|An action shot from the last and final Friday Night Dinner Project in our Seattle home. Created by my best friend, Elana, the dinners allow strangers to become family. We cook and laugh and bump into each other with knives and raw meat, and then finally sit down to enjoy the feast we've created together (www.fridaynightdinnerproject.com).|
Home is a funny thing. The idea first got confusing in college. I remember talking on the phone with Mom or Dad, telling them I'm going home, and for the first time it wasn't Weston, MA but my dorm at Columbia. That got a nice little ring out of them and I quickly distinguished for the first time that Columbia was a different home, not better or more fun, just different.
It's like ice cream or love - I've always been a chocolate vanilla twisty cone kind of girl. Then I discovered Cherry Garcia. This doesn't mean that I love chocolate vanilla twisty cone any less, I just expanded how much I can share my love of ice cream, relishing my frozen yogurt while still enjoying all that Ben & Jerry have to offer.
Ok, maybe that metaphor didn't really work. What I'm after is that Seattle is home. New York City is home. Weston, MA is home... the capoeira studio, a warm armchair with a cup of coffee, the smiles of the friends I've made while living on the west coast. Those all feel the same to me. Warm, comforting, true, and real. And when I dig deeper than the transitional squirms in my stomach, when I look past my vacant room (newly sanitized and scrubbed squeaky clean), I don't feel empty. It's more like floating, as if my feet have already started moving somewhere else but the rest of my body just needs a few moments to catch up.
As I've said goodbye to the people that have made this last year and a half what it was - my capoeira teacher, the woman who runs the organization I shaved my head with, friends I've cried with and danced with and sang with and changed lives with - I get filled up. In the past two weeks I've talked a lot less and just watched. We had big dinners and going away parties and ceremonial leaps into Lake Washington (yes, it's still freezing), and I just got to be blown away by the people around me.
And here's the fun bit - if you're reading this, you're one of those people. And so I just wanted to say that I love you. I want to acknowledge you because you're someone close to me, and what I've gotten over the past two weeks is that the only reason I'm going to El Salvador is because of you. I'm starting to understand that I don't know everything, that I'm one of the luckiest people alive, and that I have infinite strength if only I can reach out to those around me, ask for help or a shoulder or a conversation, and lean in.