Saturday the kids and E came down to visit me and see where we have residency. Their flight was getting in at about 8:30 so I had an early drive into Ontario. I accidentally stumbled upon the dinosaurs when I took a random exit to get coffee at a Burger King.
My first residency in December felt so much more frantic. It was good food for thought, but it was really scary for me. I hate hate hate coming into new situations where I don't know anyone. I pushed myself to meet people, but it took every ounce of energy and courage I had.
People were nice, sure. But I didn't yet have the sense I have now about these relationships being for life. In December I kept seeing the same faces all over the hotel but not really knowing if they were faculty or students or visiting guests. It seemed to me then that everyone else knew each other and I shouldn't intrude when they were deep in conversation.
I'm not sure when the transition happened--was it online after December? on Facebook?--but somehow now I know who I can text if I'm out of class and I want to hang out. I know who to go to for gossip and who to go to for advice on my writing. I know my professors and the visiting guests are (mostly) not scary. I know who wants to eat pickles with me on my porch. I know that I can sit down and talk to anyone. I know how much the new people need someone to reach out to them.
This residency just felt comfortable, like being at nerd camp with my friends. I feel the same camaraderie I saw other people enjoying at meals last time. I left feeling the same sense of motivation and inspiration when it comes to my work, but also feeling a warm sense of community.
Community rocks, y'all.