Monthly Archives: December 2017

Brighter Days Ahead

2017 will written down in history as the worst and the best year of my 43 year old life. I’m writing this down while doing the laundry on New Years Eve, my wife is lying down having a migraine fit that usually hits her in times of stress. I can’t really remember the last New Years I’ve celebrated. My old alcoholic self would refer to it as “the night of the amateurs”.

A year ago today, I was in a relationship on the brink of turning into a complete nightmare. Though I didn’t know this at the time (though I should’ve felt it coming from a mile away if I had been in a better state of mind). We had an argument the night before, so I wasn’t sure what New Years would be like. I called my friend Thomas, who was one of the few people I had shared my problems with, who I had gone to AA meetings with, who got me to look up if I might have a diagnosis and get help through that, who I had for several years been trying to get back on feet together with. His struggle was a lot heavier than mine, but he always supported me. We talked about celebrating New Years Eve together, but I also wanted to make things ok with my then girlfriend, and I was also terrified being with him on such a stigmatized night as New Years, which would probably end up with us getting drunk or worse. I didn’t want to fall off the wagon. So I went with my girlfriend to this dinner, where she got mad at one of the guests, and we left the house at around 10.30PM to catch a bus into town. There in the rain, I spoke to Thomas for the second last time I would ever speak to him. He was home, bored and sober, watching TV. I often think of how nothing would have changed if I had spent that night with him, but I would have another memory of us together still. That night ended in a complete disaster for me, spending it most of a time in a park having an endless argument over absolutely nothing for hours and hours. 48 hours later I ended that relationship, and I was flooded with SMS’ that was basically a verbal murder on my person. I knew this person wasn’t well, and I told myself this would pass so I didn’t respond.

Two weeks later she’s at my doorstep telling me she is pregnant. As a father of two, I immediately felt I had to take responsibility. We patched things up and tried to get back to as if nothing had happened that awful New Years night. But the whole thing was an open wound. Soon afterwards, I get a phone call from one of our closest friends, that Thomas had passed away in an overdose, leaving two devastated children behind. Everything turned black. When shortly afterwards meeting up friends of Thomas to grieve, things took an ugly turn and I had to once and for all end that toxic relationship. Now the SMS terror was even uglier, I fell off the wagon, and I started to respond to the terror in equally toxic ways, not really helping any of it. After weeks and weeks of non stop terror, it all turned quiet. She was gone. But silence was even worse, since I had no idea what would happen to that baby that was supposed to be born in September.

In order to try to block this ordeal out, I focused on the Brewers Cup, went to Jönköping for the Swedish Nationals and competed. Made the first round to the finals, but it was held on the Friday, about the same time Thomas was buried, and there I was “playing coffee” when my friend was going into the ground. I couldn’t think straight and I failed miserably in the finals, took my bags and went home.

In order to escape the world of my own thoughts, I dared sticking out my head in the dating world, without any real hope of finding more than a few hours to not having to think of my situation; out of money, out of luck, stuck in a cell like apartment. And there she was; my southern belle. I had not planned on falling in love, but here was the most wonderful, kind, caring, understanding and beautiful person I had ever met, and she felt the same. From our very first date, we were never separated.

My living situation has been a disaster this whole year. I’ve counted to 8 different places I have called home, though some only briefly, the past 18 months. That is a nightmare if you have two kids. There’s this pyramid that needs to be whole if your life should be complete: regardless of what is the foundation or the top end, each side is your relations, your living space and your work/financial income. If one of these three are not fulfilled, your life is stressful. At one point, I had no pyramid at all. Now I had a fulfilling relationship, but no home and my financial situation looked very dire. I thought the solution was close at hand by shifting work, with great promises of a steady salary and benefits.

So I changed jobs, and I moved in with my girlfriend to save us both money, at the cost of one of my kids not being able to live with me at the moment due to the size of the apartment. In less than two months, I had my contract “renegotiated” (without my consent, and basically being stuck without being able to get out, trying to find jobs that didn’t come through) and we got thrown out of the apartment because the owner had to sell. In the midst of this, we had already planned and payed for to get married in Vegas. So life had gone from throwing us lemons to basically stoning us.

As it was, we finally landed a first hand contract for a 4 room apartment, to fit us and both kids. Two sides of the pyramid are fulfilled, and slowly hope is coming back to us. So besides finding the love of my life in 2017, this year has pretty much been shit. Each year I give resolutions what I should do next year with my life, but life has pretty much come in my way this year, and my hopes and dreams have all been put on hold. So here’s my wish list for 2018:

  • find a job that allows me to budget my life out of debt, and that will be easier to solve the logistics of having care of a small child.
  • stop smoking, stay away from alcohol and try to focus on health
  • find strength to do the two things I have set out to do this year: get a band together and get that book going.

Until then, I’ll lead a simple life. Wondering off into the waste land, and learn to live again.

NP: Tragedy No Cemeteries Here

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Sin City

A long time ago, I had a blog called Syn City. It was a nod to Las Vegas and to the fact that Perth had the most Synessos in the world per capita at the time. I’ve been to the US a few times, mostly on coffee related travels, but I never thought I’d be writing about coffee from the actual Sin City.

