Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Chicago: My Kind of Town, My Kind of New Year

This year I played co-host for the 8th Annual TU Friends New Years bash, a much anticipated and beloved event that each year draws some of my dearest college friends to spend several days together in some new location. This year that location was Allison's house on the west side of Chicago, where asparagus green walls and incredibly comfy furniture created a cozy haven where we talked, played, sang, laughed, danced, lounged, dined, sang, shared, and prayed together over the course of 4 days. Since our destination was the wonderful Windy City, we also spent some time out on the town, strolling through Millennium Park, checking out the exhibits and beautiful architecture at the Chicago Cultural Center, attending Allison's church, filling up on Lou Malnati's delicious salad and pizza, and feasting on tapas and sangria at Cafe Ibérico (one of my favorite restaurants EVER.)

This is the third time I've posted about New Years (happy 3rd anniversary, Suz's Musings!), and each time I've struggled with what to really say about it and how to adequately describe the annual gathering of this varied troop of friends who share a lasting bond that makes people--including us--shake our heads in wonder. (One of the reasons I'm posting this over a week and a half after the fact.) It's one thing to list what we do over the course of the weekend; it's another to attempt to describe the sense of being that exists among us. So, I hope you won't mind if I borrow from my friend Heather, who wrote that our annual New Years' gathering "is a time of centering and remembering who we are because of the comfortability to be ourselves." Now, comfortability is not actually a word, but now that Heather has coined it I think it should be--a word to describe the joy of being known and the felt freedom to simply be yourself and then do whatever the moment brings, without fear of censure or the burden of having to explain yourself. To get up and dance in the middle of the living room when a good song comes on, without concern for how ridiculous you look or your obvious lack of randomly burst into song, confident that you'll only go a few notes alone before others join laugh until you cry and cry until you lounge around in one another's personal space, communicating love by recall memories of good times and tough times, and how we got through them all together.

These are my friends, and this is how we do New Years.

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