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Just an Ordinary Person - Linda

Author: Llinda | Editor: Kelvin & Jack


… Just an Ordinary Person …

After so many articles about Torch’s Coffee Voyagers, I think we basically understand what this is all about.

Peter is awesome, Hou Ye is an inspiration, Joel is a fountain of positive energy, DP is always in pursuit of happiness, and Samuel and Marty’s experiences have made a major impact on the coffee scene in China.  

Suddenly, I feel there is a huge space between us, learning about their successes.

Who am I?  In this ocean of people, why can’t I be like them?  Each one of them is a talented coffee voyager.

I am not a coffee person, but I always have enthusiasm for coffee. 

However, I think coffee will be useful, I believe coffee will help us find the life we are meant to live.

For today’s essay, I want us to focus on one concept:

“You are the unique one.”

It may seem like a simple sentence. But how can we know the mystery of the words? There are too many doubts, judgments and strange visions influencing our decisions and our lives.

The following conversations are just a few examples:

“How old are you? Are you still working in a low-paying job?  You know there is no chance for development, right?”

“Don't do this industry! It's not stable. It would be better to choose a more stable career.”

“Still single? Can’t get a girlfriend?” 

“You're with that guy? He’s no good!"

The pressure of public opinions often lead us to make decisions that deny our true selves from shining, just to win the approval of others.

So does that mean we need to be a rebel? No, no, no! I don’t want everyone to be rebels. The important thing is to accept yourself, learn who you are, and explore your own extraordinariness.

Extraordinariness is when you face your true self, who you can become, for the first time, and you feel a sense of fear.  

“Is this really who I am?  Can I really become this amazing person?”

This is why it is not easy for everyone to accept it for the first time.

When I faced my own extraordinariness for the first time, I chose to run away, hide, blame myself, and live in panic and unhappiness, denying who I am.

Everyone's starting line is different, and everyone’s journey is different. This can make us feel as though we live in an unfair society.

But just because our starting lives are different, does this mean must live an ordinary life?

Ordinary and extra-ordinary. What does this mean? Ordinary, no great achievement; extraordinary, very successful. Is this what it means? Who decides this??

For this week’s story, I want to share the story of a unique coffee voyager, a local girl from Pu’er. She may not have the same level of fame or the same following in coffee circles, but she has a certain sense of “second crack” for coffee beans—she is direct, no nonsense and straightforward.

Let’s jump into her story now…

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Hi there, my name is Kui Jiling, but you can call me Linda Kui. I'm a local Pu’er girl and even though I haven't visited many places, I have always liked my own city. Maybe it's because I watched my city grow up. 

Well, the most important thing for us is being happy

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After graduating from university in 2014, I did not hesitate to return to Pu'er. Because my major is English Education, I had to spend one semester working in a town in the county of Pu’er before graduating.

The job was in “supporting education”, something that I had always wanted to do. At that time, I felt satisfied and happy. I also believed after graduating from university, I would take the test to become a teacher so that I could help students in need.

At that time, my heart was strong-willed.

After I graduated, I realized that I wasn’t that amazing. No power or money, how could I enjoy life in the big city?  What will I do if i stay in my hometown?

So i chose to work as a government volunteer in the urban areas while looking for a steady job as a civil servant or in other public institutions.  

Actually, I also wanted to push myself to find out if this was really the life I wanted. And that life was very stable.

But even so, i felt unhappy, unfulfilled, confused. This wasn’t the future I wanted for myself.  And after all, the most important thing in this life is to be happy.

After one year, I quit my job and ventured to the north…I went to Shangri-La, where I found a project for teaching.

The reality was that such a project still cost a lot of money, but I decided to have a look anyway. After spending a dozen days there, I wasn’t confused anymore. I thought a lot about my life, and even felt relieved.

Our lives are too short, so you need to do whatever you want to do, even if it’s not worth it, even if it really is a waste. Don’t hesitate!

My Chance Meeting with Coffee

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I would often go to an “English Salon” with friends, so I had some limited contact with “specialty coffee”, and I even visited the farms a few times. 

