On Sept. 20, Eugene will have been my home for 5 years. Tonight, it hit me how much home it really is.
My adopted mom, Sheri, invited me over for dinner. She and her boyfriend Okito had gone clamming yesterday. Okito owns a pasta shop here in Eugene, and they were making a pasta dish with the clams they’d brought home.
I can bike to their house in about 10 minutes. Some neighbors from across the street were coming over as well, along with an Oregon newbie, who has just moved here from upstate New York for a UO writing fellowship.
We ate clams and pasta, and a salad of tomatoes and cucumbers from Sheri and Okito’s garden. We sat outside, drinking wine and talking, eating clams and soaking up the juice with fresh bread. The day darkened, and some clouds were rolling in from the south. Dessert was warm peaches with melted chocolate and a toasted coconut crumble.
I got home a few minutes ago, and the evening has had me thinking about Oregon, and how I moved — hell, emigrated — here from Virginia back in 2000. I remember listening to people talk about their lives here — dinners, or trips to the coast, or doing this and that — and tonight, for the first time, it hit me that I now do and say the same things. Oh, I’m going to the coast on Saturday. Yeah, I’ll be in Ashland this weekend for the Shakespeare festival (or, for that matter, Amazon Park on Saturday for the free show of The Comedy of Errors). Yeah, I’m off to such-and-such’s for dinner, where the clams are fresh out of the water and the vegetables are fresh out of their garden. I’m no longer listening — now I’m living those very sorts of statements.
This is the life I have always hoped for. I am surrounded by the friends I’ve always dreamed of, finally doing the things I’ve always wanted to do. (And I’m mentioning only a few things.)
This is the life I have always hoped for. And 5 years after moving here, I am living it to the fullest that I could have ever dreamed. And I am grateful.