The Dawn of a New Decade

It’s been a nourishing, powerful few weeks. Ready for a recap?

Saturday December 19: Chris and I closed up shop and moved out of 1437 Englewood forever. We listened to post-rock, wrapped glasses, scrubbed counters, folded clothes, threw shit away, talked with friends, made emergency tape runs, performed Hannukah Miracles, packed boxes, lugged couches down stairs, filled a trailer, broke plates, fell down the steps, and only occasionally scraped walls on our way out.

The day taught me the importance of the home and friends we’ve made up in the Twin Cities. That little apartment has been the site of so many memories, and so many new beginnings. Every wall and floorboard has contributed to making our dreams a reality. And Adam and Mikayla, Abbie, Emily, Jessica, Jack, so many more – all of you have made MSP a favorite spot for us, and I can’t wait to tackle the future with you guys. My newfound friends are the people that make our future worth imagining.

At the end of the day, Chris and I collected our last belongings (our jackets and backpacks), and moved slowly from room to room.

“Goodbye, bathroom!” I said. “Goodbye, kitchen!” And with each “Goodbye”, we shut off the light, and closed the door.

Sunday December 20: We had a going-away/Christmas party with my friends. It was awesome! Bible-dipping, Culver’s, cheese curds, trading stories over loaded dinner tables, Wal-Mart, flash mobs, College Musical, White Russians, anticlimactic first drinking experiences: What’s not to love?

It really reminded me of the friends I have. You old friends are practically family, and each and every one of you have come to be brothers and sisters for me. We may not always see to eye-to-eye, but a real friend is one you can count on, even when you don’t always see each other as often as you’d like. When I can go six months without seeing you, and then when we do, it’s like I never left – that’s a real friend. One can never really go home again, not really, but by God if one’s friends don’t make it close.

Tuesday December 22: Road trip! We piled into the Intrepid and headed south. As the miles flew by under our wheels, the snows melted away and the counties lengthened into states. Des Moines… St. Louis… Kansas City… the cities ticked by like mile markers. When we finally pulled into the driveway of Chris’ family’s home in Springfield, MO, it was the welcome end to a long day.

His family and his home are such new, valuable experiences for me. I grew up with a pretty small nuclear family, and while we were absolutely never formal or stoic, we always stayed relatively relaxed and quiet. Chris, on the other hand, has got five brothers and sisters, multiple in-laws, and countless nieces and nephews. Family Christmas in Springfield is a loud, raucous family affair. Kids run underfoot, dogs bark, dinner is laid out buffet-style in the kitchen, and you eat standing up on paper plates!

I absolutely adored every minute of it. It felt like getting to be part of the loud, huge family I never really got to have growing up. Even when I felt overwhelmed, I still felt secure and safe, nestled in the house all together.

Friday, December 25: After Chris’ family Christmas ended, we drove two hours south to my grandparents’ home in Arkansas. They live in an absolutely gorgeous home in the Ozark hills, surrounded by woods and trees and water. They’re retired from St. Paul, and little touches of city life and imported food/decor spruce up every room.

Christmas at their house was incredibly nourishing. Something about being surrounded by friends, food, warmth, laughter, and soft light – it’s really wonderful and comforting. I’ve always harbored a desire to live somewhere like that. My dream house would be a cozy cottage surrounded by forests and rivers and fields, gardens and chickens tucked up close to the house, with a little village and tavern nearby. The house near Oakland kind of fulfills some of that fantasy, especially when tuckled up in a warm bed!

Thursday December 31: Today is our first full day back in Springfield. Full bellies and warm hearts make the days long and relaxing. It’s especially wonderful to have nothing to do!

Honestly, I really don’t have anything to do. All my academic and research projects are wrapped up tight. I’m finished with Multifaith and I’m done writing for The Oracle for now. I’m certainly not working at any employed job for the moment, and most of my long-term projects are running right on track at the moment. So, I’m simply enjoying the chance to relax, and I’m looking towards the new year with an eye for what’s ahead.

All in all: I’ve had a great holiday season with friends and family. I’m feeling warm, nourished, loved, and happy. I’ve got all my ducks in a row. And I’m leaving for Ireland in ten days!

Here’s to you, 2009, for giving me a great year. And because happiness is nothing without gratitude:

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