Las Vegas for most people is neon, gamble and drinking on the strip. Restaurants are all part of giant complexes, and even though not super expensive, it still takes a chunk out of your budget. And the coffee experience isn’t great. We encountered one hotel that hosted Stumptown inhouse, and I had a traditional Hairbender experience while using their wifi. Nothing much to talk about, but still a pleasant surprise compared to the other coffees we had so far. Mind you, we had morning bagels at the Einstein Bros every morning, with bottomless cups of Caribou coffee (a guilty pleasure if pouring a dash of milk in it actually), simply cause it was closest to our hotel.

There were standouts though that demands attention. First of all, we don’t drive, so the places we visited needed to be somewhat within reasonable walking distance. Second of all, the cool spots are all scattered out in the outer rims of Vegas, which means that the area around Fremont Village is the somewhat concentration of what you can get within walking distance.

PublicUs was our first stop, and the only one we returned to during our brief visit. Both times we enjoyed a hearty breakfast and some really freshly inhouse baked sweet treats. The Bourbon Banana Cake was to die for. Also, I had my up to this date best smashed avo I’ve ever had. The second time we had a long talk to the head barista, who told us a lot of places to go for our next visit. Great ambience, great food, great service!

Makers & Finders was our second stop. It’s in the Arts District of Las Vegas, and is surrounded by really cool vintage stores. Had the coffee, my wife had a drink, but wish we had more time to come back here for the menu. Food looked delicious!

Our third and final find for Las Vegas coffee was Vesta Coffee Roasters situated just around the corner from M&F. We came late in the afternoon just before closing, but had a coffee just to feel the place. Bought home a bag of their wine barel aged El Salvador, which was really something else.

Downtown Las Vegas was a really cool, up and coming place just waiting to be invaded by hipsters. On our first day there we found this big metal heart where people had attached locks to it. Naturally we got one and placed it there. It’s situated just outside the Container Park and opposite we saw this lovely Indian restaurant where we had our wedding dinner a couple of nights later.

All in all, I expect Las Vegas Downtown to develop rapidly over the next few years. Already cool bars and hangouts, vintage and arts. And I never expected to say this, but Las Vegas actually is a really cool city once you get beyond the d-glow.

NP: Acca Dacca Sin City

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Nevada Smith

From that day as a boy when I recieved a postcard from my grandparents visiting Las Vegas, I’ve always been fascinated by the city. Nevada is a desert, and I always pictured myself driving there from the coast in an open car. I didn’t know what gambling meant really, and I still don’t.

Early this year was a real downer for me, I had hit rock bottom, when all of a sudden a Miss Smith came into my life. She was aware of my situation, and during our first date, that lasted for 24 hours, I asked her what she thought about a guy like me. She said her mind said no, but her heart said yes. From that moment I knew I could never ever live without this person in my life.

As promised, she tagged along to Budapest for the World Coffee Events, and the last night, on one of the bridges when carving our initials into its rail, putting a lock on it and throwing away the keys, I asked her to marry me in Las Vegas. She said yes. And so we did.

On the 5th of December we got hitched at the Little White Chapel. I guess some things that happens in Vegas doesn’t stay there.

NP: Dead Kennedys Viva Las Vegas

Van Damn, Amsterdam

I was about to go to Amsterdam a year ago, but life got in the way. So when my girlfriend went for the documentary film festival (IDFA), and got a hotel room, I decided to jump on a plane and join her. Two days, on a smurfs budget, is kind of the most fun way to travel.

My first stop coffee wise was the place I’ve wanted to visit since it opened in 2013, Scandinavian Embassy. Nico is the former Brewers Cup champion of Sweden, and quickly grew a reputation in the European community as the place to go in Amsterdam. Coffee from Nicos former employer, Drop Coffee, and delicious foods. We were served a beautiful pumpkin soup which was actually one of the staffs lunch box. How is that for hospitality? 

Moving on, I met up with long time friend Daniel Schein, former Sthlm based coffee geek turned wine genious. His first venture on his own is merging the two things he loves most, at 48-50 you’ll be served some of the best wines and most interesting coffees to be found in Amsterdam. To be opening before the end of the year hopefully! 

Naturally when in Amsterdam you have to meet up with local friend and SCA rep, Qim Staalman, one of the sharpest and nicest people I know in this industry. We had a coffee at Espressofabriek, situated in a lovely old factory building. Everything is close in Amsterdam, so we also walked over to Toki for another one. 

What really struck me with Amsterdam was how small it was, and how effortless a lot of cool places seemed to have been put together. People are friendly, and with better weather it would be an awesome place to return to. 

We also ended up at a cupping at Stooker, hosted by 32Cup from Antwerp. Some really interesting Brasilian and Colombian coffees. By coincidence, my girlfriend went to the Hague in the very beginning of our relationship, and brought me two bags of coffee, from Stooker. We didn’t realize this until we were on our way leaving the premises. It’s all connected. 

On her way to the airport, my girlfriend picked up my daughters monkey that she had accidently dropped on the way to kindie. So we took it on holiday. Hence the monkey business in some pictures.

NP: Thanatos: Emerging from The Netherworlds