Coffee #68: Sophia Celeste Hogan (friends on Facebook since June 2009, 28 mutual friends)
Okay, a blog post that’s very much getting back to the roots of why I started this project: a coffee with someone I’ve been friends with on Facebook, but barely know and have wanted to connect with IRL for years. Today I caught up with the freakin’ radiant Sophia Celeste Hogan, someone I’ve always thought was super cool and interesting. We met at a party back in 2009 at ‘the warehouse’ through mutual friends and our relationship since has basically existed of occasionally having online conversations about Pee Wee Herman and liking each others’ photos on Instagram. The three or four times we’ve run into each other since, I’ve always thought to myself ‘I really need to make more of an effort to hang out with Sophia.' The last time I saw her was with Daphne (coffee #9) in 2012 during one of our ‘yes day’ / mall rat sessions where we visited Sophia at Lush (where she works) and tried on a bunch of hand creams and smelt different soaps for fun.
So today I was very much looking forward to getting to know more about Sophia. Turns out we live about five minutes away from each other, so we caught up at a nearby cafe and hung out for almost seven very fun hours and ended up drinking beers in the park after our coffees. I’d call myself fairly engaged and a relatively energetic conversationalist, but Sophia was next level. We chatted at a million miles an hour about her childhood dreams of being Lara Croft, eating grasshoppers and traveling throughout Egypt and Japan and way too many things that would fit into this blog piece. She told me amazing story after amazing story about her recent travels to Tanzania where she spent six weeks with her Dad visiting her step mum (who is originally from Uganda)’s family. From there, Sophia went on to solo-travel throughout Zanzibar, telling me about her insane highlight of her trip, traveling three hours out into the middle of the ocean on a little boat to swim with a pod of dolphins.
Sophia told me about her life growing up in Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra where she attended a Steiner School from grades year 1 to 12. Compared with my relatively predictable lack of enjoyment of school, it was cool to hear how much Sophia loved her experiences studying at a Steiner School. She described her education as being 'very idyllic,’ with her school grounds being located in a pine forest and filled with 'so much creativity.’ She added by telling me, 'now that I have the perspective to look back at my education compared with more traditional educations, it sometimes seems weird that we learned how to crochet, or that we had to memorise epic poems… But it also seems awesome at the same time. I had amazing teachers that I’m still in touch with now, which speaks for itself.’ Hmm. My fascination with Steiner Schools continues.
After finishing studying History, Sophia moved to Melbourne with her best friend. It turns out that all of her creative nurturing paid off and these days Sophia is a hugely artistically-engaged person. Whether it’s through her excellent photography, her fascination with learning multiple languages (French and Swahili), or stopping mid-sentence to excitedly point out the ’cute willy-willy’ whirling around outside the window, Sophia’s brain is beautifully creative. Lately she’s been involved in styling and helping to create amazing video clips for bands with her two house mates, having recently transformed their living room into a mini-studio to create Pond’s puppet-heavy clip for their track ’Man It Feels Like Space Again.’ In a very 'small town Melbourne’ coincidence, the clip’s imagery was based on Ben Montero(coffee #21)’s original illustration for the single’s cover art. I thoroughly enjoy the fact that these two excellent people are connected through this Pond track and have never met each other (err…confirmation, Sophia & Ben, have you met?!) Sophia and her house mates completed the clip over six weeks and her stories of late night working bees / parties where people would come over to help make props and shoot the clip reminded me of the hugely creative warehouse days living with Paul (coffee #16). Side note: get back into doing more creative stuff ASAP. It was very cool to hear about Sophia’s recent travels to Berlin to attend the Berlin Music Video Awards where their Pond clip came second for 'Best Lo-Fi Clip.’
This coffee actually happened months ago, but I’ve just been so busy with work and school that it’s taken me ages to finish writing. After reading back on my notes from the coffee date and speaking to Sophia recently to confirm some of the things we spoke about, I was weirdly amazed at how quickly hers (and my) plans for 2015 had changed since this coffee happened. Plans for the year had changed and new life directions have since formed. Sophia and I have since hung out once after this coffee took place (a very fun night going into a deep youtube worm hole with her housemates) and while this coffee blog has definitely reconnected me with friends both new, old and unknown, it’s becoming more and more a weird realisation that while there are so many people in the world you could potentially be besties with, there’s just not enough time in the world to nurture every single friendship that comes along. This coffee experiment has put me in a strange, quite unnatural social pattern where I find myself speaking to *so many* people, that even though I feel as though I could be very close with each person, it’s just not humanly possible to be friends with absolutely every single person you connect with in your life journey. But, you can definitely try.
Sophia and I both drank a cold drip coffee. Proper catch up again soon!