Best Things of the Week!

Week two of the “Best Things” feature!

1. My family gets multi-culti

Proud to be an Irish-American

I am Minnesota born-and-raised, but I am also a dual citizen of the USA and Ireland.  Such a thing is possible because my grandfather was born in Ireland.  My mother and all her siblings were automatically citizens, and my generation had the option to apply too.  Last October, my mom and I took a trip to the Irish Consulate in Chicago to drop off my application; just over a week ago, my paperwork came through.  What does this mean?  It means I can travel on an Irish passport, or move to the European Union someday, or just feel super authentic at the upcoming Irish Fair.

And proud to know some great Kenyan-Americans

My amazing sister-in-law is also a new dual-citizen: on Friday, she passed her US Citizenship test.  She’ll also maintain her Kenyan citizenship, and thanks to a new ruling by the Kenyan government, my brother is eligible for Kenyan citizenship, too.  No telling yet if he’ll do that or go Irish like me, but I know I would genuinely enjoy introducing K as my “African-American brother,” because people who are whiter than my brother include Conan O’Brien and ghosts.

2. Baby Ez and Arboretum Nostalgia

After I graduated from college, I spent a year working at Saint John’s Arboretum.  It was an interesting, bizarre, wonderful experience.  I kept a blog of my adventures which has since disappeared from the website; if I can track down what I wrote for it, I may post it here – for, uh, posterity’s sake. Future generations will need to know how hard I failed at snowshoeing!  I cannot deny them that!


Also, I got to do this once.

Anyway, I also made a great life-long friend in my Arboretum office buddy, Cassie.  On Sunday, I visited Cassie and two of my other favorite humans: two-year-old Ira and 3-day-old Ezra.  The cuteness was almost unbearable, and the Arboretum-reminiscing with Cassie was equally excellent.

3. Lookin’ awkward on TV (but for a good cause)

In May of this year, a deadly tornado hit North Minneapolis.  Like many people in MN who saw the aftermath, I donated to the Red Cross, and signed up to be a disaster phone bank volunteer with the Salvation Army.  Today, I got to smile awkwardly at the camera on WCCO until the phones started ringing off the hook.  A good amount of donations poured in for North Minneapolis, which is impressive considering it’s been almost two months and the rest of the state has had quite a few severe storms in the meantime.  Good job, Minnesota!  No matter my citizenship, you will always have my heart.

PS: To learn how you can help the Salvation Army’s North Minneapolis Tornado Relief, and North Dakota Flood Relief, visit this website. And thanks to everyone who told me I did not look that weird on TV.

My fifteen minutes of @Caribou_Coffee fame

I make a pretty decent cup of coffee.  From what I remember, anyway — I haven’t made more than one or two cups at home in the past month.  Instead, first thing every morning, I walk down the street to Caribou Coffee.  The baristas are the first people I see every day, and they know my usual — a medium dark roast with room.  I’m not getting anything fancy (at that hour, anyway), and although it’s a short hike from my place to Caribou, I literally cut through the parking lot of another coffee shop to get there.

I recognize how crazy that sounds.  So what keeps me going back to Caribou day after day?

My name on a Caribou cup

At the top, the cup reads: "Trivia nights with friends, Rachel P." You are in the presence of coffee royalty. Also this smoothie tasted better than it photographed.

Adding to my general addiction to coffee, Caribou does a great job with marketing.  Their slogan is catchy: “Life is short. Stay awake for it.”  Their Facebook and Twitter accounts keep me up to date on sales and events.  The website, like the store itself, includes a trivia section and a section for suggestions.  And the new frequency cards were call-the-family newsworthy.

If I sound like a poster child for Caribou Coffee, it’s only because I am.  A few months ago, Caribou started a “What do you stay awake for?” campaign, and my submission is featured on the large cold cups.  The day I got an email saying my name would appear on “millions of cups” was one of the best of my life, at least until the frequency cards arrived.

Do I just love the product so much I couldn’t help but participate in their marketing campaign?  Or is their marketing campaign so good, I just couldn’t help but want to participate?  I honestly think it’s a little of both.  I don’t mind hitting the “like” button for a product I actually love, and I don’t mind a daily bit of marketing if it comes with a bit of fun.  And a bit of caffeine.