July 25, 2007


{photo from dominic_nwh photostream}
I have great friends. Some are really creative, some analytical, some practical offering a much needed voice of reason. With friends stretching across the spectrum of possibilities it's odd to think that I'd ever find myself in a situation where I didn't have someone to talk to; but it occasionally happens.
I haven't moved a lot in my life but I've moved some. In chronological order: Utah, New York, Utah, Missoula MT, Utah, Chicago, Missoula MT, Utah. And the situation usually plays out as follows. I walk into a new city and into a new job. My mind feels numb from all the drastic change all at once. I don't even have a favorite place to eat yet. And in that moment of feeling like a stranger I long for friends and familiar places. But it's not part of the package; I can't expect to move and start new adventures and keep the comfort of my old life tucked in my back pocket.
So I power through. I walk around the streets until I find a place I like, a place I'll bring my friends when they visit. I locate a good bookstore and recognize the corner where I'll sit and read on Saturday afternoons. Most importantly, I'll find somewhere outside where I can go and think and watch people and learn what it means to be a local.
In Montana I was a local if I got my CDs at Rockin' Rudy's, ate soup at Catalyst, and went to the Iron Horse to whet my whistle. I was a local if I loved the children's theater, patronized the local mom-and-pop shops, and proclaimed I was a Grizzly fan. In Chicago I was a local if I new what L train to catch to get home without looking at my map. I was a local if I could recommend the best deep dish pizza in the city and if the guy at the fruit stand knew my name. I was a local if I met my friends for dinner in out-of-the-way places in up-and-coming neighborhoods. Sometimes I felt like a local and sometimes I never really adjusted, but I always tried.
All of this is just a lead into what I've been thinking about this week. Because while this post is mostly talking to people I've met in my traveling, they are all around me. Everywhere. It's the unexpected people that waltz into my life and totally change it around - then usually they waltz right back out again. Sometimes the difference these people make is quite significant and I just know I'll be friends with them forever; sometimes that happens but usually it doesn't. How long we are friends or if I have their current address today isn't the point - it's not what's important. What is important is how they changed my life; brought me out of a bad routine or taught me how to swim and encouraged me to do a triathlon. It's how they said something {or a lot of things} that have forever impacted how I think about myself. It's how they made me laugh when I was feeling the worst. I think it's so important to acknowledge the little miracles that happen every day when we meet someone who is good for us. Someone who offers us exactly what we need.
For all of these things and more, I have to thank the unexpected people who have changed my life for the better. Wherever they are.

1 comment:

ali said...

Love this post. After a move, it's usually some sort of familiarity that I'm longing for; a lack of it can make me homesick.

Thank you to my unexpected persons as well ... some of which I've run into in the blogosphere.

p.s. That image is lovely and enticing.