Since moving to Seattle from the east coast in September, starting a graduate program in poetry, and working at Fresh Tangerine, my days have been all over the place—in a good way. It’s not that I never know what to expect, but that a busy schedule keeps me curious and stimulated. In between all the coffee, classes, and lots and lots of reading and writing, however, I still value my downtime and use it as a chance to unwind by meeting friends for drinks, attending drag shows and poetry readings, or hosting casual get-togethers in my studio apartment.
Recently, I had an especially memorable day that I think is worth sharing with you all.
Mondays are my days off and, on this particular Monday, the sun was shining and the temperature was high 60s, low 70s. As usual, my day started off with a hot shower and Janelle Monae’s new album, Dirty Computer, playing in the background. (There’s something about listening to songs that celebrate self-love, individuality, community, and solidarity first thing in the morning that sets the mood for the rest of the day.)
Of course, this was followed by a cup of coffee—black, no sugar. I sat at my kitchen table by the window and soaked in the sun for a little while.
A few days before, I had reached out to a small group of friends to invite them over to my apartment for a tea party/poetry party. The idea was to indulge in tea snacks and wine and share poems. Of course, the unexpected warm weather meant it was too nice to stay inside. Not to mention, my third-floor apartment was too hot to accommodate so many bodies in one space. So, we changed plans: Instead of an indoor gathering, we decided to set up a picnic in Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill.
The theme of our picnic (because there always has to be a theme, right?) was “Toast.”
I am a sucker for event planning, especially ones that revolve around food, and grocery stores are one of my favorite places in the world, so I hurried excitedly to the one around the block from my apartment to pick up a few things. What should have been a quick 5-minute trip turned into a lot longer, as I struggled to choose between toppings for toast. Avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, even bananas? What about marmalade and honey and peanut butter? But also, hummus and goat cheese! And can’t forget the bread! And strawberries for dessert! In the end, I put everything into my basket because it isn’t a toast party without variety.
Friends started strolling into my apartment around 3, and we walked over to Cal Anderson together, carrying my friend’s vintage picnic basket filled with all our goodies.
It’s always nice when the weather gets warmer and more people are out and about. Everyone seems to be in a good mood.
The park was crowded with people, laying out in the sun, reading a book, or having a picnic of their own. We found a spot near the fountain and set down our things. Our setup was a colorful mesh of fruits and vegetables and pretty patterned plates. Soon enough, everyone had a plate, some bread, and concocted their own toast creations. I was especially fond of the goat cheese-cucumber-tomato combination, with a few sprinkles of black pepper.
We never ended up sharing poetry (although we did list the titles of the poetry books we’d brought to share, so that counts). The food had distracted us too much, as did our often times humorous conversations, but I don’t think anyone minded. It was just nice to be with close friends for hours on a sunny day, making jokes and taking in the scenery, away from the stresses and responsibilities of our daily lives. (At one point, a ladybug flew into one of my friend’s hair and we turned it into a photoshoot.)
The day ended with horchata-flavored vegan ice cream at Frankie & Jo’s, a book launch event at Elliott Bay Book Company, and beers and tacos until, exhausted and satisfied by the day’s activities, we headed home.
It’s impossible to completely capture the spirit of that day into one post, and while most days aren’t often that eventful, I am always appreciative of the little moments that remind me how happy I am capable of allowing myself to be. Eight-ish months later since my first day in Seattle and this place is beginning to feel like a home. I’ve fallen into a comfortable routine and adjusted to the west coast culture and met a handful of generous, witty, and interesting people along the way. All in a (couple hundred) day’s work.