To Wander and Wonder: Buffalove Fika

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I was at Tipico coffee today, which is a new pitstop for me on what has become a vicious cycle of Buffalo trips and tidbits. I left Buffalo at 18 for college, and aside from a 10-month return home post-grad school, I haven’t fully lived and invested in the area since high school. Growing up, I had limited experiences in the city. I was a true suburban girl, and mostly due to age and schedule, I didn’t wander. The latter has been a theme for me in my twenties and thirties. I wander. From New Jersey to Texas to New York City and back to New Jersey again, I’ve toured spots and engaged in scenarios that have challenged me, cultivated courage, and forced confidence when it wasn’t popular or a priority. In doing so, I’ve not only wandered, but I’ve wondered.

In my limited but well-liked scope of things, I recognize that I’m a small entity in a much bigger plan. I wonder, like most, what’s my purpose? It’s fika. Seriously, after talking and writing about many things throughout my life, and forcing myself to surrender writing out of frustration and fear, I’m completely in love with what I’m doing. Taking a break to talk is transformative. Finding people to connect with is inspiring. I’m fulfilling and exceeding my own expectations. Most importantly, it’s so much fun.

Tipico came recommended to me by a few Buffalonians so I desperately wanted to check it out. I wandered in and found a crowd worthy of indulgent observation. After securing a spot I set out for a latte. Kudos to this cafe for crafting the most delicious and bold latte I’ve had in a long time. I’m still salivating over it and I’m now ruined because my local place in Jersey doesn’t come close to what I sipped on today.

I had a few quick and charismatic discussions, but my favorite was hands down with a lovely lady named Ellen. We went to high school together and hadn’t seen each other in 18 years. She was a year ahead of me and I always enjoyed and respected her genuine kindness. We had a chance to connect and it was so lovely to talk all things life with someone I hadn’t seen in so long. We related to one another, despite all of the time and distance since our last interaction, and shared stories and news of classmates, motherhood, careers, and family. It was a basic catch up with no grandiose agenda. It was fika in its purest and most basic form, which is exactly what I strive for when I set out wandering and wondering with my laptop in hand.

And while I hope she walked away pleased by our conversation, I’m certain she didn’t understand the pure joy I felt after her departure. Simply put, she reaffirmed my belief in fika’s extraordinary ability to elevate ordinary opportunities. Our simple conversation left me thinking bigger and feeling better. I walked away with three new possible projects and since our caffeinated chat one is already well underway.

I need to spend more time in Buffalo. Usually, I’m home for a quick family visit and focus my attention accordingly. But something about Tipico, my conversation with Ellen, and the general vibe of Buffalo is calling me. There’s a lot of inspiration here. This city is full of charm, great coffee, and unending potential. Thanks to Tipico for the perfect setting. And many thanks and much love to Ellen. Your support, sharing, and stories made their mark on me today.

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