Posted by: Shanna Germain | 05/28/2009

Insert 3: Jane

Insert number 3. I’ve decided to do them throughout this week, mainly because I got so many good ones in my inbox, and also because I have a friend visiting from the States, and I’m dragging him all over Scotland like a fool (I’m the fool, not him), and I promise to write all about those trips/drags/hikes, as soon as they’re done. But in the meantime, I’m loving the chance to share all these people and pieces with you, and I hope you’re getting inspired to take your own photos and tell me your tales!

*

I met Jane a few times before I had the chance to really get to know her. We worked together in coffee, and I knew she was funny, and dedicated and smart. But that was only from a few chance conversations as we all hung out during conferences or other work events.

But one of the first times I can really remember hanging out with Jane was on Halloween night, I think it was in Seattle (I know I’ve mentioned once or twice that the reason I write fiction is because I can never remember the details of what’s happened in the past, so it might have been a different city. But I don’t think it was.). I can’t even remember if I was dressed up (which was probably more the fault of too many drinks that night, and not my poor memory). I believe that was the year I wore a magenta bob wig and a psychedelic green and red dress with really, really high platform shoes. Or that might have been the year after. Either way, we all went out to a club and went dancing. And we had an amazing time. It was one of those times when you really click with a person. You get to know them in a way that becomes more than “someone I know from work” and moves into “someone I’m becoming friends with.”

A few years after that, Jane left the coffee industry to pursue one of her other loves — wine. And in the midst of this huge transition — she was leaving a long-time job, she was moving to a new town, she was starting school — she came to see me, no, she drove three hours to see me, give a reading at Powell’s bookstore. I’ve never, ever forgotten that kindness, that support. It made me realize that being a friend to someone is not always about the big things. Sometimes it’s about taking a bit of time out of your busy schedule to sit in the audience, smiling, quietly cheering them on.

*

SLO from the mountain(2)

Shanna,

I’m enjoying your travelogue very much.

My own travels seem to be more in my spirit and goals than an actual movement from place to place. San Luis Obispo doesn’t quite feel like home – we can sense it being much more of a transitive stop than a new place to put down roots. With finals in two weeks, I’m halfway through my MBA and already looking ahead for where and what the next stop will be.

I’m specializing in Agribusiness – which I thought was going to give me a stronger connection to the grapes that I love. Far from it. Instead I’m drawn to food production and supply chains. Two incredibly unsexy topics and yet inevitably vital in our world. Somehow it’s brought me back to coffee – not such a bad thing, really. I’ll be doing my internship with TransFair this summer. I applied with the idea that I would be assigned to some new item they were considering and would be analyzing the market capabilities of walnuts or some such thing. Instead I’ll be working on communication of market conditions to producers and roasters. I’m not sure if this says I can’t leave my past or that I’m smart enough to work in a field I know something about. I hope to find out during the next 3 months.

My dreams of wine haven’t left me. What I have found is that it is difficult to fully embrace the growth of the industry now that I know more about the effects of production. I may have to be more of a dedicated volunteer in some small winery that I can help instead of finding a career path within the industry. Considering the current job market, I feel that’s a fine way of putting a positive spin on declining opportunities.

jasmine at home

You wanted some pictures. One is a picture taken from the mountain next to my house looking back at the city of SLO. Kjersten encourages me to join her on hikes to the top. A great view but a quad killer for me. Also, the oddly ubiquitous jasmine that grows like weeds here. The smell is amazing. (It’s a pleasant cover for the livestock grazing everywhere.) Last is a picture that is really more for me. I took a look at some of my reading for this quarter and in the aggregate it’s an amazing view of the world – and one which excites me. Learning and change and challenges. And yet I crave a novel. Something light, frothy even, without a mention of supply and demand curves or political economies.

Reading list

I’ll send you others later of the vineyards that surround us. They are beautiful to see as the vines grow and spread out their leaves. That could be said for our friends, as well.

Peace,

Jane

*

“Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.” ~Mark Twain

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Responses

  1. Shanna, I’m still smiling and not-so-quietly cheering you on. Thanks for your kind words.

    J


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