Friday, June 19, 2015
We recently turned two.
As another chapter will soon come to a close, this place, for which I gave up most of my kitchen time and energy, will tell a new story. It seems like it wasn't too long ago when I drew that pig, baked that coconut lime curd cake and worked Sundays not having a moment to stop for a breather. Was it only a few months ago I baked muffins exploding with chocolate and those little black sesame cookies customers tend to forget to eat with their coffee?
While the owner of that pig tattoo and a few of us share this small nostalgic and romantic spirit of why we are here; at the same time, we embrace change and accept new challenges. Every shift is an opportunity for learning and pushing ourselves further. Every mistake made is a chance to grow stronger. Roles have changed, the roaster and coffee sacks replaced with a befitting wooden centerpiece; ready for hours of congressional laughter over good food and better company.
The time has come for the better.
Time and again I explore my curiosity...
... and so I question our customers, friends we bring to this place, fearless additions to the team and those young, determined, hardworking part-timing kids - why do they love it here?
Why track across the island to this corner of the neighborhood over an hour of public transport, where it's so quiet on some days our visiting dogs have no problem catching their afternoon naps? Why put yourself through all these back-breaking shifts when there's so much to do at school, exams, a full time job, sleepless nights, relationships to be taken care of and life to be enjoyed elsewhere?
"It just feels like (an extension of) home."
"There's no other place like this."
"I'm learning a lot here."
"We share the same principles."
"We are like a family."
"I keep craving for that fried rice. Nothing out there is like it."
As I wash the rice and try to keep those sliced shallots evenly thin, I listen to those answers. Sometimes when the mundane prep work transports my tired, forgetful mind elsewhere, these convictions come back to remind me to step it up. If we are all here for the right fundamental reasons and work together to maintain a sound foundation, our differences will not keep us apart but only complement each other.
Will those blue benches see another two years of blood, sweat and tears? I believe our story has been written, of course, but we will just find out as we move along.