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Day 34: On mosaics, community, & expectations.

it was mostly cloudy and chilly, and all i wanted was to find a little, dark, cozy cafe corner all to myself. i wanted to order something warm and pumpkin-y and yummy. i wanted to open my computer and sit there for a couple of hours. working, nesting, snuggling. sounds perfect, huh? do you think that’s how it went for me? nope. it did not go like that. not at all.

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i drove south on interstate 26 toward the newly built city within a city, biltmore park, certain that i would find my dream autumn day cozy spot. i was headed to a cafe named mosaic. that sounded all dark and cozy to me. and when i hear the word “mosaic”, i immediately think: diversity, uniqueness, artsy, colorfulness. a perfect little place.

why i expected that in the middle of biltmore park, i’ll never know.

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biltmore park is cool, but not really my style. i totally appreciate it and i visit the movie theatre there almost every time i go see a movie, but it’s a little upscale community that is one of those suburban-urban places. newly built, it has sidewalks winding around the buildings with store and restaurants on the ground floor and urban, lofty apartments above. the stores are not really chain stores, which is very cool. i love independent places. i have never been into any of them, but the wine & cheese store looks promising. wink wink. other than that, and barnes & noble (most definitely a chain store, but i love it anyway), the rest of the stores are not really my style either.

the apartments look cool with their loft, industrial-look from the outside. all of them with cool balconies, but it’s too much of a community. where i live is most definitely a community of newly built apartments, but our style is a little more arts & crafts, 1920s asheville merges with 21st century asheville. and we’re not in the suburbs, we are just outside downtown and a community all on our own – a community of just apartment homes, no stores or restaurants.

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in biltmore park, the whole community is right there. like a little downtown, but a man-made downtown, if you get what i mean. not a “natural”, old downtown. here it is fabricated. a “planned community” as their website describes it. still, it looks cool. but, i’m pretty sure it’s outrageously expensive and way too upsacale for me. i’m a bit more bohemian and organic than this place – which my apartment isn’t exactly like that either, but it’s waaaay closer and it’s green. and you know, when you are married, you work to find something that works for you both. so, we both love where we live right now.

so, why i thought that there would be a bohemian cafe there is beyond me.

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needless to say, since i had all these ideas and plans about how my fika was going to go today, i also had a dose of reality hit me right in the face. expectations… dashed. mosaic was, in no way, the place i dreamed up in my little head. when did i start dreaming up what the cafes would be like? didn’t i begin this project with no expectations and find excitement and craziness in every place? i think i’m having a coming to the end of the 40 days crisis: i have come to know what i like in a cafe, and i am dying to just cuddle up with myself or a friend or two in some of my favorite places. i keep thinking about a few different cafe and how i can’t wait to go back. i am not focused on the present moment. i am not focused on the joy of the project, but am ready for it to wrap up. i’m getting into that transitional stage of knowing that it’s coming to an end, so i’m focusing  on what comes next instead of right now. i gotta fix that.

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yes, i walked into mosaic and it was not at all what i had built up in my head. not. at. all. there were cute mosaic tables and dark wooden chairs, but the similarities to my fantasy mosaic ended there. there was a counter and a coffee bar, and two super friendly women working behind the counter. they were smile-y, sweet, and extremely kind. how nice that felt.

i noticed pretty quickly that there was one piece of pumpkin bread left and immediately decided that it was mine, though three people stood in front of me. i silently prayed that the food gods would intervene and keep my piece of pumpkin bread safe. it worked. i paid for my coffee and pumpkin bread, and then took my seat at a little table facing the cafe.

people poured in and out, and once again, i had discovered a place with regular regulars. they greeted the ladies behind the counter and engaged in conversations with them, the ladies behind the counter asking if they would have this or that today. gosh, i am so impressed by these places that create a little community of regulars who return again and again. it gives me hope for this individualistic world. when we can establish, not just routines, but relationships with one another – even over brief encounters in a cafe, i feel hope for humanity.

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so, i ate my yummy bread, sipped my amazing black widow coffee, and watch the world pass by in this little cafe. not what i planned or expected, but a good moment and a good time to reflect anyway.

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it’s just so amazing, and so important, to slow down and fika. that i have proven to myself.

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namaste. /liz

mosaic cafe . 1  town square blvd.  suite 150 . asheville, nc . www.ilovemosaiccafe.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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