Sitting under a canopy of tree branches and the soft flicker of candle light, I was asked “what do you think of Charlottesville so far?”
A small smile must have crept across my face, as I looked across the table and beside me to see some of my very favorite people in this town. The people that took me under their wings, that welcomed me with open arms, that know my worries and have shared in my joy. My response was simple: “It feels like home.”
On my second day in Charlottesville I joined my roommate for a lavish dinner party hosted by an incredibly talented duo. The meal was amazing, but I remember few specifics about the food and multiple courses because it was all of the people that fill my memories. That dinner connected me to professional contacts, future friends, and people who just enjoy a good meal and make for great company.
The Forage dinner series was held again last night and I found myself among some of the same people with new friends and faces joining in as well. I was contemplating which bottle of wine to take and share, debating about my favorite red or branching out to find something new. I remembered a bottle that was tucked away in the back of our pantry that I’d saved for the past three years. It was a bottle given to me by wonderful friends as a birthday present, and the memory of the night and the people who provided it made me want to save this wine for an equally special occasion.
I don’t know what I thought that occasion would look like. Another birthday, New Years, the start of a job? Those events have all come and gone, but that bottle remained and traveled with me through three different cities. I realized how silly it was to only celebrate the “big” moments and to unrealistically set expectations for something as simple as a bottle of wine. But my expectations for life are something that I’ve struggled with, always searching for something more or better, or feeling as though whatever moment I’m in right here and right now isn’t enough.
But sitting outside at a long table surrounded by good food and amazing company, it was the perfect occasion to open that bottle of wine. To give it a memory and to share with people I love. In that moment of toasting my friends and passing the glass around for other to try, I realized how happy I was in that moment. It was simple and pure, there was no celebration of accomplishments just a love of food, but it was absolutely perfect. A feeling of content swept over me, something that I longed for and feared. I still don’t have everything figured out. There are plenty of bad days that bleed into bad weeks. I still have my fears and insecurities about the future, but I am happy here and now. And I am so happy to celebrate the small moments that have led me to here and now.