The very first job I ever had was working as an assistant in a very rinky-dink little flower shop the summer after my sophomore year of high school. It didn't get much business so my primary activities were washing and re-washing the floor of the shop with Pine-Sol and a broken sponge mop, scrubbing buckets with bleach, and cutting the thorns off roses. I was still pathologically shy at this point in my life, so this is also the job where for the first week I allowed them to call me Maria, rather than my real name, because I was too embarrassed to correct them. It was not a very positive experience, so the summer after my junior year I chose to volunteer as a kids' art camp instructor, a position much more to my liking! The summer of my senior year of high school, however, under orders to find a paying job, I decided to give working in a flower shop another try, but this time I went to work for an upscale, high-end flower shop which had a great deal more business, so there was real and interesting work to be done! And so began my relationship with Fena Flowers, a fruitful one that has lasted many years.
It was a lot of fun to work at a flower shop that not only was very busy, but was also involved in all kinds of cool events and brought in a wide variety of high-quality flowers and greens. I found myself going back to work there on most of my Christmas and summer breaks throughout college. It was an extremely friendly and loving environment and I enjoyed working there even when my primary responsibility was washing dirty buckets. I was therefore already a part of the so-called Fena Family when I found myself back at home in late 2004, scarcely functional, and in need of a job. Like a true family, Fena Flowers readily opened their arms to welcome me back in.
|Purple mokara orchids.|
|A mass of arrangements ready |
to be delivered to an autumn
|This wedding bouquet is typical |
of the kind of work and product
produced by Fena Flowers.
|Fena Flowers made the|
most beautiful corsages!
I had just started learning
how to make them when
I had to stop working.
It's been more than two years now since I had to stop working, but I still think of the flower shop as “my work” and of the people there as my friends and colleagues. I don't get to see them very much, even though shop is just a mile from my house, but it's so nice to visit when I can. I'm as welcome now as I always was, and their love, kindness, and acceptance warms me still. On my most recent visit, I brought my new camera with me and took some pictures of the flowers and greens that can be found in the shop. These are some of them:
You can see more photographs I took in the flower shop here.
I may not have become a floral designer for life, but I will always have a special place in my heart for my Fena Flowers family. I've come away from my years there with a great deal of knowledge about flowers, setting up weddings, organizing coolers, navigating downtown Seattle, and the healing powers of true acceptance and kindness!