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Playground PHX

Homebrew
My mother was dying of cancer. My brother and I were moving back to Arizona — him from Florida, me from New York City. We were circling the wagons. We were coming closer to home, and we were losing her.

We buried my mom on a Tuesday. I found myself in Phoenix on Friday. It was 108 degrees and I was driving around looking for a place to live. I had no business trying to make decisions like this. I kept saying to myself, "What are you doing?" But I had to make sure my young daughter had a smooth transition. I had a recommendation for a good school, but little else.

I felt so overwhelmed that I pulled the car into a parking lot to have a good cry, thinking, "There is so much I don't know right now."

Everything felt surreal: the heat, the desert, my loss. I needed an iced coffee. In Brooklyn, a good coffee house had been my touchstone for the neighborhood I'd lived in. I wasn't sure where I would find such a mix of thinking, working, and hanging out here in Phoenix.

By chance, I found that iced coffee — and I found my place. It was a turning point. Here, I could get great coffee and the paper. There was thinking going on here, and conversation and creativity.

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It was here that I thought there are just a couple of things I'm sure of, and I'm going to stick close to them. I've found a good school and a coffee shop that feels like home. Maybe that's it. Maybe this is all I need.

I knew I was going to be okay. The next day I rented an apartment that sits directly behind Lux.

LUX: 4404 N. Central Ave., 602-696-9976, Luxcoffee.com

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

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