by Wiley

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It’s a really good feeling to see some of my closest friends in an entirely new light. As I eavesdrop on Tawny rattling on about rotator cuffs, I remind myself that this is the same person that I bonded with 19 years ago (and just yesterday) about Calvin’s potato tattoo in Wayside School is Falling Down. As I read Walt’s paper about astronomical instrumentation, it occurs to me that the same guy who relishes playing peek-a-boo with two-year-olds and hiding behind furniture to give me a scare (hm, I’m starting to notice a pattern) is also singularly the most brilliant person I know. (No offense, everyone else I know.)

The last half of June was filled with transitions…and flowers!

It wasn’t until my last year of college that I started appreciating plants. Three of my closest friends (including Tawny and Ingo) were landscape architecture students, and I took a class taught by Robert Hass, a poet/nature lover who stressed the importance of “knowing the names of things.”

Over the years, I’ve become more appreciative of the elegance of a single peony, the heady fragrance of jasmines at dusk, the endless whorls of a field of ranunculuses. Nowadays, I love flowers…and these past few weeks were unexpectedly abounding in blooms that marked a time of transition, hope, and friendship.

The past two weeks were about…

…saying, “Goodbye”

The past nine months of working at a start-up have been an incredibly rich experience. Last week, I said goodbye to the amazing team that I’ve learned so much from, and they, in turn, sent me off with this gorgeous bouquet (sunflowers, Peruvian lilies, lilies, and irises) and their best wishes.

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One of my favorite girls even made a paper bouquet.

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…saying, “Hello” 

Exactly one year to the day that I’d turned in my letter of resignation at my corporate job, I received a delivery of Gerber daisies, roses, and lavender from the new company that I’ll be joining next week. I was stunned by the gesture. The new job is quite literally a dream come true (I’ll be an editor/crafter/blogger for an amazing company that makes activity kits for kids), and I’m thrilled at the prospect of joining a talented team with big dreams and people-centric priorities.

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…saying, “It’s nice to know you”

Walt surprised me with hydrangeas and chrysanthemums(?) last weekend to celebrate our two-year anniversary. Two years would seem like plenty of time to get to know a person, right? And yet the time has gone by in a flash…and it seems like at least once a week, even still, I learn something new and entirely wonderful about Walt. Recently, I found out that he once invented (and still uses) several alphabets, each with its own symbols, consonants and vowels, and usage rules. I feel so lucky to know someone who always surprises me with the depth of his kindness, curiosity, and wit.

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…saying, “Welcome home”

Tawny and Jonathan got this arrangement at the Durham Farmers’ Market to make me feel at home in their new digs. This is the first time that I’ve spent any extended time with just the two of them since they got married in 2010 and also the first time that I’ve been able to get a glimpse of the life that they’ve built for themselves on the East Coast.

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When we were in college, I used to wonder what kind of man would possibly be good enough for someone as inspiring, funny, and unforgettable as my best friend. When Tawny and Jonathan first started dating, I was cautiously optimistic about this guy whom I barely knew but who, by all accounts, seemed like a pretty good guy.

As their relationship grew more serious and as I learned more about Jonathan’s character and sense of humor, I knew that Tawny had found someone who could keep her on her toes—a guy who complemented her sweet yet feisty personality, and who would be able to support and challenge her in all the ways that mattered.

Over the years, I’ve seen that Jonathan is an awesome person in his own right who’s insightful, hilarious, and remarkably hospitable. Like Tawny, he’s become a cherished lifelong friend.

Besides being full of great food and great friends, this trip to Durham seems like a homecoming of sorts. It’s been a good reminder that with time and experience, we hopefully become a truer reflection of who we are and who we want to be…that with friends who touch our souls, we’re always on the journey together even if the road meanders or paths diverge…and that whatever the future has in store, you can always come home again.

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