pre-summer camp jitters
I took the Amtrak from Chicago, leaving Tuesday afternoon and got in to the Bay Area earlier this evening. Currently, I’m in what might be the cutest and least-seedy seedy motel I’ve ever seen. Rodeway Inn is nestled in a strip mall in Berkeley, with an adjoining Thai restaurant, but set back from the road in a little horse shoe. There’s a fountain in the center of an unwieldy parking lot with a giant palm tree and colored lights and it is Illinois cold outside.
Beyond the fountain, it’s not much to look at— kind of disappointingly low-kitsch— but it’s clean, and, having not held more than 18 inches of personal space in three days, exceptionally comfortable. I’m laying in bed, butterflies in stomach, focused on the adventure that is still before me.
Tomorrow is Eat Retreat, a summer camp for foodies slash conference for chefs, nutritionists, food writers, and bumbling geeks like me who frantically waggle their finger on keys, click “create post,” and are good at little else beyond writing applications to land invitations what will probably be the best weekend of our lives. Tomorrow, I will meet some of the brightest, funniest, and most innovative people who think critically about food, and we get to play, all weekend, with beautiful food on a beautiful farm. Together, we will bake pies, drink wine, taste coffees and olive oils, talk about what food means and what it doesn’t and how we like it, and butcher chickens.
It’s exciting. Obviously. And it’s scary. Not scary. Intimidating. And scary. But not scary, just. Big. It’s really, really big. Strangers and strange places and killing a living thing and wanting to be cool (and being desperately uncool if by no other fact than that single desire) and hoping that I have contributions that are valid and appreciated. And still. Really fucking exciting!
In the morning, I’m meeting up with Lucy, my partner in blog and one of the best friends I’ve ever had, for impossibly fancy pastries. She’s in town visiting friends from college, and just happened to schedule her trip at the same time as mine. It’s a welcome bit of home for me, an introvert with impostor syndrome who is terrible at traveling. I’m so grateful for Luce, for her amazing photographs bringing my silly ideas to life, for her encouragement to apply for Eat Retreat, for her not tolerating my self-deprecation, and for reminding me that I do have useful contributions to make, and a point of view about food, about nutriton, and about writing that, for better or worse, not many have.
So the exercise, for now, is to lay in my spacious not-seedy-seedy motel bed, let myself get really excited, remember to be grateful for the amazing people and opportunities in my life, and focus on my unique thoughts about food and eating. Body Positive. HAES compatible. Accessible. Delicious.