For the majority of my life, I didn't like coffee. I remember being in London during the winter when I was 13, and I really wanted hot chocolate to warm up. The place we were at didn't have any, so my brother suggested I try coffee to warm up. Needless to say, it wasn't the same. It warmed my hands, but I couldn't stomach it. It was way too bitter.
Over time, though, I became acclimated to its taste, and found that, with quite a bit milk and sugar, I liked it. There was one coffee house, in particular, that I enjoyed the most: Arabica. It's kind of a mini-chain of cafes, nowhere near Starbucks size of course, but there was one right by my house that I would visit more often than I should have. The employees were all parents of students at my school, so we knew each other. A lot of kids at my school would go there, so it wouldn't be uncommon to see a familiar face. They had free Wi-Fi, board games, comfy couches worn down to just the right degree and, most importantly, delicious coffee.
But the main reason why I loved Arabica was that it was my creative haven. I would go there and write. I would write papers for school, write short stories for fun, and brainstorm ideas. Most of all, I would journal there. I'd go there to journal about the terrible day I had, the great day I had, thoughts about life and purpose. It was a great place to be alone or meet friends. Arabica was where I went to create, and I felt like I was fairly successful and free in my creative endeavors there.
Last Christmas, the owner of Arabica got into an argument with the landlords, who promptly shut them down. They always struggled financially, but I never imagined them closing their doors for good. No longer did I have a spot just to hang out with friends. No more delicious coffee. My creative haven no longer is open for business.
This is the first time I'll be back home since it closed. I would always make a point of visiting Arabica when I was home. Now, it feels like a gap that needs to be filled, but not with another coffee house. No, I don't think I'll ever truly find a place like Arabica again.
But I know creativity can thrive in more than one particular space. And I think letting go of that one place has been good, if anything, for my wallet's sake. I've found other places and means that allow me to feel free to create. This FlyAway bus from which I'm writing this entry is one of them, heh. But I'll never forget the good times we had, Arabica.
How about you guys? Do you have a particular place you go to be creative? Have you ever lost that place or moved on from it?