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A professional writer's private thoughts

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Goodbye is the hardest aloha of all

Two of my favorite people are due to leave Santa Barbara next week. They’ll be back, in fits and starts, but their time living here has come to an end. If the skies seem a little less blue starting next Tuesday, it might be because the Hammedillos have left the area.

Chris and Danielle – you have no idea how much we will all miss you. Me especially. Your good-natured, laid back, fun loving, kind and generous natures have been so appreciated. I’ve never had friends who fed me as many delicious meals as you have, or were so generous with their open door policy. Miso soup and quesadillas are going to be decidedly less delicious from here on out. There won’t be any more line dancing without you, Danielle, or Korean soap operas either. And Chris, I know I’m doomed to try less interesting beer from this point forward.

I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not that you both happen to be from my favorite state, the Land of Enchantment.  I’m jealous that you get to go back there, but happy for your families that they will be able to see you more now. And I’ll come visit, you can be sure of that.

I’m sad that we didn’t meet sooner, but so glad we got to have this year of hanging out together. I can’t finish this post without a thank you to Kelly, because without her I would never have known you. Be well and brilliant, and I know we’ll see you further on down the road.

Love, your friend and sister, Leah


My people

I used to carry my Fisher Price people around with me wherever I went. They were my village. Here we are in the bath:

peopleAs an adult, finding my people was a little more challenging. They didn’t line up for my attention quite so easily. My oldest friends are people I have known since high school and college. I made friends fairly easily at my many jobs and in the running community, but finding a group of people with whom I truly clicked in a big, dramatic, lightbulb-going-off-but-it’s-actually-a-firework-and-feels-like-a-transformer-just-exploded sort of way never happened until last year.

My people are awesome.

They are brilliant and kind and hilarious. They are fascinating, with backgrounds from around the world. (Some are boring Americans, just like me.) They are extremely hard workers, earning advanced degrees, starting businesses, traveling internationally, making scientific discoveries, creating better ways to do things, saving the environment, changing the way we look at the world. They put others before themselves. They have helped me see life, and happiness, in an entirely new way. I used to think that to be joyous would require a great love affair. It turns out that all it really takes is amazing friends – the kind of people who can make sitting on a couch at Restoration Hardware one of the best afternoons you’ve ever had. The kind of people who will show up at your doorstep with miso soup when you’re having an off night. The kind of people who help you with home improvement, encourage you to write a book, and get excited about chocolate pie. The kind of people who can make a boring triathlon volunteer assignment into three hours of pure hilarity.

This weekend I realized, with a sickening feeling, that some of my dear people may not be in Santa Barbara too much longer. They are grabbing new opportunities, heading out to do amazing things with their careers and their lives. This place isn’t meant to be their permanent home. I understand this and want them to be hugely successful and happy. That doesn’t mean I won’t miss the heck out of them – and shed more than a few tears –  when it is time for them to go. And in the meantime, every chance we have to hang around together is that much more significant.

I do wish I could put them in my pockets, like my Fisher Price people, and carry them around with me everywhere. But keeping them in my heart will have to do. My friends – please know that you have been one of the best things that has ever happened to me. No matter where we are, I hope I’ll still know you.