Stamping Ground Coffee and serendipity

I had a serendipitous moment yesterday.

Background: I don’t get enough sleep. In fact, I haven’t had enough sleep for the past three years. So I am perpetually exhausted and in dire need of coffee. Also, I never used to drink coffee (it made my heart beat like those terrible dance music) until I became a mother. And now I am immune.

Alright, yesterday. I had an external meeting that went splendidly well and speedy. When I stepped out of the building, I decided to grab a coffee because I hardly have coffee during the week days. Coffee is a luxury and indulgence reserved for the weekends so whenever I get coffee on a weekday, I get deliriously thrilled. Haha, poor me.

There I was, back at my old stamping ground, back in the days when I was at the big O. The corner fish head curry coffeeshop is still there but the fruit stall next to it is now Park Bench Deli (run by my ex-colleague’s husband!). There are so many cool and hip cafes at every turn and corner. I was pretty amazed by just how much the streets have remained the same and yet changed at the same time.

I wandered down the street aimlessly, wondering where to go when suddenly somebody stepped right in front of me and said, “HEY!”

It was my ex-colleague from the big O. What were the odds?

Anyhow, we had a quick catch up about our lives and I mentioned that I was looking for a place to have coffee. She shook the bottle that she was holding and said, “Go check this place out! It’s just down Club Street. I got my coffee there.”

Well, okay.

I made my way to Club Street, without really knowing the name of the cafe while simply relying on her instructions: “Club Street, you know the condo next to Spizza? It’s just there.” And I found it.

Stamping Ground Coffee.

To be honest, I was a little meh when I saw it. It was a tiny takeout corner and I was hoping to sit down for a drink. The place had a bench, and two bar stools and that was about it. Hmm. I decided to order my usual – flat white – and sat down on the bench to wait. There was just a young lady behind the counter serving up the drinks.

Instead of stoning and surfing the net on my phone as I always do when alone at cafes, I decided to break the ice and asked her if the place was new. She said yes, it was just two weeks old. And then we started having a conversation about how and why she started the place, how exciting it was for her to put it together, how she loved doing this gig.

We must have chatted for, what, 30 minutes or so? And it was a really nice, warm pleasant conversation in that little hole in the wall. I love listening to stories about people’s lives and this was one of the reasons why I got into journalism – to tell these stories. (Which I miss doing very, very, very much.) The coffee was pretty decent too, as she used beans from Papa Palheta. For someone who was more into baking and pastries, I thought the brew that she served up was nice.

All in all, it was a very lovely, unexpected way to spend the afternoon. I left with a little spring in my step, happy to have done something out of the routine for one day and to have listened to a good story.

Coffee with friends

I love meeting up with friends over coffee.

We enjoy the coffee, catch up on each others’ lives and keep an eye on the littles, all at the same time. Sometimes, a cake (or croissant) will sit on a plate on the table as we nibble while listening to the other speak. The afternoon sun will stream in, lighting up the place with its magical sparkle.

Every time I meet up with Y and her lil Missy, the conversation seems endless. We may not have seen each other for a while but there’s always something to say. And she is always taking me to new places to check out the coffee. Missy, on the other hand, will tell us stories and draw pictures and – in a recent development – send me Whatsapp messages, alternating between declarations of love and images of cupcakes.

This was exactly what I needed, a leisurely afternoon away from work. Forget about deadlines and that pile of marking, forget about the very little sleep that I had had the night before.

Coffee. And friends. A most enchanting combination.

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