#23 In Roads-Nia


I’ve met a friend at a local restaurant and our server is an outgoing, enthusiastic gal with a special glow. I ask if I can take her picture and she giggles. “Oh great, you would have to pick the one day I don’t wear makeup, but sure.” She doesn’t ask what I intend to use it for. I find it amazing that most people don’t ever flinch when I take their picture, nor do they ask why I’m so nosey. They just share their stories and strike a pose and I’m grateful that I don’t have to explain, preferring to hear their unedited stories.

Over the course of the meal she shares that she relocated from San Francisco’s bay area with her parents up to the foothills above Sacramento a few years ago but lives alone now. At 36 years old, she has a solid game plan for her hopes and dreams and is working hard to achieve them. She wants to open her own chicken and waffle house restaurant following the business plan of her current employers so she’s learning all she can from the ground up. She also moonlights at a Johnny Garlic restaurant that is owned by Guy Feri, the notorious Food Network chef, but doesn’t like their business psychology as well.

“I like Johnny’s ok, it’s fun, but I’m looking at it from a business perspective and I don’t think their plan works as well. The guys who own this restaurant have been around for a long time. It’s a chain that was started up by just the two of them and they’re very successful. My investors support my decision to do a waffle house and we’re looking for locations now. This is my second stab at this location, all together I’ve been with this house for three years, and I really like it here,” she explains.

I ask the origin of her name, which I find interesting.“Well, it  means “purpose” in Swahili and apparently my Mom named me on the last day of Kwanza, which all sounds pretty cool but basically she made the story of all that up. We just found all that information out in the last few years but she’s started telling it like she knew it from the beginning. Mom’s pretty creative that way,” she shares with a big smile and a wave of her hand. Apparently individual reality is what you create for yourself.


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