blog humans of coffee

Humans of coffee: Heather Mason

Who is Heather Mason?

I’m a 40-something writer-photographer-blogger and I live in Johannesburg, South Africa, in a suburb called Melville. I moved from the United States to South Africa in 2010, which is when I started writing my blog, 2Summers. Slowly, over the last six years, blogging has evolved from a hobby into a profession.

What is your best childhood memory?

I was a serious athlete during my childhood and youth and played on a competitive girls’ softball team. When I was about 15 my team won the Maryland State Championship, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, and went on to place 9th out of 60 teams at the U.S. National Championship. Being part of a team like that was an amazing experience and taught me a lot. It was definitely the best summer of my childhood.

If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?

Several years ago, I left a marriage. I knew I had to do it and I knew that ultimately my leaving would be the best thing for both my spouse and me. But I’ve never been able to fully forgive myself for the pain I caused. If I could go back again, I would still leave. But I would try to do it in a kinder, more thoughtful way.

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Photo by Andy Carrie

What do you feel most proud of?

I’m most proud of the person I’ve become since moving to Johannesburg. Before I came here, I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted out of life. I took some huge chances and went through very rough times trying to figure those things out, and life still isn’t easy for me now. But I know that I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing and I know that I’m having an impact on the world.

If you could only keep three possessions, what would they be and why?

I feel like this answer is very generic, but it would have to be my camera, my laptop, and my phone. As long as I have those three things, I can survive anywhere.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

Interesting, I’ve never thought about having a tombstone before. I often think about what would happen if I died and who would come to my funeral. A tombstone though? I’m not even sure I want one.

But let’s go with this: “Heather Mason. She was colorful.”

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Photo by Roy Potterill

What is 2summers.net?

Simply put, it’s a blog. But it’s actually much more than that. Writing 2Summers is what kept me in Joburg when I had every reason to give up and go back to the States. 2Summers turned me into an artist and a photographer. I hope that someday soon, 2Summers will become a book. Actually come to think of it, my blog is the one possession that I definitely can’t live without.

What’s your favorite kind of coffee, brew method or coffee origin?

If it’s early in the morning and I haven’t had coffee yet, I order an americano (sometimes a double). If it’s later and I’m already somewhat caffeinated, I order a cappuccino. When I’m at home, my favorite brew method is the old-fashioned coffee plunger, which I used to call a French press before moving to South Africa. My favorite coffee is the organic East African blend from Woolworths. I buy whole beans and grind them at home.

In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?

Currently, Bread & Roses Café is my favorite place to hang out in Melville. Bread & Roses serves a good cappuccino. But the best coffee in Melville is actually at Freedom Hair, the rockabilly salon next to Hell’s Kitchen. Freedom Hair has a serious barista named Lucky.

Outside Melville, my favorite coffee is at Bean There in 44 Stanley and Father Coffee in Braamfontein.

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Photo by Gareth Pon

What does a perfect day look like?

The best thing about my life is that every day is different. But yesterday was pretty perfect:

I got up early, worked out at the Hillbrow Boxing Club, and came home to work on my blog for an hour or two. Then I took some out-of-town friends on a tour through Joburg. We had Indian food in Fordsburg, stopped in at the Sheds @1Fox, then walked up Main Street (stopping for coffee at Cramer’s), through Gandhi Square. We finished the walk by going to the top of the Carlton Centre, the tallest building in Africa. On the way back through Gandhi Square we discovered a rad café/bar called Boundless City and hung out there for a while. I dropped my friends off, went home, and had dinner with my boyfriend.

Cover image by Fiver Locker

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