Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hello Toronto!

A large tin box with almost 200 people crammed into little seats... all strangers except perhaps the one person you have chosen this torture with.
4 hours of being crammed in next to sweaty, gas prone strangers..... on this particular tour of hell we had the privilege of sharing this space with many spawns one who decided to cry.... no wait.... scream the entire 4 hours.... oh what joy!

We arrive at our destination tired and relieved to be away from that particular set of humanoids.

Toronto.... I always forget what it is like here until I arrive..... people... so many people... everywhere.
It is a people watching heaven!
I was tickled to see a scruffy looking dude in his late 40's perhaps wandering down the street talking to himself... and happier yet when his conversation turned into an all our argument with his imaginary buddy... I couldn't get a clear shot to take his picture... but I wanted too.
And I chickened out when it came to taking the hookers picture who was stationed around the corner from our hotel.

I also forgot the size and amount of office buildings in the downtown core.  You get used to little ole' Calgary and then get here and it is almost overwhelming... like a forest of metal, glass and concrete.
I'm excited to be  here and wish we had at least one more full day to explore the city center... expose the memories from the recess of my brain.  This was after all my stomping ground from a very long ago past.

One memory and experience that I could do without is the humidity.
Our bodies definitely become conditioned to where we live.... and I am having way too hard of a time getting used to the constant feeling of being sticky and wet.
The heaviness of the air making it hard to take a deep breath.... however when that deep breath is taken you are sucking in the smog that surrounds this city, and with the humidity there is tons.

Ah Toronto.... like a long lost friend.... other than a face lift and a tummy tuck to make surface improvements you are still the same girl I left behind all those years ago.
By the way.. thanks for the Blue Jays game last night... too bad they couldn't have won!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Java Joys

So this opportunity arose that I just 'couldn't' say no to..... even though my mother kept asking what was in it for me and that I 'better' get a job out of it.......... a volunteer experience at the  Prairies Regional Barista Competition.

I was given the job of score keeper.
At the time I was thinking I would just be adding up numbers that were handed to me and that would be that.... and I was just handed numbers.
However I would enter these numbers into a program on the computer and then compare my entries with a buddy who was doing the same..... we then recorded the correct totals to a score sheet......

Our position at the Championship gave us the honour of looking like we were in a huge position of authority............ and we kinda were.......... with knowledge!

We were the ONLY ones in the entire building who knew, KNEW, who was in first place or last place.. not even the judges had this information.
It was great.

But what was even better was being able to see the score sheets and read all the comments from the judges.  I felt like I could get up there and compete myself that very moment knowing what they were looking for.
I 'learned' so much.. and from the best top Baristas in our area...

My mother was wondering what was in it for me.... experience, knowledge,connections, and a sense of belonging... that was what I got out of it.
I am going to miss this community of 'coffee' very much... and my time at this Championship had me questioning my motives for selling my business (only briefly).
But I do know I want back in the coffee industry somehow..... not owning my own place, but perhaps working for one.
I would love to either work for Fratello OR a trendy coffee shop that sends it's well trained Barista's to competition and focuses on latte art and extreme coffee knowledge.
There are some incredible high end roasters in this province, Fratello, Transcend, Phil and Sebastian and Kienna coffee, and they were all present at this competition, we are lucky to have this quality available to us Albertans...... Time to go on a province trekk and hunt out the shops that were competing this weekend.

I think for me it will always be about the java... how could it not... it has been who I am for the last 6 years.