Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Karen and The Hugger

I have 2 more days left in the coffee industry world from the barista's perspective. The change is beginning to sink in with me. I am overwhelmed and excited. Scared and nervous. Unsure and sure all at one time. have you ever been there? Where you were riding the roller coaster of emotions? Often times for me, that roller coaster has occurred because of a dramatic (bad) change or event in life.  For the first time in a very long time, this is happening for one of the best changes ever.
  That being said, I will miss my daily interactions with some of these people. They tell me I have touched their lives; but to me honest, they have touched mine. Hence, I write these stories recently of all the different people with whom I have crossed paths. The blogs will flow for a bit even after I leave the coffee world because I have been privileged enough to have had that many interactions.

  Today I tell a story about 2 different women who have deeply touched me.

First, there is Karen.
   I do not always recall my first encounters with people. But with Karen, the first encounter stands out in huge ways, probably because she tells the story over and over. Yet, for me the story never gets old; it has grown endearing. Karen first came in to order a large caramel macchiato. For some reason, and I cannot remember what that was, I pegged Karen as a Starbucks drinker. So when she ordered her coffee (skinny, by the way) I had to ask/explain several things before making her drink. First, I asked her if she was a Starbucks frequenter. When the answer was yes, I explained that our C.M. was different from a Starbucks one. And did she want it the Starbucks way or our way? She laughed about this, but chose the Starbucks way. Her drink ever since then, although to a common person would just be called a skinny caramel macchiato, to most people around the building, it became known as "The Karen". I literally would have people come order The Karen.  There are others who pegged themselves a drink as well, but Karen's became the most ordered (perhaps because she told the story often enough others knew...)
   Along the way, Karen became a friend. Being as busy as she is, our conversations are not long, but they are meaningful. Karen, by no means takes the place of my mom, but has often times provided just the bit of encouragement to me that my mom would have done. Days I missed my mom terribly, Karen seemed to know this and would say just the right words. We would share stories about our moms or about our loss of mothers. Many days, when I was struggling as a parent, Karen would listen. She has raised daughters and k nows the struggle of what a mom who works full time can be. She let me often share my frustrations over those things or the transition in parenting a middle school girl. She knew what to say to help me see myself differently (just like my mom did). Karen always encouraged my runs and supported my early morning endeavors. Karen has often had just the right amount of wisdom and encouragement to give me in the moments I felt doubts and discouragement. She has frequently helped push my endeavors as a writer in ways others have not, usually unbeknownst to her. She said she came for coffee for her moment of peace in the day.....but what she didn't know is that her visit often provided me with the boost of encouragement I needed that day. God knew we'd need each other, I think, is how I view that.  Karen has made an imprint on my life.

Secondly, I do not know if she would want named, so I leave her nameless in this blog. But we will call her "The Hugger".
   She is not a coffee drinker. She loves hot chocolate with a splash of peppermint. I do not remember first meeting her. Time passed before we developed a deeper friendship, but along the way, she has come to know me at a depth others do not. She gave up her hot chocolate during the Lent season, but she came in every day anyway just to give me a hug and say "hi". She would stop what she was doing if she passed by me while I was at my cash register at lunch and give me a hug. She didn't have to hear my voice to see in my eyes when I was having a tough day. I don't wear it on my sleeve (usually) but the hugger somehow always knew. I have run into her on many occasions outside of work- the grocery store, clothes shopping or the mall, and every time, the first thing that happens is that she gives me a giant hug. I never told her I love hugs and how much they mean to me, but she just gives them, and that always brightens my day. She understands grief. She has watched me develop dreams and passions and ambitions and has been one behind saying "Go for it! You can do totally do this ...and you better do this!" The hugger has come to be a very close friend to me, and her strength, determination, go get 'em attitude, security in who she is and vibrancy for life have inspired me beyond words. The tid bits of wisdom she shares when it's appropriate have caused me to pause and think and grow in who I am. The hugger has made an imprint on my life.

These 2 women are unique and special.
 Each person is.
   That is one of many lessons I have learned in being a barista- we each have gifts and abilities, no matter what our position or status in life. I will share some of those things tomorrow.
     Stories to follow in days to come about my bosses and a plethora more of customers....

My time in the coffee industry has been special and unique, no doubt.

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