One of my most poignant character traits (whether it be taken as positive or negative) is my unyielding stubbornness. My Mum, an avid believer in personal horoscopes and the zodiac puts it all down to my being a Taurean but I think its mostly to do with being the youngest of three girls and the last to leave the nest.
So when I arrived in Paris late March this year and threw myself headlong into work, I was shocked a week later to make the realisation that it probably wasn’t going to pan out…
It all harks back to when I got my first taste of the specialty industry in 2006. I’d been at St.Ali in South Melbourne for just six months and only was beginning to feel like getting somewhere when the carpet was pulled from beneath all the staff and we were told the business had been sold.
Eventually, after figuring out that it had been bought by a rather unwholesome dude, I made the decision to approach my then bosses and tell them how it was: I found myself morally unable to pledge my loyalty to an employer whose sole interests were financial. There has to be some undercurrent of passion, some push for a greater good aside from monetary gain.
What that has to do with my life, six years later in France is that there was, not for the lack of trying, nothing I could do to bring this business to the level of my expectations. Every week there was meetings, discussions and lengthy emails detailing small steps that could be taken to move forwards. Some weeks were more optimistic than others. But this was a place that had already garnered the laurel crown of Parisian coffee simply by not being awful and felt that with this reputation, why try to improve.
I was mortified. I’d thrown every last penny I had made into flipping my life over and getting to the other side of the world. My life was officially Parisian, I wanted to stay here forever. My friends were here, my co-workers were incredible. This is where I became stubborn. I wouldn’t give it up without a fight.
So I battled, I raged. For 7 months I talked myself off the ledge of giving up to go and work in a bar until my holiday visa expired and see what happened next. Until magically, after paying my own way to the Nordic Barista Cup and having one of the most excellent, mind expanding, liver annihilating weeks of my life; I got an email. From my dream job, that I’d been pining for, for years after every bag a coffee arrived from mystic Norway. Tim Wendelboe in Oslo.
Apparently not many sane people get the urge to move to the top of the earth where its painfully cold and dark six months of the year but I always told myself that I will have “made it” if I ever had a position there. I was lucky enough that a spot needed filling and I might be just the lady they were looking for.
So I packed up my French life. It fit rather badly in four suitcases.
I cleaned my tiny little flat, had a raging goodbye party in an expensive haute couture dress, completed my last WOD at CrossFit Addicts Paris and rode my bike through the streets, late at night, trying desperately to soak the place into my veins for fear of that feeling ever leaving me.
Then I got on a plane and left.
After a cheeky week back in Australia to meet my brand new niece, Aurora and a pit stop in LA to visit a couple of buddies, I plunged into -15 degrees and will never look back. Oslo is mind blowing. The air is clean, it snows constantly, the people smile back at you and the most important part: I’ve never worked in a place I love more. Nothing is done without a purpose and all the folks that work there have only excellence in mind. No words can really describe it but after being so sorely disappointed, my hearts never been so over joyed.
Fancy that, who knew I’d end up here.