When my friend Greg met my parents for the first time, he exclaimed “Kristin’s famous in the band room! Of course she’s an amazing musician, but she’s always spilling that coffee of hers too!” Basically, I have my phone in one hand and some type of caffeinated beverage in the other no matter where I go. I completed my summer reading at Goodrich Coffee Company, said farewell to my high school friends at Clarence Center Coffee, and conducted a college interview at Spot Coffee. From the delicious beverages to the inviting ambience, cafes and coffee shops entice me and provoke a sense of calamity when I need to get work done.
While the food and drinks taste amazing, cafes also serve as the home to some of my greatest memories. I got to know one of my best friends of high school through our mutual affinity for music and coffee.
When I arrived at the NYSBDA (statewide band conference in New York) Honor Band, fear consumed me. In addition to anxiety associated with seating auditions, only one other girl from my school attended the event and she was a freshman. Waiting in line for lunch, I was extremely nervous about having to eat with total strangers, so I approached her and introduced myself. The reserved but kind tuba player became the spontaneous, exuberant, amazing individual who I now call my best friend.
Talking throughout the day acquainted Stephanie and me, but our true bonding time resulted from a “coffee date.” After the coffee cart was put away for the night, we went to a small cafe in the hotel and talked for hours. From our favorite classical pieces to the various idiosyncrasies of our director back at school, we bonded over a vast array of common interests.
Weeks after our first encounter, we visited Eastman School of Music. While thoughts of a dual degree program through University of Rochester and Eastman popped into my head once or twice and interested me, Steph is obsessed with Eastman, but for good reason. She serves as principal tuba in the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra, performed with Eastman’s “Tuba Mirum,” participated in the “Summer at Eastman” Wind Ensemble program, and receives endless comments from accomplished musicians. Much like I felt when touring Penn State, she adores the surrounding area and overall atmosphere of Eastman, including the neighboring Java’s Cafe. She invited me to Eastman so we could enjoy a chocolate sitch (a drink resembling a mocha frappuccino, but richer!) and talk.
Pictured Above: Our first chocolate sitch Snapchat picture of many!
Defined by a plethora of music students being interviewed or working on transpositions, quirky photographs lining the walls, and retro music, the cafe served as an exceptional location to bond with my relatively new friend even more.
Since the first visit, we have returned to Java’s (once we went four times in one day!) for rant sessions, casual chats about life, and people watching. Every time, the thought of our initial encounter comes to mind: both centering around coffee and music.
As I embark upon my blogging journey, I hope to build friendships as strong as Steph and mine’s while educating fellow Penn Staters on the greatest cafes and coffee shops both on campus and in downtown State College. If you have any suggestions on where I should begin my journey please let me know!