A Special Pause In Melbourne

Life always works out if we’re willing to take on the challenges and overcome those obstacles.

When we become “adults," so much of our life turns into a constant “Go, go, go.” Adult responsibilities begin to take over: work deadlines, mortgages, car payments, KIDS… the list is endless. And at the moments when we want to or need to press pause, it seems like the world just can't wait for us.

That’s what life felt like after college in a way. I entered the workforce, had “adult” responsibilities, and went through the motions. Don’t get me wrong, though. I still lived life to the fullest and made sure I had fun. I have no regrets and would do it the same way all over again.

But when I left for Melbourne, I essentially pressed pause on my life. I left the 8 to 5 (or 7 to 4 at Pangea). I left my weekly barre workouts. I left my beautiful apartment. I left my selfless boyfriend… My life in Melbourne was basically a 180 to my life in Boston.

When I first got to Melbourne, I thought I could do what I usually do for a move: find a job, find friends, volunteer… basically build routine. I moved to Melbourne to pursue specialty coffee, so I thought to myself, “Cool, I’ll just get a job at a specialty cafe.” I was wide-eyed, bushy-tailed and felt confident and ready to enter the workforce again.

Even though Australia is an English-speaking country, it is culturally very different from America. And when it comes to coffee culture, Melbourne is in a league of its own.

Things didn’t go as I expected the first month I touched down. It was the peak of backpacker season, so jobs were scarce. I learned having a working holiday visa with no coffee experience wouldn’t get me anywhere in specialty. The place I was hoping to stay for my entire time in Melbourne could also no longer accommodate me. Finding routine was not going to be as easy as I thought it would be.

I believe that life always works out, but someone I met said it more tangibly: life always works out if we’re willing to take on the challenges and overcome those obstacles. Despite the stress, I was meeting new people, open to new experiences, and soaking in as much of Melbourne as possible. By the end of my time in Melbourne, I had a job doing what I love, lived in a two-bedroom house with a fireplace and a yard (!) with my best Australian mate, had a very Australian Holden ute at my disposal, and learned a ton about coffee, perhaps more than I ever would have working at a cafe. If someone would’ve told me those things were going to happen six months prior, I would have shook my head in disbelief, especially driving the ute part.

It sounds so cliche, but life truly is a journey, and on that journey, you meet a lot of people along the way. When I reflect on my time in Melbourne, it was amazing because of the people that made it all possible. The Australian Holden ute, for example, was my friend’s car, who I met at the bar of Aunty Peg’s. I got my marketing job through my Workaway host, who introduced me to her sister who eventually became my boss. I found a volunteer opportunity because I decided to join a coworker for a casual lunch where we ate at a non-profit restaurant. These were all people who helped me establish roots in Melbourne and constantly looked out for me. Although Melbourne was the farthest I’ve ever moved, it was surprisingly the easiest because of these people.

I learned so much from them and in turn, learned so much about myself. It’s the people that make a place, and I’m sure I would have loved any other city if these same people were also there to enrich my life. But since it was Melbourne, Melbourne will always have a special place in my heart.

This coffee and food sabbatical will be coming to an end soon as I make my way home, but I feel so blessed I had the luxury to press pause and re-evaluate my life priorities. I’m excited to get back to the States. I know I’ll have to tackle “adult” responsibilities again, but this time, I feel more ready than ever.

Reflecting on 11/9 Election Aftermath

And to all the young people in particular, I want you to hear this. I’ve spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in. I’ve had successes and I’ve had setbacks—sometimes really painful ones. Many of you are at the beginning of your careers. You will have successes and setbacks, too.

This loss hurts. But please, please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It’s always worth it. And we need you keep up these fights now and for the rest of your lives.

To all the women, and especially the young women, who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion.

I know that we still have not shattered that highest glass ceiling. But some day someone will—hopefully sooner than we might think right now.

And to all the little girls watching right now, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world.

I want to post this here because I never want to forget. I never want to forget how close we were to breaking the glass ceiling. I never want to forget if my little girl asks me why it took so long for America to have a female president. I never want to forget to have class and strength even when people want to knock me down. I never want to forget that there is still a lot of good in this country and that more than half of Americans wanted to make history.

After the political fray, we're still here. We're still getting up and going on with our daily routine. The sun is still rising and setting. Heck, even the markets closed higher. But today is a reminder that our country still has a long way to go, and we need to do our best as citizens to move this country forward. And the way to do that is to listen more, care more, and love more.

I wrote in my last post that optimism is at the heart of being American. I still have hope, and I am optimistic that our country will overcome.

Thank you Hillary Clinton for fighting so hard. Thank you for championing young women and girls everywhere. Thank you for being a class act and a model for so many of us. Thank you for sparking a national conversation and starting a fire that will continue to burn bright in me.

Photography 101 Exercise: Water


This is my boss, Ben. He loves his oyster farm dearly, and I would argue probably as much as he loves his wife and kids. When I’m at our Boston shop, cooped up in the warehouse office sitting at a desk and reeking of fish, Ben is out on his boat harvesting oysters. I don’t know what’s worse: sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day or having to brave chilly winter winds and hauling heavy crates of oysters.

On special occasions, I make it down to Duxbury to capture the action on the farm. Today was one of those special days. When tides are super negative, the water recedes out of the bay and into the ocean, revealing the rich earth scattered with oysters. It’s mind-boggling to imagine the tide coming back in 12 feet higher and cloaking the oyster beds again until the next negative tide.

Today’s theme of “Water” and being on the farm was completely coincidental. It made me think of how we as humans rely on water in so many ways. People like my boss and I rely on water to support our livelihoods. Cities rely on water to flush sewage. Every single person on this planet relies on water to live. 783 million people in our world today do not have access to clean drinking water. We often take water for granted and never think twice about this precious resource, but when approached by a drought like the residents of central California, the importance of water really sinks in.


Side note: The results of the midterm elections were in this morning, and it’s clear that we will have a Republican-controlled Congress. There was a very scary NY Times poll showing an overwhelming 83% of Republicans who do not think climate change is a serious problem. I’m typically not into politics, but climate change is one issue I am pretty passionate about, especially working in the seafood industry. I believe we’re already seeing some repercussions of climate change including the effects on our freshwater supply, and unless we make changes, it will only get worse.

Photography 101 Exercise: Street


In doing today’s Photo 101 assignment, I reached an epiphany on why contemporary artists and art aficionados are so obsessed with process. I have always held the view that art should have some minimum requirements or standards, e.g. a canvas with a red dot should not be considered art. Gerhard Richter’s Blood Red Mirror (it’s literally a canvas painted in red) sold for $1.1 million. I never quite understood these one-colored canvases until I took my “Street” photo above.

My initial idea for today was to get an open shutter shot since it’s not something I commonly do, and this Photo 101 course is all about experimenting. As I was taking my shot on the bridge, my bus pulled up to the bus stop, so I ran to catch it. My shutter was still open, and it captured little bits of details illustrating my short journey. This whole back story is not explained by looking at the photo, and to be honest, I don’t think it’s a great photo, but when considering the process and background of how this photo came to be, I find it ten times more interesting.

An artist may think his art is interesting because he created its context. By sharing this context (i.e. background, methods, intentions, etc.) with the audience, bad art can potentially become great art. The context provides a moment of clarity for the viewer, and this “aha, that’s why he did it” realization allows the viewer to forgive the artist for delivering subpar work. The work represents more than what meets the eye, the viewer thinks. Maybe art today is not about the art itself anymore, but rather about the art of making art.