Life Update #1: Life without take-away coffee & a data plan – it is possible!

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It’s been over a month now that I’ve written the blog post on being a coffeeholic and I have to say my coffee-addiction has changed quite a bit. I haven’t bought one take-away coffee since publishing that post! Instead I’m silently judging the people who pass me with those little plastic cups of coffee every day at the train station on my way to work. Adding to that, I also haven’t taken a coffee with me to work or anywhere else I went. It turns out that life without coffee on the go is possible – who would have thought?! Instead I drink one (admittedly huge) cup of coffee every morning and the second one when I get to my workplace. I might not be saving the environment but I feel a lot better about not wasting as much paper and plastic as I’ve used to.

There has been another addiction in connection with commuting to work: my smart phone. I have had a data plan for three years which I cancelled this month (there are much cheaper ones available by now) but I haven’t yet gotten a new one because I’m waiting for the new iPhone to come out which will be (hopefully) in September. I don’t yet own a lot of Apple products, I only have a 2nd generation iPod (it turns 8 years old in November and is still working perfectly *knocks on wood*), but having an iPhone has its advantages – especially if you have lots of American friends who all have iPhones and/or iPads. I’m not sure if I can afford the newest one but even buying a 5S right now seems silly as they are probably a lot cheaper when the new generation comes out.

WiFi only – for now at least…

This gives me about 3 to 4 months without having a data plan and I have to say it was horrible during the first week! While I would still prefer having a data plan, I now seem to only send messages when they’re really important. Like the other day when I finally got offered a job interview after sending out tons of applications – I sent an international text message to my best friend as I wanted her to know about it immediately because she has been so supportive whenever I complained about my job hunt. Before, I used to spam my friends just because I could. Now that I had to stop doing it, me spamming less might save a lot of my friendships. I hope my internet addiction (especially to facebook and whatsapp) will get a bit less intensive so that I will not start all over again once I have a new data plan…

Enjoy your take-away coffee (hopefully in a tumbler) while you read this post on your smart phone! 🙂


I’m a coffeeholic!

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I’m really sorry it took me a while to write a post, again, I read some really good books and whenever that happens I’m not able to do anything else until I’m done reading. 😉

To give you an update on my reading: I should be reading Daniel Defoe’s Roxana (1724) for my PhD right now – don’t get me wrong, I just made myself a reading schedule to finally finish it but it’ll still take a while. However, when I got home from my vacation and after I did a lot of work for a meeting with my supervisor I thought I’d reward myself with something fun to read. I ended up choosing Christopher Paolini’s Eragon (2003) which has been on my bookshelf for far too long (along with 116 other unread books – oh well I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a bookaholic!). I really, really liked it! I read it in a week and really want to read the second, third and fourth book of the series now. But I should really be reading Roxana right now. I just can’t read for my PhD while I’m on the train and since I spend approximately 2 to 3 hours on the train per week I need something light to read on the side. For this I chose Helen Fielding’s Cause Caleb (1994) and I didn’t expect to like it so I thought it wouldn’t cause a reading marathon as Eragon did. Man was I wrong! I didn’t read it as quickly but once I started I couldn’t really stop thinking about it even while I did PhD stuff. It’s about a women called Rosie who lives in London with her TV-presenter boyfriend Oliver. After a bad break-up she decides to go to Africa and runs a refugee camp for four years. When an overwhelming catastrophe is about to happen she returns to London to ask her former friends in the showbiz for help.

Reading material (German versions of Eragon & Cause Caleb)

It’s really good – read it if you didn’t do so already! I have not (yet) read the Bridget Jones series but based on the movies I can tell you that Cause Caleb is very different so don’t let your dislike of the Bridget Jones novels stop you from reading Helen Fielding’s first novel!

When Rosie gets back to London after she spent four years in Africa, she realises how different our lifestyle is. We enjoy so many conveniences that are bad for the environment. This got me thinking about what I can do on a daily basis to help. I’m a huge coffee drinker and I drink at least one coffee every morning. I have a machine that works with capsules and each coffee means one capsule that’s thrown away just so that I can enjoy my coffee. (The same is true for pad machines.) I also drink at least one coffee in the afternoon. But then there are these days when I’m late or lazy and I just get a take-away coffee at my local coffee shop to take it with me on the train. That’s even more waste, paper and plastic! That’s not okay! In fact I’ve thought about this for a while already but the book gave me the final nudge. The long and the short of it, we put our old coffee machine in the basement (in case the new one breaks – let’s hope not though!) and got a new one which can be filled with real coffee beans or coffee powder. That was an investment but in the long run it will produce less waste and I think it will save us money, too. 16 capsules cost about 4,50€ and we drink about two to eight coffees per day. As you can see it added up – thankfully I can get coffee at work so it rarely happened that we had to use eight capsules a day but there are always those lazy Sundays…

There’s also a solution for the take-away coffee lovers. I only get them in emergencies and if I do I at least separate the plastic top from the paper bottom before I toss them. Instead I try to use reusable mugs and tumblers that aren’t only environmentally friendly but also look super cute! (I’m such a girl here but you got to admit that it’s true!)

My tumbler collection

I try to not forget my tumbler whenever I think I might need coffee on the go but sometimes it does happen. For this, Starbucks provides reusable and recyclable cups which look like their normal take-away cups. These are cheaper than the real tumblers because they’re not as sturdy and long-lasting but better for the environment than the normal take-away cups. While I haven’t reused mine since I bought it, I now use it as decoration in my room, I use the tumblers which you can see in the picture above instead.

Starbucks reusable & recyclable take-away cup

So I think it’s a great improvement, I already noticed the effect of the new coffee machine – and not only because the coffee tastes better! – there’s really less waste to carry outside and I feel much better about being a coffeeholic now. 🙂