3rd Journey Update: Sprinting Through a Marathon

Once I was 20 years old.

I only see my goals.

I don’t believe in failure.

Cause I know the smallest voices can make it major.

Lukas Graham

July 2016

They say when life gives you lemons…

MAKE LEMONADE – But what if you’d rather make coffee? Chasing dreams is kind of like that, isn’t it? We search the world until finally find that one thing that lifts our spirit and fills our soul. It feels like our purpose… drive, destiny, higher calling, or whatever we want to call it. Yup, this is it! So as expected, we pursue it like a dog chases a stick. Yea, dreams! Then, Life, like the sick freak she is, sends you lemons after we’ve already invested in milk, sugar, and a coffee cup. Ah, those damn dreams!

First, the drama.

By the end of June 2016, Life was finally playing in my favor. After months of job searching in the Parisian cafe scene, I scored a rendez-vous for a barista position at a well-known café in town. Talk about a sweet deal. I, for sure, aced the interview, and was invited to return for a trial-run in a weeks time. Before being officially hired in France, new employees are given un essai, which can last anywhere from one day to 3 months, wherein the employer can observe your work ethic, but can also fire you at anytime. “Super! I’m set for my year in Paris,” I thought, “Just have to impress the socks off them during the trial-run.” In the week following the interview, I went back to the café a few times to watch the baristas work, taking note of all the service phrases and coffee lingo they used. In my mind, I was ready!

Then the day before the trial-run…

THEY CANCELLED! Ah, just my luck, they hired someone else who had more café experience than I. Without a doubt, Life served them a real, tasty glass of  lemonade that day. Needless to say, I was devastatedfrustratedexhausted, and most of all, I felt betrayed by Paris, the place I decided to call my home for the next year. So, I packed my bags, wrote a tantrum-esk post on FB, and ran away from soul-crushing Paris to my host family in Lübeck, Germany.

I know. So melodramatic!

In the security of my home-away-from-home…

Catniss quit the Scouts because they weren’t badass enough!

I spent 12 glorious days recharging from Life and re-evaluating my 生き甲斐 [i·ki·ga·i]. Ah, those damn dreams! Killing time with this awesome sista-from-another-mista definitely helped with the recuperation process. For the purpose of this article and for the sake of her privacy, I will call her Katniss, but with a C because, although she hasn’t killed anyone (that I know of), Catniss* has the same level of badassery as the HG character. Honestly, she isn’t afraid of anything! She’s only 11 years old, and yet, she participates in triathlons JUST FOR FUN. She loves paddle-boarding, skateboarding, climbing trees, and unicycling. Oh, she’s also killer with a bow-and-arrow, speaks 3 languages, has traveled all over Scandinavia & Germany, cooks like a boss, and quit the Scouts because they weren’t badass enough. I once asked her what her favourite animal was: it’s dragons! Seriously, this chicka is fierce! Where were kids like this when I was young!?!?!

Needless to say…

after a week and a half of romping around the German wilderness with Catniss*, I’m feeling relaxed and ready to take on the world. But first, some heartfelt appreciation is in order.


After my little outburst on FB about having failed dreams and acquiring a general disdain for having dreams in the first place, Ah, those damn dreams!, I was moved by your steady out pouring of empathy, generosity, and wildly good advice. From someone who battles with depression. and yet. thinks traveling alone for a long period of time is a great idea [honestly, I don’t know where I get these “smart” notions], your words are the light when I’m in a dark place. I’m truly thankful for your friendship.

Of course, I won’t name any names because you all know who you are. Well, I will name one name, but only for the sake of my dear friend, Reginald*, who for some reason wouldn’t let me refer to them as Renly**. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ They gave my resume a proper HR makeover, and it’s truly gleaming with potential! Words cannot express my gratitude, Reginald. Ergo, to all of their future employers and/or clients who are google checking them atm, you can rest assure that your trust and/or resume are in the right hands. He’s DA MAN!

**edit: I just caught up on the latest season of GoT, and now understand Reginald’s concern, hehe


So, what to do about my dream/purpose/whatever!?! Ah, those damn dreams! Well, I have a few tricks up my sleeves:

  1. At this very moment, I’m on my way to la bella Roma [34 hours via bus from Lübeck because I have no money] where my dear friend Stephan* graciously set me up with an incredible opportunity. I will spend the next month learning to make traditional Italian-style coffee at his friend’s  café. Thanks for finally sending me coffee beans, Life! By the way, I can’t stress how awesome the CouchSurfing app is. I met Stephan* through CS during my 3-month Europe trip of 2015. So if you’re interested in globalizing your social network for free, CS is the gateway to finding international connections.

  2. After the summer internship in Rome, I will stop in Basel to visit my dear friend Pascal and to celebrate National Switzerland Day. Actually, I also met Pascal through CS.

  3. Then, back to Lübeck for the rest of the summer to help my famjam with the landscaping & gardening, of course, whilst admiring Catniss’ badassery. I’ll try to learn some Spanish from Agustin*, their Chilean employee. I never realized how little Spanish I knew; little as in none. >< I’m sorry, Spanish-speaking friends, for not making more of an effort to speak with you in Spanish. Also, I can’t help but wonder if the owner of Lubeck’s newest cafe ONE Fairtrade is looking for a cute, Canadian volunteer to help around the espresso machine!?! Italian-style coffee. Check. German-style coffee. Check.

  4. At the risk of wasting a 1-year Working Holiday visa, I’ll head back to France by the end of the summer. Either I could give Paris another shot or my dear friend, Katriona* has a friend who lives in the south of France and might be able to introduce me to a cafe there. Small town living or big city dreaming. Who knows? We’ll see.

The Summer of 2016 will be unlike any other.

I’ll need to learn to take life as it comes, with its highlights and its lowlights; enjoying each day for what it is; nothing more, nothing less; pure contentment.

No point in sprinting through a marathon.

For now…

back to much needed duoLingo studies: French, German, and Italian for logistical reasons, and Portuguese just for fun. Obrigada, Brazil*. I’m still waiting for Japanese to become available, nevertheless, I will shamelessly advertise for duoLingo when learning une deuxième langue. It’s free. It’s fantastic. Great for vocab acquisition & review, listening & speaking practice, and translating to & from English. And when you want to learn every  possible Portuguese swear word, I’ll hook you up with Brazil. 🐱

Manda ver! [Bring it on!]

As always, thank you for reading and joining me on this #internationalcoffeejourney

*names changed to protect the privacy of the individuals

Challenge? Yes, please.

Nicole Snobelen: owner of clothing brand, Evelyn & founder of The Abby Fund

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