Anton - 1951 Coffee Graduate Series

Anton - 1951 Coffee Graduate Series
Person drinking coffee in front of a window

I was born and raised in Siberia, Russia. The sun lasts for 3 months, the fall is 1 month of snow, it melts in the middle of May, and by June all the trees are green. Once I graduated high school and returned to my native city, the snow would melt in April, and for the next two months the trees would stay naked. It was so crazy to me! It was so weird, so ugly. That’s where I spent most of my life, in a snowy desert.

Russia in the past years was very hard in a totalitarian way. Freedoms were being cut one by one, and that process was accelerating. Getting here was very exciting to me, first of all because I would acquire those freedoms back, and even gain freedoms I never had before.

This is the reason why I still want to stay in the Bay Area. Even within the US, not everyone has these freedoms, but I do have them here. And it’s worth working hard and paying expensive rent to stay here.

Before, I thought of coffee as just a drink. It’s something you put in water and that’s it. But coffee is community. Coffee is not just something you drink, it’s a lifestyle, it’s something that brings people together, and that’s what I like about this whole thing. I can stop drinking coffee entirely and go back to tea, but it’s the community.

Person leaning on cafe bar

The biggest wisdom I could share (with trainees): Be open-minded. If you’re not into coffee right now and you think it’s for other people or beneath you, give up those stereotypes. Maybe it’s about any job, it can be whatever you want it to be. If you think it’s going to be bad, then it’s going to be bad. But it can actually surprise you like any new opportunity. Open your mind, be friendly, help others.

Asylum saved my life and you guys did the same thing. I was in a really really bad place when I applied. And I was told this simple thing by someone who got asylum a while ago, so I’m passing that wisdom on: It’s simply worth it. Don’t be afraid, there will always be people who will help you.

I feel lucky and privileged that I was (and still am surrounded by very good and nice people. I know they will always have my back and I know that I will have their backs, no matter what. When I say that it saved my life, I mean it.