Below is the post I wrote on this day last year. It’s now been twenty-one years. I continue to be thankful for the fact that I’m among the survivors and for all that I’ve learned in the process.
|©Billy Howard Photography
(1994) from the art show & book
Angels & Monsters: A Child’s Eye View of Cancer
(find it HERE on Amazon)
Twenty years ago today, my oncologist confirmed that all of my scans were clear. Thirteen months of chemotherapy behind me, and loads of possibility and unknowns ahead. I was officially in remission, off-therapy, and a cancer survivor*.
Thanks for visiting the new home of Notes from Norge!
We are excited to continue to share coffee, culture,
and the day-to-day of an American family living in Europe.
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As it turned out on his visit, Otto’s had recently endured a fire. As such, the windows clearly explained,
Then again, coffee was exactly what Zack was looking for.
Playground’s set-up is no-frills. A quality third wave coffee shop with some playful splashes of color and chalkboard design thrown in. After all, you gotta find a bit of vintage style when you find yourself with prime real estate in a university neighborhood.
The barista behind the counter was from Australia. He had vast experience and really knew his stuff.
Zack thoroughly enjoyed his pour over.
Playground’s coffee packaging is almost as enjoyable as its coffee. Be sure to check it out on their website.
Learn more about Playground by visiting
But if you have not already heard, we have started a new site, focused on storytelling. We are seeking to create a platform that has several purposes:
We were searching for a lunch spot to meet up with my dad and step-mom. It really was more about location than anything else. Of course, the word coffee did appear in our search criteria…Tucked away in the second floor of what was once a community bank building, Higher Grounds is not in the most prominent of locations.
And yet, the customer traffic suggests that location isn’t a hindrance.
A cute breakfast and lunch spot, their menu offerings were fresh, creative, and enticing. I was definitely more interested in the food options than the coffee, at least initially.
But while ordering food, Zack asked the girl at the counter if they offered any sort of hand brewed coffees. She admitted her lack of coffee knowledge, but called her coworker from the back.
Out from the kitchen came a young man – emphasis on young. My first thought was, ‘how can this guy know anything about coffee?’ Seriously, I’m certain I’m old enough to be his mom. And I’m not THAT old.
Caleb smiled and offered to prepare a pour-over for us. We asked for a coffee recommendation. Turns out, the kid not only knows how to prepare coffee, but he also roasts his own beans.
Caleb De Avila and his brother Josh got the ‘roasting bug’ after watching the Travel Channel series Dangerous Grounds. So about a year ago, they began roasting their own beans. And in the last six months, Caleb has begun doing even more.
While most college kids spend their hours outside of the classroom in more traditional or conventional ways, Caleb spends the majority of that time with coffee. Whether he’s perfecting his roasting game, preparing coffee at Higher Grounds, or working at the company’s other shop 2 Ladies in the Attic, Caleb is all about the beans.
On the day we visited Higher Grounds, Caleb prepared two pour-overs for us: one Ethiopian and one Brazilian. Both were quite enjoyable.
His roasting skills are quite impressive, particularly given his age and the brevity of his roasting experience. And he’s also expanding his skills through experimentation with nitro cold brewed coffee.
In addition to good coffee, Higher Grounds is worth a visit for the food: definitely as delicious as it looks.
If you happen to be driving on I-85 just north of Gwinnett County, Georgia, take a break at exit 129. Turn one way and you’ll find Higher Grounds. Turn the other, and you’ll get to 2 Ladies in the Attic. Either way, if you happen to meet Caleb, tell him his new friends in Norway said hi!
6700 Georgia Highway 53
Braselton, GA 30517
2 Ladies in the Attic
9924 Davis Street
Braselton, GA 30517
Happy Three Year Anniversary to us!