Friday, February 24, 2012

Discovering Del Norte through Mealtime

Let me introduce myself. I'm Laura Jo, the new girl, CAN's newest AmeriCorps VISTA.

I was worried when I arrived in Crescent City. Worried there wouldn’t be any young people. Worried there wouldn’t be much in-town diversion. Worried, ultimately, that I’d be spending my evenings at home alone with stir-fried vegetables and rice while the rain came down in torrents outside my window.

Then I met a young person, another VISTA. I asked her what they did – was there a place to dance? Well, no. Not really. But I’d spend a lot of time at people’s houses, eating. And we could dance there, too, if we wanted.

She was right. First it was a small group of three in a white apartment. We shared pizza and salad. They shared with me, the good spots to eat, the good spots to see local music. Meantime, the group was growing. By the end we were nine. We were sharing travel experiences along with our pizza until talk moved on to the coming weekend and future meals to be had. That weekend it was ale and barbeque beef and oven roasted vegetables shared in a fire-warmed cabin on the Smith. We talked of chemistry and botany, of good hiking, of family and holidays. We talked about the next thing at the next house, the next meal.

 I had a couple nights of pasta after the pool, with old records playing in the background, cats and dogs snuggling up to my legs. I heard about what happened in which public meeting and who was heading up which thing.  We had a Sunday morning brunch of quiche and empanadas. We sipped our coffee and mimosas as we looked out at the river from large picture windows. We had a Sunday night “family dinner” of vegetable curry and flat bread. Then we took turns reading aloud in the orange glow of the woodstove.

She was right, that VISTA. I’ve been here for a mere three weeks, and I already feel a community is growing. Or rather, that I am being admitted into one that’s already alive, already here. Already I know there are places for me to visit, things to get involved in, people to share meals with. I discovered all this through mealtime.

Left: Connor Caldwell, Rachel McCain and Aaron Valley, a part of my new community, sharing pizza

1 comment:

Angela said...

Thanks, Laura, for this peek at your welcome into Del Norte County. THIS is what healthy community is about.