills, a job that’s full of the happiest people?

See, there's a few things in particular that I adore about coffee.

One, the taste, obviously. Along with that comes the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that produces the feeling of euphoria and pleasant feelings. So I'm literally surrounded, all day, every day, by people who are psychologically feeling happy feelings because of this glorious cup that I had the pleasure of making them.

Second, I get to be that person who starts hundreds of people's mornings. We are the one stop shop for folks on their way to work, the supplier of the drug that wakes them up and gets them going. How powerful of a feeling is that?

Thirdly? There's always something new to learn. Whether it's new brewing techniques, practicing latte art, or learning about different coffee regions and how they affect taste, I get to go to work every morning with the knowledge that I'll learn something new.

I'll never apologize for wanting to work in a coffee shop. It's been eight years now since I first started and I know there's many more to come. 

And though being up at 4:44am sometimes kills me, I know that they're worth it, that they're gonna be full of that delicious drug that makes so many people happy.

Making the most important person of all happy: me.



Cool as a Cucumber.

I am not the most savvy when it comes to certain situations. 

Parties, socializing, and anything that has to do with the male gender often have me flustered and ever so awkward. 

In response to my laments in these circumstances, my sister has always said to me: Elan, be cool as a cucumber. 

See, this is the Cool Cucumber she’s talking about:  

I am Cool as a Cucumber.  Confident and casual, I walk through life with certainty and grace. I don’t put all of my eggs in one basket, as I like to spread the wealth and remain cool through it all. I’m chill with boys, don’t overthink things and have a blasse attitude towards difficult situations. I know what I want and who I am. 

Meanwhile, I’m emanating this guy on the inside, a more accurate personification of who I really am... 

I am Shriveled like a Pickle. Slightly self-conscious and unsure of herself at times, I walk through life hiding behind a punny sense of humor and a a contagious grin. I put all of my eggs in one basket, which occasionally leads to disappointment and heartbreak. I’m so not chill with boys (who are these complicated creatures that don’t respond to me in a timely manner and what do they really want with me?), and I have a tendency to overthink and feel deeply . I’m on a roller coaster ride trying to find out who I really am. 

It’s quite a clash of identities, Cool as a Cucumber and Shriveled like a Pickle.  Deep down though, I know I resonate way more with the actions of the Shriveled Pickle. 

Let's be real here! 

What I’m coming to terms with, despite the fact that I just compared myself to a Shriveled Pickle (it’s a metaphor here guys) has to do with acceptance.  

Acceptance and refusing to compare myself to other people is something I’m always working on. It’s easy at times, especially on those days when I feel hella boss, but then there are days when I feel like an actual Shriveled Pickle. And the temptation is there, this comparison to all the Cool Cucumbers out there, which is something I often fight with.

But you know what? Shriveled Pickles are just as suave as Cool Cucumbers. In their own unique way, being a Shriveled Pickle is nothing to be ashamed of. Though I continue to strive and work on being more even keel about certain things, I also can’t be ashamed of who I am. 

And while there are some things I am working on, like not being overly sensitive and learning to take things as they are, I’m gonna rock the Shriveled Pickle in all its glory.  

Also, if this is the look of a Shriveled Pickle, I would say I’m doing the Pickle justice.