I was starting to develop a taste for different and exotic foods from all over the world, and coffee began to attract me more and more.

In November 2016, I happened to come across Torch’s recruitment ad in my WeChat moments, so I decided to give this a try. 

After all, I am a Pu’er native, so it would be awesome if I understood more about not only Pu’er tea, but also Pu’er coffee. I’ve been working for Torch ever since then.

For me, sales is not just about making money.  

Sales is an agent of change, a driving force, it is about setting higher requirements and sense of responsibility for ourselves, understanding others and learning how to become more persuasive, and doing something meaningful. 

Time goes flies!  It seems that the goals established before starting work (of course, earning money and learning coffee step by step)  have not been completed. 

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No, it was absolutely not finished. Thinking silently for a minute, what am I doing? Time really goes flies.

Time flies by so quickly, and it often seems as though the goals we set for ourselves are never totally competed, not at all. Sometimes I need to take a moment to clear my mind.  Time really flies by.

The Power of Coffee farmers

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Yes! I think coffee is very interesting. Sales requires us to learn all about coffee. Sometimes I have thought about giving up and not doing coffee any more.  Sometimes I think I cannot help this origin to gain greater market recognition, fair trade or more benefits for farmers by myself. 

As I was struggling with these questions, the 2017-18 harvest season was approaching. I heard that this year, Torch was doing a processing project. 

At the time, I thought, “If I can contact and chat with our local coffee farmers, and learn about Pu’er as a coffee origin, then I would definitely love to join this project.”

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I joined Torch’s “Mountain Man” Project, I became a “Mountain Man”. I never imagined I would have such an experience!  

Also, I never knew there were so many factors involved for processing, such as cherry fermentation time, and these processes’ turnaround times could be impacted by the weather.

For me, the happiest thing to see was that the coffee farmers were so willing to learn and adjust their processing methods.  Of course, this process takes time. 

But they were willing to learn, and this inspired me to continue doing coffee. I don’t know if any of the farmers will read this, but I just want to thank you for inspiring me!

Improving Coffee Quality in Yunnan

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First of all, I hope I can become a more reliable person in everything I do, I want to cherish this opportunity, and learn as much as I can about coffee. 

I hope to share this knowledge with coffee farmers, teach more people the basics of cupping and brewing, and try my best to improve the quality of coffee from my home, Yunnan. More than anything, I hope we can get market recognition.

Second to this is my desire to earn more money, support more projects, and share Yunnan coffee with more and more people. 

What happens if everyone not drinking coffee any more? Why?

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Drink Pu'er Tea!!! If there is no more coffee, we still have Pu’er tea to drink. (Just joking. There's no problem that eating with food, vegetables together.) I always think that except coffee, food can cure everything. 

In addition to the person who is making food, also we will share with each other, so  people who are eating around will be happier, isn't it?

What do you like to do in your leisure time?

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I love to do outdoor activities, hiking and taking photos all over Pu’er. I also like to try some sports, or else just sit outside and enjoy looking up to the stars.

This is my story as a coffee voyager! If you want to be my friend, feel free to add me on WeChat (ID: kjl_11). 

If you are interested in coffee, or even if you are just bored, you can contact me to buy green beans or roasted beans that help promote Yunnan coffees, especially the ones I processed by hand in our farms! I believe that you will be amazed and never disappointed!

Now let’s reflect on the story of Linda, the Mountain Man…

Her pursuit to be ordinary or extraordinary seems like a wave of battles. But I believe that everyone has his or her own extraordinary side.

However we cannot simply be a rebel in the pursuit of “extraordinary”. Instead we must have the courage to explore our own extraordinariness, accepting ourselves, whether good or not. We must begin by knowing ourselves. 

This is exactly what I hope to convey to everyone.

Someone may have said these words to you before. Now what you have to do is thank that person.

I understand this all too well, as I used to make myself feel worthless, and only lived for myself.

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You may face the pain of failure or the joy or success. But remember that all the extraordinary experiences were the result of prior difficulties, accumulated over the many years.

I hope that every coffee voyager’s life stories might inspire you somehow.