I’m all about the destination.

People say things like,
enjoy the journey…

Yah, yah.
It sounds nice and all,
but a little hippy dippy
(no offense).

But I’m learning.

Today I decided to go to FIKA.

I’ve wanted to go there for over a year. It’s a little Swedish-inspired coffee shop in Kensington Market.

FIKA is a Swedish verb meaning, “to go out for coffee.” It can also be used as a noun: “coffee break” (your fun little word facts for the day!) It’s common in Sweden to invite friends to fika every few hours during the work day. And coffee also means a small snack like a cinnamon bun or a piece of cake. Now you can see why this magical sounding place was on my must see list.

I wanted
to sit.
sip.
nibble.
and write.

I was disappointed.

The place was packed; there wasn’t one seat left. The majority of the coffee shop was filled with people working alone on their laptops (which I can’t say anything about; I planned to do the same). And I found it ironic that a coffee shop named after a custom involving friends and going out for coffee together was filled with customers flying solo.

It felt like the opposite of fika.

I spent $12 for a latte and two cookies.
And I left.

This is what I learned:

  1. I need to be careful about building things up in my head. I had a year of imagining how magical this place would be. The FIKA instagram account is amazing. Once you see the pastries, you’ll wanna go too. Pictures of warm wooden tables, perfectly poured lattes in cute mugs, and traditional cinnamon buns make this space look warm and inviting.
  2. Things aren’t always what they seem.

When I got there, it felt very different. Maybe it was just me. Maybe it was just the day. It felt like any other coffee shop and it made me think about the connection between branding and experience. Does it feel the way it looks online? What is the experience like for the person who visits? Is it different than what they expected?

I’ve been in coffee shops that reserve tables for people to socialize. I kinda like it. Even though it has relegated me to sit on a stool facing a brick wall with my laptop, I get it and can appreciate it. You know what they value. And with a name like FIKA, I was expecting it to feel different.

Now back to the journey part. I totally went on a tangent.

The best part of my adventure to FIKA today was my walk back to the subway station. Seriously.

I walked by the AGO and thought, it would be nice to go in there and just wander around. I wonder what admission is… I bet their gift shop has nice stuff. I bet I could go in. They would want people to spend money…

And it was amazing. A beautiful curation of books, art, and stuff. The books were so creative and beautiful to look at. They had the best selection of children’s books and toys, and their Canadian themed products… I was in my happy place.

If you ever need to buy someone a gift, go to the AGO gift shop. You will find something great.

After the AGO, I wandered into a Curry’s art store before hopping on the subway. I began looking for little things that I could tuck into the writer’s kits that I’m making. Old school pencils. Flat carpenter pencils. Pink Pearl erasers like when we were in school.

I was able to find the Rhodia notebooks. I love their design and the feel of the smooth paper inside. I thought to myself, I would love to create something like this one day.

The AGO, an art store… the walk back to the subway was the best part of my adventure. And going home to Eric with an oatmeal, chocolate fig cookie for him from FIKA.

Maybe I’m starting to get the hang of this journey thing.