One of my favorite coffee shops in Uptown has become The Urban Bean on Lyndale Ave S. It’s pretty plain and simple inside – black floors, counters, tables, walls, and stools. There’s a bar that you can sit along and a big wooden table near the door that’s nice for reading the paper at. The best part, however, is the bench that they’ve made available to the public in front of their shop windows. It receives, in my estimation, an inordinate amount of sunlight, as if the clouds do their best to make sure not to blot out the sun for that tiny space on the sidewalk. There are no outlets available, the Wi-Fi connection is spotty, and It’s too bright to look at your phone. What’s it good for then? Drinking a slow cup of coffee (and then pretending to keep drinking from an empty mug), watching every sort of person walk past, waiting for the bus and feeling so content that you let the next three pass by before you finally hop on.

A recent thought has been that the bench, coffee shop, and neighborhood that I have come to love over the past nine months will cease to be a place I’ll be able to frequent come October. I knew it was coming, but sending that confirmation email with my decision to accept the position has finalized the decision. I’m leaving. To teach English abroad in a department of France on an island called Réunion for a year. And as interesting as these past few months have been living in Uptown – working in the restaurant biz, living with, and becoming close to, two random Craigslist roommates, and going carless, change is always welcomed. It’s too easy to get stuck doing something. And maybe that thing is something that you enjoy doing, but I’ve found that change is always for the best.

I’m ready for a slow summer, one filled with midnight swims across Calhoun, bike rides along the river parkways, and plenty of good times hanging out with my roommates on the porch that we’re not supposed to be on, technically. Once it ends, however, perhaps there will be another perfect bench waiting on Réunion.


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