Cities are often portrayed as places where dreams come true (or are dashed to pieces), and, every so often, we hear stories that reinforce this image of a concrete place of promise. As I walked along South Bridge Street toward Edinburgh’s New Town one Sunday afternoon with a group of folks from my church, I heard two such stories.
The first was about the place to which we were heading, the Cairngorm Coffee Co. According to a friend, who has been working at this and other coffee shops since arriving in Edinburgh a little over a year ago, the owner of Cairngorm Coffee Co. came to Edinburgh after falling in love with a girl who moved to this city. He wanted to go with her and the only way to do it was to simply go and then figure out what to do upon arrival; so that’s what he did. The coffee shop was his way to make a living in the city he needed to be in for his heart’s sake. Talk about following your heart and hoping for the best! Thankfully, it seems to have worked so far – the coffee shop, though tiny and rather tucked away, is doing well, serving delicious grilled cheese sandwiches and steaming cups of latte art and teas.
The second story briefly told was about a couple from Singapore who decided to chase their dreams before they were ‘too old.’ Apparently, they dropped everything at home and moved to Edinburgh to open a food cart. I have not yet found this food cart, but my friend assured me that the food was delicious and the owners were extremely sweet and fun to chat with while waiting for your meal. Yet another example of chasing your dreams and seeing a city – particularly a faraway city! – as the most viable location for realizing those dreams.
As I sat outside in the (rare!) warm sunshine with my friends from church, chatting over a beautifully scrumptious grilled cheese sandwich, I thought about these stories and the role the city plays in our dreams and goals. There are undoubtedly many opportunities afforded by a thriving urban environment; we have to be careful not to romanticize urban life and conditions, but it is always encouraging to see people take life by the reins and decide some risks are worth it. Whether I’m in a city or not, this mentality of never being ‘too old’ and chasing the passions placed in our hearts will remain with me.
Especially if it involves food!