When things go sour, as they did with Tides, it helps to keep perspective. It helps to not feed the anger, betrayal and disappointment. It helps to remind myself why my fiance and I invested in a business in Liberia in the first place. It helps to remember what we did.
So, for all of you who have sent me lovely notes full of gratitude for the spot we created together, here is my own gratitude list for Tides.
1. We created and managed a successful business.
For all the fun I had, this has to top the list. Nate and I aren't business people by background or academic training, but we do have a lot of common sense, value fairness and try our best to treat people well. Tides was successful, and we worked hard to make it that way. I'm really proud of that.
2. We made good food with local ingredients.
I cannot tell you how many times businessmen would approach Nate or me in the lead-up to opening, offering to bring us this or that on their airline or shipping container. "What about frozen french fries?" one would suggest. "Thank you," we'd reply politely, shaking our heads, "but we want to promote all the great local produce Liberia has to offer." From sauteed potato greens with ginger and roasted pumpkin seeds to barracuda ceviche, we did it. And it tasted good.
4. We created some tasty cocktails.
This is one of the things I miss the most, as there are few places in Monrovia that make the effort to serve fresh juice, let alone add fresh juice or infusions to their cocktails. It's not even that hard, and it's far cheaper--and tastier, not to mention healthier--than buying imported boxed or bottled juices. The infused vodkas were great fun to play with. Enough said.
5. We brought people together.
From late-nights with a handful of friends inventing cocktails at the bar to our 100+ person Thanksgiving pot-luck, Tides brought people together. You could chill with your date on the balcony and watch the stars, you could bring your boss for after-work drinks, or you could just rock up on your own and see who you'd meet. Monrovia, with all it's short-termers and turnover, needed a place like that.
6. We contributed to making Liberia a cool place.
It has been a privilege and an honor to start and run a business in Liberia. I'm writing lots more about all the fun stuff, so stay tuned to see what comes of that.
7. We had fun.