Relishing my time here

As I was writing an email yesterday to someone here in Iowa City who has had a profound influence on my life during the past two years, it occurred to me that, in fact, it had been exactly two years. Two years since I arrived into town, shell-shocked by circumstance, already missing my friends back in D.C., and, yet, determined to make a life here.

Not long after I started this blog, Alanna from Kitchen Parade stopped through Cedar Rapids on her way up to visit family, and we shared an early lunch and talked blogging, food and life in the Midwest.

“I added you to my list of Midwestern food bloggers,”she said. “But I thought about taking you off, if I haven’t done it already. “

“Taking me off?” I asked. “Because I’m not really from the Midwest?”

“No,” she said, with a twinkle in her eye. “Because I read you regularly and you don’t seem to be relishing your time here.”

The phrase stuck with me. I’m a relisher. I relish writing and food and life and experiences by the dozen and travel and family and friends and music and sports and good wine and staying up too late. If I don’t relish it, I prefer that it go away. And so, I set about trying to change my attitude, not because Alanna said so, but because it helps to have an outsider point out what you can’t always see for yourself.

Some of my changes I made because I wanted to, some of them I made because I didn’t have a choice, but I wouldn’t even trade the hardest changes. I firmly believe things happen for a reason, even if they make you feel as if the entire world has cracked open beneath you, yet left you floating above it, wishing it would swallow you whole. I firmly believe there is a time when your feet settle back to the ground, when you are able to feel gratitude again so deeply there’s no room for pain.

I spent my anniversary day pretty quietly: a little time in the garden, a little time making pesto, a little time roasting farmer’s market eggplant, an hour or so swimming with my friend Alison. I had a late brunch at the Hamburg Inn and placed a vote in the coffee bean poll. I made salsa to take to the office because, well, so much tomato goodness should be shared.

“Can you believe how much has changed in those two years?” Alison said when I told her what day it was. She arrived in town not long before I did, and we agree it feels like so much longer than just two years. “All those jobs we’ve had, all the other changes…”

“It’s crazy,” I said. “And I can’t believe what a good time I’m finally having.”

And that’s true. It took a garden, a few major life changes, and finally letting myself fall backward into the arms of a whole lot of new friends. It’s official: I’m relishing my time here. Every single minute of it.

Some people (and fires) that I relish


22 Responses to “Relishing my time here”

  1. 1 Popo September 17, 2007 at 7:42 am

    Oh, Genie, I relish your writing!…and your happiness.
    Happy Anniversary!

  2. 2 Lindak18 September 17, 2007 at 8:12 am

    WAHOOOOO! Relish away – your writing, your new found place in life – which has been waiting all along for you to arrive. Keep up doing what your doing -your the best! and…. Happy anniversary!

  3. 3 Lydia September 17, 2007 at 8:15 am

    You go, girl! Congratulations on your relishment/relishing/relish…. so glad you have embraced this time and place in your life.

  4. 4 inadvertentgardener September 17, 2007 at 8:35 am

    Popo, thanks so much! And thanks for reading…

    LindaK, it’s definitely a good place to be…long overdue!

    Lydia, thank you…which reminds me…perhaps it’s time for you to write about relish on the Perfect Pantry?

  5. 5 Alanna September 17, 2007 at 9:14 am

    My. MY. MYMYMYMY. If I weren’t already a firm believer that people often come into our lives for a reason, this would flip me into that camp. Next Up: your recipe for Genie’s Special Relish. Hmmm. It might take a few tries to perfect the recipe … that would be okay, I think.

    You’re a dear … it’s nice to ‘hear’ you happy.

    PS I missed the site’s facelift. I LIKE it!!

  6. 6 inadvertentgardener September 17, 2007 at 9:27 am

    Alanna, you know…special relish sounds like an excellent project to work on. I’ll have to give that some thought. Thank you for coming into my life at just the right time…and for your words of wisdom… :-)

  7. 7 Heather September 17, 2007 at 10:53 am

    It’s great to see you with a huge smile on your face!

  8. 8 Michelle September 17, 2007 at 11:45 am

    Glad you found your place here and even happier that you like it!

  9. 9 Don September 17, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    If you haven’t already, drive out to the Sutliff Tavern, get an ice cold bottle of beer (for two dollars… imports are three dollars), take it out on the bridge, sit at one of the tables and drink your beer while the sun sets over the river. You’re home!

  10. 10 Matt September 17, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    Iowa, once it gets in your blood you can’t get it out!

  11. 11 kate September 17, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    This was a great post. Sometimes when life foists changes on us, we don’t understand them, but later realise that they were good ones for us.

    ‘Relishing’ is a great word and you truly seem to be relishing your life! Gardening’s a balm for our souls…as is good food!

  12. 12 Katiez September 17, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    Glad you have found your way ‘home’ again….

  13. 13 Michael September 17, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    Interestingly enough, I’m listening to Dar Williams’ “Iowa” while reading your post, and it’s all so meaningful and snuggly. Iowa is a complicated love/hate thing, indeed.

  14. 14 inadvertentgardener September 17, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    Heather, that’s another thing I relish: smiling.

    Michelle, thanks — me too!

    Don, I have been to the tavern, but only at night. Sunset and bridge. Got it.

    Matt, I think you’re right…

    Kate, 20/20 hindsight…it’s a beautiful thing.

    Katiez, thanks, chica! :-)

    Michael, good choice of soundtrack for a lot of reasons. It is a complicated place, this state…but I’m liking it.

  15. 15 Chigiy September 18, 2007 at 1:33 am

    Good God, this post makes me almost want to move to the mid-west.
    I said almost.

  16. 16 Me September 18, 2007 at 7:15 am

    you are right…all changes add up to who we are and we can’t give them up and still be what we are here and now and so if we find life good then we have to take the bad with the great

    good post

  17. 17 inadvertentgardener September 18, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Chigiy, I think almost is probably good enough. :-)

    Me, thanks so much, and thanks for stopping by!

  18. 18 anniebetty September 18, 2007 at 11:03 am

    Gee. And here I thought this post would be about hot dogs, or brats, or something you’d put your new, homemade relish on. But no. I get a taste of your satisfaction, a smidge of your joy … contentment beats food any day. Don’t you think?

  19. 19 nikkipolani September 18, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    I haven’t read your blog long and don’t know which big life changes happened, but you certainly sound like relishing now. Congratulations :-) Look forward to reading more. How ’bout a tomato relish?

  20. 20 cole September 18, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    Every time I see your picture I am caught by how pretty you are. How much I would love to see your face in person as you laugh till you almost wet your pants. I wish you lived near here again and I could fix you up with my friend Joe. Seriously. Sad you are relishing your Iowa life, but it is your Iowa life and you deserve to relish every second. I am so happy for you that things are working themselves out.

    I have found, over the many places I have lived, that geography rarely plays a permenant role in how happy I am. It is still your life, where ever you decide to live it and when you are living it, really living it, it is always a joy….no matter where you are.

  21. 21 inadvertentgardener September 19, 2007 at 9:49 am

    AB, well, sometimes food equals contentment, but yes…contentment really beats almost everything…

    Nikkipolani, I’m definitely thinking a tomato relish is in order. Perhaps even a green tomato relish, since I have so many greenies at the moment…

    Cole, you’re such a sweetie! Thanks so much.

  1. 1 Paparazzi in the kitchen « The Inadvertent Gardener Trackback on April 19, 2008 at 7:12 am

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