Category: coffee

“Beam Me Up, Scotty …..”

            Two days off work: school cancelled because of severely cold weather. I can’t help but think, “Make up time….. tomorrow will be hell.” A friend said he was coming to dinner tonight, cancelled at the last minute. Too cold to go for a walk: hyper dogs all day. House is destroyed.

            Am I feeling out of sorts? Just a bit. Cleaning up the mess. I opened a kitchen cupboard door to put some dishes away, and there on the shelf sat the AeroPress.  It was like a living, glowing thing, in its shiny, plastic glory. Then came the flood of memories; those kinds of memories that are transporting, and for a moment, I am neither here nor there, and I think, “Beam me up, Scotty.” He doesn’t, and I am swiftly settled back in my kitchen, but that rush of fond memories is still at the forefront, awakened.

            I bought the AeroPress to take with me on my travels. Coffee can be a very iffy thing in a new locale, particularly when one is addicted to drinking good coffee twice or thrice daily.  Depending on where I go, there may be a thoroughly delightful coffee shop or cafe, and then again there may not be. Plus, that first dram in the morning: sitting quietly in a new and different abode, looking out over red tile rooftops, or into a wild garden bordered by jungle – in other words, not at home – is a beautiful thing.

DSC_2972AeroPress, “for the world’s smoothest, richest brew”

            The ritual of this hand activated press is lovely in itself (in addition to the fact that I am big on ritual, so…..). You have to put a little effort into that first, grand cup of the day. Electricity may or may not be available: a hand turned bean grinder, along with the requisite beans, travel with me. Once the fresh beans are ground to a fine powder, the AeroPress is prepared. A dainty, rice paper thin, round paper filter is placed in the bottom holder, which is then screwed to the larger cylinder. This is balanced on a clean coffee cup, and four scoops of the coffee powder are spooned into the cylinder. This will make two shots of espresso. Once the water comes to a boil, six ounces are poured over the grounds, stirred for ten seconds, and then the smaller, plunger cylinder is placed inside the larger cylinder. Very, very slowly press, and, TA DAH! Espresso. Froth the heated milk with a hand pumped frother, also in the travel kit, and a double cappuccino is ready.

DSC_2047Balila B&B, Ubud, Bali Indonesia

            The ritual of making the coffee is fun, but the best is yet to come. Where will I be drinking that coffee? Last summer in Bali, I stepped out onto a porch surrounded by a garden with a pond, gorgeous birds of paradise, and a lovely, stone Ganesh at the top of the garden path. Chumpa, the Bali dog who adopted me while I was there, lay at my feet when I settled on the bench at the sturdy, wooden table. Sipping my elixir, I listened to unfamiliar birds chirping, motorbikes winding their way on the distant road, and bees buzzing about their daily work.

            Eventually, Made would thread her way down the path bearing the breakfast she had prepared once she espied me out of the kitchen window of my host’s home. Fresh papaya juice, home made bread with butter, softly scrambled eggs.

Balila B&B, Ubud, Bali Indonesia

            The last time I used the press, just a few weeks ago, was in the Republica Dominicana. After making my coffee there, I sat in front of an open window on a plastic chair, my elbows resting on a plastic table. On the table I had spread a map of the island as a tablecloth. Listening to the myriad of cocks crowing as the sun rose over the neighboring rooftops, I looked at all the intriguing, “must-visit” destinations on the map that I wouldn’t be able to make it to during this particular visit. Another time.

            With a sigh, I turn back to the sink of dishes, thinking I just might survive that dreaded day of work tomorrow, knowing the paycheck from it will be financing my next travel, Aeropress tucked in my suitcase.


Hey, Sister, Soul Sisters!

If you read my previous post, you will know I met my doppleganger a few weeks ago. Angelika spent one night in Milwaukee, and it felt like we had known each other forever. Well now she has written, from across the great pond, her piece about the evening we enjoyed together in Milwaukee. If you speak German, you can read it here: Milwaukee: Als ich meine Soulsister Traf

And if you don’t speak German, I have provided a translation here, by Google Translate. The translations by GT are always rather humorous! Enjoy – and thanks Angelika (who is in Curacao now… a girl on the go!).

