Baristanet Profile: Susan Andersen

Name: Susan Andersen

Where do you live? Montclair, near Montclair Center

When did you move there? September 2009 with my husband, by way of the city.

Where did you grow up? I grew up in a small town called Richboro, PA. It’s about 45 minutes from Center City, Philadelphia and 10 minutes away from New Hope.

How do you make a living? OR What is your everyday passion?

I was trained as a lawyer but have been working in research administration for large academic medical centers for about 15 years now. Currently, my role is in policy and procedures development and implementation.

My everyday passion would have to be volunteer and community service work, especially working with others to directly impact peoples’ lives in some way. Being a helper is something that was instilled in me since I was young. Related to this is dreaming up different ways to honor the memory of my daughter, Kaija Andersen, who just loved her hometown of Montclair! One way is to support the Montclair Scholarship Fund through the Kaija Jung Andersen Memorial Scholarship.

Coffee, tea, or … ? Coffee in the morning, always. Nam Dam from Paper Plane Coffee for a treat. Chai latte for a pick-me-up. And lately, tea in the evening. My current favorites are mint, ginger, and yulmu-cha — a Korean pine nut, walnut, and Job’s tears tea that you can find at HMart.

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day?

It depends on the mood. Sometimes I love to take a day trip. More often, a perfect weekend day would include a run, or a hike or walk with friends in the morning, followed by breakfast and coffee, and stopping by the Farmers Market. A volunteer shift for Toni’s Kitchen or Toni’s Closet, a second time around shop, attending an arts event or stopping by a community event. Then, dinner out or cooking a nice meal at home, reading a book, watching a good movie or docu-series, or spending time with friends, before getting a good night’s sleep.

What’s your favorite local restaurant? For lunch or brunch, I love Red Eye Cafe, Raymond’s, and Marcel Kitchen. For dinner, I’ve had great meals at Laboratorio Kitchen, Samba, and Mesob (hoping Mesob can re-open soon). For dessert, Mattarello and Jayce Baudry. And my takeout favorites are Chatni and Hunan Taste. I love to eat, obviously…

What’s on your nightstand? iPad, a journal and pen, and a pile of great books that are waiting to be started: Ruth Bader Ginsburg bio, Barack Obama autobiography, a book by John Welshons (whose virtual meditation class I highly recommend, through Van Vleck House), and several novels that I picked up at the Montclair Literary Festival this fall.

What are you listening to? Holiday music. Classic house music, the latest pop, or jazz as background for work or puttering around the house. And the new Adele is pretty good for a rainy day.

What are your current indulgences? Dolly Moo bath products and scented candles from anywhere. It’s really becoming a bit of a problem…

What talent would you most like to have? I would love to have the talent of dancing! It makes me feel happy to watch people express themselves through movement. Unfortunately, I was not blessed with graceful limbs or the gift of coordination, but I have had a lot of fun taking dance classes and Zumba at the Y, and having dance parties in my living room.

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair? The worst kept secret is that Montclair is an amazing, resilient community full of passionate, caring, compassionate, creative, and generous-hearted people!

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? She loved and was loved fiercely, never took anything or anyone for granted, and put a lot of positive energy out into the world. She brings a smile to my face thinking about her and will never be forgotten.

Click here to sign up for Baristanet's free daily emails and news alerts.