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Day 24: At home with the hipsters.

i thought it was about time i headed over to one of my new favorite areas… west asheville. haywood road. the atmosphere is so relaxed there. and i felt like chilling out. just being me.

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so, i drove on over, parked my car on the street  – where it’s free to do that (unlike downtown), and walked up to my fika spot of the day: battle cat coffee bar. i think this is the first place i’ve been to that’s been called a coffee bar. that’s a cool change.

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only i had no idea how “cool” until i walked up on the front porch and walked in. helloooo hipster heaven. i believe that battle cat is a place that is very open and accepting, but almost everyone “looked” the same in some way, so i felt a little out of place. i felt like it might be a club meeting for local 20 something hipsters. definitely no tourists here. but, it was a place that indeed honored the individual, so i blended right in. maybe? well, at least i was being true to myself.

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i approached the counter and was greeted by the friendly and funky barista and ordered a dirty chai (chai with espresso – one of my favorite drinks). as i waited for my drink, i turned and looked around at the house-turned-coffee bar. i admit it… it was super cook & funky inside. the front room was a living room. like for real. there were lamps and sofas and comfy chairs. there were also a few tables as well. little hipster (and i truly mean that in the most nice way, because it was kinda cute how this alternative crowd was so cliche) people sat huddled behind their laptops, sipping coffee. or reading books and slurping up other drinks. it looked very cozy, and had i had time and my laptop, i would have found my own corner to huddle in and write away.

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i walked through the hall and peeked in what would have been the bedrooms. both of these rooms, across from each other and in the back of the small house, were filled with tables and chairs. some comfy, others old school chairs. up-cycled, of course. (you do know that up-cycle is the new word for recycle, right?). people were sitting and chatting, but i tried not to get any of them in the photos… don’t wanna offend anyone. one of the two rooms was designated a quiet room, which i thought was way cool. in there were some people my age – and older. it all looked very cozy & inviting.

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the walls in the hallway were covered, and i mean plastered, with flyers, posters, invitation, information. everything from medicine (of all kinds), to yoga, to meditation, to schools, to things for sale, to organic farms, to markets, to technology, to… well, everything. everything completely alternative, of course. or most of it. but, it was cool to see things that were not so mainstream. i love it when people open their minds to considering other options, and i’m talking like using solar power instead of coal. or whatever else you think of. now, there is a line & a limit somewhere, but perhaps we (i) could be more open to different ways of thinking, and of living. perhaps we (i) do not need to get stuck in our little boxes and then judge people who’s boxes are different that our own.

speaking, i realize that i have made this coffee bar into its own little hipster box, but you know… it’s geared and advertised to a certain crowd. just like the grove park inn is geared to a certain crowd. that doesn’t mean that other “types” of people are not welcome, or they should be. it just means that birds of a feather flock together. and strangers, different people, outsiders, different types of birds are still certainly welcome. at least that’s how it is at battle cat coffee bar. and i love that.

side note: i am certainly becoming bolder as a result of this fika project. i may feel out of place when i walk into any given cafe or coffeehouse with a certain vibe, but after about 5 minutes of letting that place sink in and observing what’s good about it, i realize that i don’t really care. that awkward feeling is usually just all in my head anyway. there is no place i don’t fit in. and if someone thinks otherwise, then that is how they think. i, for one, am confident in who i am. and i, just like everyone else, belong anywhere and everywhere.  we all do.

i grabbed my fresh chai, which was now ready, i and headed outside. there is a front porch, which is clearly a popular place, as there were no available seats there. so, i went to the front yard, which was filled with picnic tables, iron tables, and outdoor chairs – all old, and most likely up-cycled. i’m digging that word. i grabbed a little yellow metal chair and sat under a tree, with a bird’s eye view of the whole front yard and porch.

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people came and went. constantly. this is a very popular place. where inside, it was fairly quiet and dark, a cozy place to read and do work, outside was fun and vibrant. people talked, smoked, ate, and enjoyed each other’s company. i had the company of a dog for a while, since her owner went in to order food. and soon, another man came and sat beside me with his dog. we chatted some as we enjoyed the amazing asheville weather.

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you know, this is what i love about asheville, and the south. people just start talking to each other. most everyone’s so friendly and nice. and you don’t usually offend anybody if you strike up a conversation with them, because it’s pretty easy to tell if someone is busy and focused and doesn’t want to talk. so, if you see a stranger and have something to say, just say it. who knows what kind of amazing encounter you might have.

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i’ve come to the conclusion after 24 days of fika that i am at home with the hipsters. and the hippies. and the tourists. and… whatever other group you want to define. but, how about this? how about we stop defining? how about we just accept and live and experience each other as we are? how about we allow ourselves to feel at home wherever we are, and welcome others as if they are coming home, no matter who they are? how about it?

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namaste. /liz

battle cat coffee bar . 323 haywood road . asheville, nc. 28804 . www.battlecatcoffeebar.com

About Liz McGuire

Liz is a blogger, writer, and amateur photographer in Asheville, NC. She is a returning expat, re-adjusting to American life after living in Sweden for the past three years. On any given day you can find her planning her next adventure with her wife, blogging away on her blog (www.belovelive.com) about daily life and social issues, and discovering little hidden gems and secret places in the city. She faithfully totes her camera and her coffee mug everywhere she goes. And she’s always up for a conversation about spirituality, politics, or other taboo topics. You can find her on the web at www.belovelive.com.

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