Globalized locally

I grabbed my upholstery fabric, memorably purchased in Jerusalem’s old city in 2017.  I think he said the perfectly patterned material was made in Syria.  My craigslist find 1980’s chair was already in the back of the minivan.  After I dropped my youngest kids off with a friend, I drove 20 minutes to my favorite upholsterer, the one who does excellent work in his warehouse of busy employees.  Two gentlemen came out of the workshop to pick up the wingback.  I opened the trunk and saw my industrial strength German stroller was blocking access.  Are we doing the stroller? they asked.  Covered in ten years of permanent stains, I had never considered having a custom stroller cover made.  Oh, the possibilities!  But no, not the stroller today.

Following them into the warehouse, I passed a man stapling straps to a chair seat.  Rolls of fabric and stacks of furniture touched every corner.  This was a happening place.

I described my vision for the chair and the craftsman took note and offered up an Italian leather remnant to replace the faux leather backing.  I was sold. Pocketing my invoice, I made my way back to the car.  Next on this excursion was a coffee shop that I’ve wanted to try for many months.  They specialize in roasting and distributing Mexican coffee, which is hard to find in my neighborhood.

As in most cities, parking was a problem.  I circled a massive sculpture of Abraham Lincoln before I found parking on a side street.  Lincoln grasped broken chains in his fists, resolve emanating from his eyes.  I was quite surprised and moved to unexpectedly see Honest Abe on a morning coffee run.

When I ordered a macchiato, the barista did what most baristas do at third wave coffee shops – clarify.  A macchiato is espresso with foam and maybe a touch of milk.  This I know! It’s no froo-froo drink à la Starbucks (sorry Starbucks fans).  My macchiato was delivered to my table with instagramable foam art (except I don’t do instragram).  And fresh banana bread.  I perused the local paper. . . then noticed the art.

The paint on a mural-sized creation of the Ethiopian coffee ritual gleamed in the light.  It was textured, applied to burlap coffee sacks and affixed to the wall. Incredible.  The artist had an Italian name.  I had to ask about.  The owner came of out the back corner behind the counter and explained his daughter’s art teacher created the work for his shop.  The teacher splits her time between Italy and Tijuana.  Makes sense, since I was in Tijuana, where there’s a notable arts scene.  And now a growing coffee scene.  Perfect for those us who like to take advantage of the fact that I can leave my house, cross the border without stopping, run errands, and come back through the SENTRI line in the time it takes someone to get gas at COSTCO on a Friday afternoon.


Read more about our U.S.-Mexico cross-border experiences here.

2 responses to “Globalized locally”

  1. Well, if the border closes, I won’t be able to go pick up my chair, but that’s minor compared to the thousands who cross the border back and forth every day for work, school, to visit family, conduct business, etc. One hundred thousand people go through that port of entry every day. It’s the busiest land border crossing in the world. Closing it would have a devastating effect on the San Diego economy.

  2. Hi, dear Heidi,

    I loved reading about your shopping adventures. But.. if Pres closes the borders, won’t it affect you? Yikes.



    Dorothy Tish Cell: 206-409-2672


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