After a childhood spent dashing back and forth from ballet classes and girl scouts, to piano lessons and t-ball games, come high school, I shrugged off all responsibilities and extra-curriculars, choosing instead to spend my days wandering the streets of my hometown and neighboring cities with my (admittedly wild, and occasionally hoodlum) friends, camera in hand. This pattern continued into my first few college years. I shied away from group activities, was much more comfortable just hanging out with close friends, playing video games indoors (Mario Party, anyone?), or hiking at McNaughton park. Meeting Austin started to break me out of my old habits, and I started going to gatherings of people and enjoying it.
Upon moving to Salem, OR, and subsequently to Eugene, I find myself more social and community-oriented than ever before. These days, rarely a day passes that I don’t spend time outside of my home with others. I have a part time job at a local vegan food cart/cafe, and a kitchen internship at a Food For Lane County garden (where I can currently be found 4 days out of the week), attend game night once a week with a solid group of friends, recently began playing ultimate frisbee at a park in my neighborhood every Friday night, and go on monthly Moonlight Mash group bicycle rides. I spend most of my free time trying to catch up on errands and general adult life stuff (which reminds me, I need to update my license plate stickers and registration!).
Our first year in Eugene was somewhat lonely, and it took a while to develop a circle of friends, but this community and city are starting to feel smaller and more intimate. I can go on a bicycle ride and run into friends, which lead to impromptu hang outs. This new found community has filled me the sort of joy that leads to bursting out into giant grins while riding my bike along the river paths, and makes me want to throw my arms into the air and ride no-handed into the sunset (which I should refrain from trying, because my balance is not great, but you know what I mean).
2013 has been one of the fullest, most exhilarating years of my life. My 24th birthday is coming up in a few weeks. I’m upgrading bicycles, to a Surly Long Haul Trucker. This fall marks the beginning of my last 2 terms of my undergraduate career. I have an internship at a local non-profit whose mission I wholly believe in, and feel honored to be a part of. I’ve gone peach picking (and late-night plum picking) with kind-hearted friends, and shared in the joy of new life with friends who are expecting. Long time couples who I’ve known for years have become engaged, and old friends (and new!) have come out to Oregon to visit, and I’ve been able to share my favorite parts of this city and state with them. My sister graduated from PSU (!!!), and our dad came out to celebrate and visit. Julia has come down and visited me (our fossil adventure day was easily in my top 5 best days ever), and I have stayed a few weekends up in Portland with her.
I feel so thankful and happy with who I am and where I currently am, and I don’t know what the future holds, but I know I’m excited.
Dahlias from the garden, in the kitchen of our new apartment
Overalls = summer uniform
Blackberries reaching skyward
Tomatoes ripening at Grassroots Garden
In the near future, I’ll post an in depth look into my internship at an organic community garden, which serves up an all vegan lunch to our volunteers daily, while growing fruits and vegetables for the hungry and food-insecure in our community.