Written by Angelika Schwaff (Google Translate)

“The sun is almost down , and with it the last late summer heat , as I park my mobile home in Milwaukee . I still do not think I ‘ll meet like a true angel. Because that’s the best thing about traveling : when you have no great expectations – and then pleasantly surprised.

As the night should be quite short and the next day I had a seven hour drive ahead of me, I had just decided not to far out drive out of town ( the next best campsite would in fact either up north or 60 miles west of Milwaukee located ) but me on airbnb to book accommodation directly in the city for the night. The company had given two vouchers me before my trip – my first and I wanted to use here. I had noticed an ad that sounded promising. It was close to the freeway and yet in the center. And the profile of the landlord named Kerry sounded very nice.

Kerry comes out against me, even radiant. Her gaze falls on my boots and my view of her shoes. Our first laugh – we both wear green. Her home is beautifully decorated, many devotional objects from around the world and then there is an enticing scent of her kitchen. Kerry had asked me in the afternoon on the phone if I wanted to eat dinner together with her – and of course I wanted. When we start snipping and stirring to talk to and I know that Kerry also has her own travel blog. What a coincidence! Her last voyage had led her to Bali and from there she had also brought the recipe to cook for us tonight. I’m excited!

At dinner we talk about God and the world, about our travel experiences, about family, animals, books (we are both Sara Paretsky fans!). And the vexing issue number one men.

Very often it ‘s like this: in the first days I ‘m slightly confused. Either it’s the jet lag or the soul, which still is slacking and has not yet arrived with. Maybe you knows this one is not yet eingegroovt properly. And then the only remedies: meet people, not to crawl. At least for me it works all the time.

Throughout the evening, we are engrossed in conversation . Your dog she got from a shelter years ago, and first had a little afraid of me, her head is now next to us on the couch, on my lap. Kerry and I have the feeling we’ve known each other for ages. Before I go to bed I’ll have my business card so we can keep in touch – and as Kerry sees my card, she starts to laugh out loud: it has the same !

Despite the short night I sleep like a baby – and when I am sneaking down the stairs, Kerry is already there – with a coffee cup and a Tupperbox with the tasty leftovers from the day before. Everything for me – to take on my long journey. Our parting is difficult. But I have to go, so I am on time in Indiana. Kerry waves to me and my camper and I know that has always been like my instinct on the right track myself.

And I’m grateful for how challenging and rewarding ti is to zureisen alone – otherwise I would not have found my Soul Sister – here in the heartland of the USA.”

by Angelika Schwaff

How is that for a good story!!?


They Used To Be Called Pen Pals

Long ago and far away, when I was a young girl, I loved to write letters. This was a time when there were no computers, no cell phones, and… gasp… long distance telephone calls were very, very expensive. I wrote letters to friends in the city I had moved away from.  I wrote letters to my grandparents.  I wrote notes to classmates…. (antique style texting under the table) in class!  I also had three pen pals.

I don’t remember how I acquired these pen pals.  Debbi lived in Massachusetts and owned a horse.  I had a horse too, so we had lots to talk/write about.  We even exchanged black and white photos taken with our matching, Kodak Instamatic cameras.

I also had two pen pals who lived in Japan.  I think I may have made these two friends through Girl Scouts while earning one of the badges that got sewn on my sash.  Both of their names started with T, but I don’t remember anything else about them, or what we wrote about to each other.  All three of those relationships slowly fizzled out.  When I went away to college, I wrote to my parents, my friends, my grandparents.  Eventually long distance got cheaper and I did more calling than writing.

Then along came blogging.  Suddenly I found myself with all kinds of new, far away friends.  At first, I thought it was very strange to be writing back and forth with people all over the world whom I had never met.  Then I realized, it was just like having lots of pen pals!