Drink sizes in England are very underwhelming. Or perhaps they’re more appropriate, but I haven’t seen a latte bigger than 12 ounces since I’ve been here. I want the Polar Pop-sized coffee, I need it. But I’ve had to make do. Which is why I am sitting in this perfect little coffee shop, sipping my second vanilla latte in two hours. It’s fine.
One of the best things about being anywhere (A+ syntax!) is having the chance to wander around and find little spaces like this one. It’s got plenty of natural light, cozy corners filled with very on-point throw pillows, and all of the baristas look they could quite possibly be starring in a Sundance film at this very moment. So hip! So beautiful! Being away from Bloomington has left a Pourhouse-shaped hole in my heart, but I think I may have found a (temporary) replacement.
I like coffee shops because I like coffee, but more importantly, because I like the universality of coffee. You can walk into a coffee shop and pretty much know what you’re going to find. It can be very soothing. Sure, I don’t understand how the rate of exchange actually works or the casual use of the word “love” as a term of endearment, but I understand coffee. I understand sitting here and watching the people as they come and go. That I can do. And I wonder how long I have to sit here before I become one of them—before I become a regular, before the Sundance kids and I can all laugh and talk about our modules (aka classes) and they can invite me to all the cool happenings around town. The required time for this is probably less than I have.
Which is another thing I’ve been thinking about. As I’ve been wandering around, drinking my weight in coffee, I’ve had this nagging sense of transience. I’m neither here nor there. I’m passing through, like a little ghost. It’s just that five months is a long while, and also not very long at all when most of these people seem to have roots here. Even if I do keep coming to this café on a regular basis, even if the adorable barista with the dyed grey hair (COME ON) can anticipate my order, I’ll have to leave again. It’s not a bad feeling, this temporariness. I think we probably have it in us all the time, but mostly we can ignore it because we’ve got more pertinent things to worry about. I guess coming over here has made me more aware of it, and I’m extremely grateful to be able to be feeling this while drinking a very nice latte in a foreign country. But it’s a lot to think about.
I suppose this is the point where I should make a declaration about living in the now and being all here! But I’m feeling a bit too over-caffeinated and a bit too flimsy at the moment. Instead I sit and listen to everyone chattering around me and I pay attention to this feeling which is not really loneliness, but probably its second cousin. Just then, one of the baristas is passing and turns to me to say, “Your glasses are really beautiful.” And I say thank you and then go into an unnecessary explanation of Warby Parker. And I’m here—at least for a bit.