A tale to give you the jitters

Three days in a row last week I woke up at 4:30am.

This is never fun.

You see, I arrived back home from Halifax on Tuesday night, and after cramming my face full of delicious artisan cheese bread, lemon squares, pink lady apples, and coconut water, I fell into a sleep coma around 9:00pm.

Canada is known for many great things – healthcare, maple syrup, Rick Moranis – but ease of cross-country travel is definitely not one.

5000 km in a day will really leave you knackered.

It’s enough to make one dream of moving to Lichtenstein.

Anyway, back to that first night, despite heavy night sweats brought on by the whack-load of food I ate before bed (which normally tucker me out like crazy and bring on the second (sleep) wind like nothing else), I couldn’t get my snooze back on.

So as the clock quietly blinked four, I slipped out of bed, put on my sweat pants and a thick wool sweater, grabbed my water cup and tiptoed out of bed.

The kitten, unused to such early-morning activity, poked her little head out from behind her chair of rest and looked at my quizzically, as if to ask, “What’s up mum?”

I sat down in the darkened living room and watched a couple of episodes of 30Rock, sipping on a piping hot cup of coffee, as the kitten purred in my lap.

Then I did the exact same thing the next day.

And the next.

Jetlag is never fun, and after three days of interrupted sleep and early mornings, I crashed hard on Friday and slept straight for eleven hours.

Eleven hours!

And after a solid eight and a half last night, I finally feel as though I am back on an even keel, sleep-wise.

YAY!

Now, as mentioned in my previous post, there are a few things in my life I very much love, that maybe previously I definitely…didn’t love.

So, on the subject of jetlag, early mornings, and terrible sleeps, let us move onto thing #2 that I used to hate, but now adore – COFFEE.

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I remember so perfectly the first time I ever tried a cup of joe.

I was eleven and it was at the TD Bank on 10th and Alma in Vancouver. (That branch eventually moved to 10th and Sasamat a couple of years later.)

I was there to open my first bank account because I had won $50 dollars for taking home the aggregate title in a highland dancing competition the week before.

Talk about a lucrative day of hoping about in a kilt, over swords and other Scottish battle detritus. Especially for the 12 and under set!

I was super stoked to be taking part in something so unbelievably grown-up (bank accounts were such a huge deal! I mean, you got debit card and everything!), that I figured what better way to celebrate my new found adulthood than by drinking my first cup of java?

So with little fanfare (but with many, many little butterflies flitting about in my stomach) I picked up one of those small, white Styrofoam cups and filled it full of steaming coffee.  Then I dropped in a few sugar cubes, and added enough Coffeemate to make the colour of the liquid change to a milky, chocolate brown.

I thought it would taste like magic.

NOT LIKE THE BITTER ACID OF DEATH.

All I could think of is, “WHY WOULD ANYONE EVER DRINK THIS POISON?”

Seriously, this experience was enough to turn me off coffee for the next fourteen years.

Talk about trauma.

In high school, or university if I was ever with friends and they grabbed cappuccinos, I would drink hot chocolate or chai lattes.

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Definitely hot chocolate!

All throughout grad school I drank nothing but tea (heaps, and heaps of tea) to stay awake during my mad hours of studying, researching, and writing.

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Camping tea!

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BEST.

I even worked at two different coffee shops making AMAZING espresso drinks for two years, and yet never once managed to sample my wares.

(Well, that’s not entirely true – on my last day of work at Petit Ami Coffee, I tried a tiny sip of a mocha and then basically passed out from an overwhelming mouth sadness.)

It wasn’t until my first “office job” post grad-school that I started my long march down the dark, beautiful, and addictive bean juice path.

On my first day of work I was SUPER early and very nervous, so I figured I would stop at the Second Cup at the bottom of my office building and get something to drink.

I was just about to order a hot chocolate when my eye caught sight of a “vanilla bean latte” and I thought, “eh? Why not? Vanilla bean sounds like it might be alright.”

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VANILLA BEAN!

So I threw my inhibitions to the wind, ordered it up, and took a sip.

And you know what?

I still didn’t like it all that much.

But for some reason, I went back the next day and ordered the same thing.

And then the next.

I just kept doing it.

I know. WHAT A WEIRDO, right?

But, slowly and surely I started to like the stuff.

I started to look forward to my morning vanilla bean.

Nearly every day, for almost two and a half years, I bought that drink and on the weekends I made surgery, sweet café-au-laits.

And while I don’t work that job anymore, I still enjoy waking up every day knowing that before I start anything (big or small) I will get to warm myself over a milky, sweet cup of coffee.

Especially on mornings when I’m up at 4am.

And I have a kitten in my lap.

10 thoughts on “A tale to give you the jitters

  1. I was laughing so much :L This is great, really hits the spot especially after walking around doing training courses in the greyest city of Aberdeen.

    I know you mentioned you used to write stories of some sort but do you still? I think you should.

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