Friday, July 26, 2013

A Week in Wilmington with Amy and David

Nathan, Me, and Amy

A few weeks ago we had the joy of hosting Amy and David in Wilmington for a few days. Amy and David are two of our best friends - we've known them for years and shared countless adventures while living in Nacogdoches. (You may remember Amy from the essay I recently published in Elephant Journal.) The last time we saw them was during our wedding, when they came to North Carolina, served as a bridesmaid and groomsman, and helped us with a million last minute details. While we loved that were such a big part of that day, the wedding didn't leave much time for relaxing, sightseeing, or simply hanging out. During this visit, we made sure we did all of those things, and then some. Here are some highlights, courtesy of Amy's Instagram, and a few extra photos from mine.

The main reason for the trip (besides basking in my and Nathan's presence, of course) was to celebrate Amy's birthday. Nathan had to work, and David is not a morning person, so she and I got up early, packed a killer brunch (fresh bagels, vegan cream cheese, fruit, OJ, and champagne) and went to the beach, where we completed our birthday ritual of sun salutations, and then basked in the sun, swam in the surf, and celebrated the birth of one of my favorite people in the world. We take birthdays seriously around here. 

One of my favorite parts of the trip was the time we spent at my house, visiting with the animals (Seamus especially has a deep love for Amy and David - when he sees them, he starts to cry with happiness), drinking coffee on the porch, making giant breakfast feasts, and staying up too late with too many bottles of wine. I baked Amy a birthday cake, because baking her birthday cakes is one of my favorite things to do - this year, I went with a vegan yellow cake studded with strawberries, then smothered with a lemon glaze. It was pretty amazing - one of my finest cakes yet! - and I'll have to recreate it so I can post the recipe here. 

I didn't keep our guests locked in my house the whole time they were here - I also wanted them to see Wilmington, because we've been here for almost two years now (!) and I wanted them to experience the place we now call home. We went to all our favorite restaurants (Mellow Mushroom, Nikki's, Indochine, Nick's Diner) and a few fun bars (Satellite, Fortunate Glass, Bottega, and the Juggling Gypsy, which is NOT a favorite and I will never, ever go back there). We also visited Fort Fischer, for a little history, and the Serpentarium, where we viewed many a deadly reptile. Oh, and Amy and Nathan did handstands on the street, because that's who they are. 

The best day we had (in my humble opinion) was the one we spent kayaking out to Masonboro Island, which is only accessible by boating across the Intracoastal Waterway. After a nice paddle, we pulled our kayaks out of the gentle water and onto the sand, walked a few hundred feet across the island, and then had eight miles of wild, pristine beach completely to ourselves. The waves were huge, the pelicans were diving, and fiddler crabs were everywhere. We swam, drank beers, walked along the shore, and basically had one of my top five most lovely days ever. It was definitely one of the best weeks ever, and I have Amy and David to thank for that. 

This visit was special for a lot of reasons, but mostly because it reminded me of the difference between old friends and new ones. While I love all the people I've met through the MFA program, and while they've changed my life in so many ways, the dynamic is different - we're still new to each other, and we're in the middle of making history. Being with Amy and David, with so many years of inside jokes and memories and experiences, was different - not better, exactly, but good in a way that reminded me of who I am and where I come from. It made me feel rooted in a way I didn't know I was missing. 

This is one of the greatest things about long friendships - they serve as links to the past, and promises for a brighter future, because I know we'll be a part of one another's lives, no matter where we go or what we do. Friends, old and new and those I've yet to meet, make life bigger and better in so many ways. I'm grateful to all of my friends, especially these two. 

Until next time, Amy and David, and all the next times that will follow. <3