road trip

my beloved friend emily invited me to go on a road trip with her, and it just happened that the dates she wanted to go worked for me. hey – the universe is friendly and life is on my side. maybe at some point in my recovery i’ll want to examine the meaning of things like that, but for now i say, “sure, thanks, universe!” and call it synchronicity.

this morning i got to thinking about the folks i saw when i was on this trip, and their significance in my recovery. i’ll do them in road trip itinerary order.

so i’ll start with emily. she and i had just met and become fast friends about a month before my medical drama.

emily, me, caroline - berkeley, june 2009.

she has been such an integral part of my recovery that i’ll just sum it up with this – i have her writing tattooed on my back. my theme word for year one of my recovery was “new” and i asked emily to write it for my anniversary tattoo.

we spent the night in arcata in janet and ben’s house. unfortunately they were on the east coast so we were only able to spend time with their things, not them.  it felt good to be in their house again. they’ve been my friends since i was in college – getting to be about 20 years now. emily had never been to humboldt county, so i gave her a tour of the dozen years that i lived there. it was even sunny and warm (relatively) at the beach.

we took a bottle of wine over to visit my friend paula. paula was my guardian angel when i was a fledgling adult. she talked to me, gave me excellent advice, brought me food when i was sick. i spent a lot of time at her kitchen table. i also spent a lot of time with her son morgan.

morgan, maddie, matthew, me.

i lost touch with paula when i moved to oregon. in a strange turn of events (synchronicity?), my daughter ended up living with her for a while. so paula was back in my life. an incredible silver lining.

morgan was home, so he sat around the table with us. i felt so grateful to be in that kitchen with those folks.

paula with karla at her graduation dinner

after a night in arcata, emily drove us to the east bay. she even got to drive through a tree – a lifelong goal. we had lovely weather the whole way down 101.

the next day i walked to a coffee shop a mile or so from where we were staying. my friend christina met me there and we chatted for a while. actually, for longer that we’ve ever chatted in my life. christina is my friend sandy’s older sister, and she was enough years ahead of me in school to be considered horrifying and unreachable. but we ended up friends on facebook, and she’s been a person who has checked in with me and given me encouragement and kindness during these last 2 years. no way on earth would i have ever guessed that i’d feel compelled to spend some time with her. and that she’d be convinced to spend some time with me. she was kind enough to remind me that encouragement is a two-way street – she’s been able to identify with me as i move along on this recovery journey. something i don’t always remember, that letting people help me helps them. this is a big lesson learned for me.

hand monday - it shoulda been me edition. christina and i were nerds and forgot to pose for her world famous hand monday.

on sunday emily drove us into san francisco, where we met up with my friend noah. noah’s family lived across the street from me when i was in elementary school. before he was even born.

my neighbor family - i'm third from the left in the back, noah's down in front in the middle.

his family lives in southern california, and he moved to the bay area to go to art school a few years ago. when his niece was born last summer, we planned our trips down there to overlap. that was the last time we’d seen each other. he led us to a great restaurant where we had lunch, and then we met emily’s friend kari around the corner at the museum of modern art. we walked around and checked out the art together, then he headed home on his bike and we headed back for our last night in the east bay.

noah has a place of honor at my recovery table. when i first got back to corvallis from the hospital, a friend kept saying, “we just can’t wait to have the old kriste back.” i told noah that this was really bugging me because i felt like the old kriste was gone. he said, “you’re kriste 2.0,” and changed the course of my recovery. it was such a powerful way to think about what had happened, and i’ve since figured out that lots of people’s lives get split up like this. but i was a trauma rookie. i see the time when i was putting most of my energy into the work of recovery as kriste 2.0. now that i put that energy into living, i see myself as kriste 3.0. 4.0 might be when i’m back working full-time – i don’t know when that will be or what i’ll be doing, but i’m enjoying the journey to get there and i’m excited to see what’s next.

so emily, paula, christina and noah are a pretty great cross-section of my recovery. i feel such gratitude for them and the folks like them who support me on this journey. the time you folks give me makes all the difference – i wouldn’t be in this spot (which is a great spot, by the way) without you. i’m excited to see where we all are 2 years from now.

noah and kriste 3.0 - san francisco, august 2011.


8 responses to “road trip

  1. Kriste,
    thanks for this uplifting account of our roadtrip. I DID get to drive through a tree, and I had you there to witness it! Some parts of that trip were pretty great, eh? You & Jeremy finally got to hang out too. 🙂 I love you so much.

  2. Friends are great. Excellent friends are even better.

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