Thursday, March 29, 2012

Living Here: Monday Morning Coffee


It started only a couple of years ago, but has become a ritual for us. We congregate Monday mornings, around the shiny, wooden tables of a local cafe. We sip coffee from heavy old china. Spoons and cups clink against saucers, to a background of soft voices and faint music.

The core group consists of three: Paul, Eric and myself. From time to time others sit in but often it is just us three.

A few other morning regulars do the same nearby as white-guayabera-clad waiters move between tables, pouring refills and bringing food. Newspaper softly crinkles as someone scans the morning news or sports section. Sometimes a whiff of woodsmoke sifts in from the huge, brick bakery ovens out back. The place is old, and has changed little over the decades. Sitting here it is easy to imagine one has been transported back the 1940's.

Except of course that in the 1940's we likely never would have gotten together, because we first became acquainted through blogs. We are bloggers. When we talk about blogging, it's usually about comments or topics brought up in the community of blogs we follow. But mostly we dive into a variety of other subjects.

Eric and Paul
Although we don't get heavily into politics, it's there from time to time, along with occasional doses of philosophy and faith. We talk about the many things that interest us, and as mature people do, sometimes we reminisce a bit. But I think mostly what it gets down to is we're all interested in getting the most out of the years we have left to spend on this planet, and we like to share ideas along those lines. It's always an interesting and enjoyable conversation.

That's pretty much the way it is Monday mornings at La Flor de Santiago, when a few friends reunite to sip coffee and converse.

We don't exactly solve the world's problems, but sometimes we feel that perhaps we've made a little headway. That's a pretty good way to start the week.


Things are about to change. Eric leaves this week, as family and other obligations call him north. And Paul will do the same soon. I'll miss them and our Monday morning coffee sessions until they both return to Mérida in the fall.

Read Paul's blog here and Eric's blog here.

21 comments:

  1. that place is beautiful paul.

    have a nice weekend.

    teresa in nagoya

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    1. It's a very nice place to hang out with friends for an hour or two.

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  2. It was great joining you all for coffee the other day and feeling transported back to a earlier time.

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    1. Yes Debbie, you've been in on the coffee mornings. I know I speak for the other when I say we look forward to a time when you are around more and have time to share a leisurely cup of coffee and talk.

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  3. Was it you or Paul who wrote on a blog that this place is going to go out of business? If so, it's a dirty, rotten shame. I like the photos.

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    1. That was my post, I believe. It would be a shame to lose it, but for now the place remains open. We hope it manages to stay that way.

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  4. I too, have a Monday morning "coffee klatch" group I meet with. However our group has gotten too big and it is difficult to have a deep conversation now, sadly. It was so much better when there were only a few of us. I do enjoy catching up with people who float in and out and hearing what is going on.......then I'm on my way!
    Thanks for sharing Marc. I'm so sad that I didn't get to meet Paul on my trip last month......I so enjoy his writing.
    BABS

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    1. Babs, I think there definitely is an optimal group size for this sort of thing, if you want to keep it intimate and personal. I guess ideal group size also depends upon the personalities involved. For me I think a group is too big when everyone can't follow and participate one thread together, and side conversations begin to break out. I think three to five persons is optimal for me.

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  5. Genuine interest and commonalities make for good conversation and bonding. It's interesting how coffee or a regular meeting place allows for a fulfilling time. The little things in life make such a difference.

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    1. I agree. And typically in places where I've lived, I've "held court," so to speak, in some cafe on a predictable basis. It's a nice way to connect casually with friends, meet new people, and keep up with what's going on.

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    2. That's nice that you take the initiative. I'm sure it's appreciated.

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  6. Eric and Paul aren't leaving for good, I hope. The expat community would surely miss them, as would Flor de Santiago.

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    1. No, they will be back. Perhaps they are smarter than I am...they'll be missing the hot season, which is cranking up about now.

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  7. Your blog post captured well the specialness of our Monday mornings together. There's something about routines coupled with friendship. Maybe we can figure out how to conduct these in a chat room. If not, our memories will have to see us through until the Fall.

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    1. Yes, Paul, Monday mornings are a high point in the beginning of my week. It's not the same when I don't have that peg to hang my hat on each Monday.

      I've had long-distance chats over coffee with friends via Skype. It's not quite the same, but it works after a fashion. I'll have to check out the WIFI at La Flor. Maybe I can take the laptop down there on Mondays, and you and Eric can hook up with me online. You can say hello to the waiters and anyone else who shows up. I can point the camera out the door and you can check the weather, or take it over to the pastry counter so you can look at the frances, conchas and orejas.

      It's a thought.

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  8. Marc,
    The past five months have been delightfully enhanced by these conversations with you and Paul (and numerous others who have happened by) at the Flor. No agenda, simply good discussion of interesting topics: personal, local, global. I'll miss them (and you!) while back north until late October.

    Yes, group size can become distracting if "side conversations" break out. But the tables are mostly small, thus usually limiting that issue. (Conversation nights at MEL, Mondays at 7pm, also seat about 5 or 6 persons per table, which seems to work well.) Back home I participate in a weekly conversation which ranges in size from 5 to 12; we attempt to speak to a particular topic, as a group. While the topic is certainly malleable during the 2-3 hours of comings and goings, the focus is usually maintained until everyone is satisfied that the topic has been adequately covered. Decorum (attention) is a gentle art.

    ~eric.
    ps: thanks for mentioning my fallow blog. The comment section is snarled, which caused me to stop posting. I will need to convert to WordPress over the summer if I am to continue blogging. Sadly, my blog at TravelBlog.org lost many posts from Switzerland and Merida when they updated the site.

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    1. I know you have experienced a variety of technical frustrations with your blogs. I hope you are able to get back into regular posting soon. It's such a great way to keep up with what you're doing and thinking.

      And then there's always a chair for you here at the cafe.

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  9. Maybe I will join you one of these days. But not in the summer. It is bad enough over here.

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    1. You're invited. Come for another visit next year. Try December through February to catch the coolest season.

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  10. So has Flor de Santiago closed? The house I am renting next month is a few blocks away, and I was hoping to go there.

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    1. La Flor is still open, but keeping reduced hours and a small staff these days. It's up for sale. I hope the new owners can do more with it while keeping the atmosphere. It's a nice place and a real neighborhood institution.

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