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Moments before I rode my first mechanical bull ever, I proclaimed to my fellow gawkers, “You know this is a bad idea.” And then signed my life away, rode a bull and laughed ’till the cows came home. To recover from the belly-aching laughter (and humiliation) we drank light beer out of plastic pig mugs, danced in the field to fiddles and horns and got dirty. One could say it was just another day in the sticks, but this one just happen to be at the Hudson Valley Rib Fest. And we may have signed up for more information about the Rotary. Sigh.

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The foodie hostess offered
Local cheddar cheese
Rochester brewed beer
Warm semolina bread
Mixed green salad with strawberries, blue cheese and balsamic
The spirited red-head brought
Soup with roasted pumpkin seeds
The token guy and his small princess offered the table
Paella with chicken, shrimp and sausage
The menu exploded with
BBQ chicken thighs and legs
Baked chicken on a bed of sweet kale
Pasta Primavera with fresh ricotta
Local corn on the cob
Complimented with
Malbec and Shiraz
Spicy Thai shrimp
And capped off with
Local apple pie and vanilla ice cream
Dark seasoned coffee
Countless laughter
Full bellies
A dash that warmed hearts
Promises to have a leftover dinner soon
And a splash of banter
All in a night’s view

Dear Thea One Year Ago,

I wanted to let you know that everything is going to be okay. You will eventually recover from the trauma of moving from the city to the country. The next year of your life is going to fly by faster than expected. Hold on and hold tight. Here are a few things you have to look forward to:

1. Your scalp will heal, the nervous scratching stopped shortly after you moved and your skin will end up whole and just fine.

2. You bought a car eventually and learned the country roads just fine. You survived the ‘cash for junkers’ program despite there were no used cars available for you to purchase. You will forgive the government (for this one at least). And you will once again get caught in the middle of negotiations. You did in fact find a good set of wheels.

3. You made it through your first winter. You didn’t freeze, despite every cell in your entire body getting very close to hypothermia. Every morning that it was below zero made you appreciate the 104 degree summer days. You bought cute boots, learned to layer and wore scarves like it was no body’s business.

4. Snowboarding was actually an option for your skill set, even though you will suck at it. You took a lesson, made some lodge friends and didn’t end up in the emergency room. You will even attempt to do it again some day.

5. You will make things in crockpots.

6. Your fear of never making friends is just a fear. You will meet lots of people. Some will stick around. Some will come and go. Some will make you laugh. Some will make you cry. And there are the ones that will even break your heart.

7. You will find out who your real friends are from your pre-country life. And it will not be who you expected it to be. True colors – even the ugly ones – shine through when life changing decisions – moving to the country – happen. Even worse, you will lose some on the waste side. The rest of your friendships become family. Have faith that it is all happening for a reason.

8. You will go on awful first dates. One will be a whole 59 minutes.

9. You will continue to amaze the people who don’t really know you. You ‘do you’ well. Have faith in that.

10. You will teach meditation classes, host holidays for twenty, clean up dead bugs, catch a groundhog, laugh till you snort, heck laugh ’till wine comes out of your nose, take a friend to the ER, run recon adventures, taste the most amazing cheeses in the world and hear ridiculously fabulous music. All the time. Everywhere.

11. You will live it up in Belgium, London, the Netherlands, Italy, have a pit stop in Paris and get your passport stamped. You will be told you have the longest arms in all of Brussels, you have the most gorgeous eyes in all of Antwerp and kiss a boy in a Belgium pub.

12. You will miss your sister more than you even anticipated. She will continue to grow up without you there everyday. She will be fine. So will you. Promise.

13. Your will lose people to death. It will be sad. And they will be missed.

14. Trust will happen. Don’t let it freak you out too much, because there are pleasant surprises to come from letting go. It’s a risk, but have a lil faith.

15. Magic in the kitchen. All the time.

16. Challenge finds you no matter where you live.

17. Motivation is now your responsibility, make it happen, don’t get lazy.

18. A house to rent awaits you. It has yellow walls, an orange kitchen and a blue room. Safety and serenity lives there. You will buy things at stores that sell walls at 3 in the morning for the colorful house. And there is a roommate. A good one.

19. The loss of the city in your daily life does not feel better after time, it just feels different and somewhat manageable.

20. Just sayin’, obvi, heart, clearly and large hand motions are your stamp on the Hudson Valley.

21. The gym and yoga become a life force, I know, I still don’t believe that one either.

22. You won’t find your true love, but you are closer and clearer on the whole process.

23. The things that seem the most important to you (heels, the East End, the patio, wine and cheese, your old cube, Barci, the East River, the walk to Rachel’s, the cross town bus, drunk texting, brainstorms, late night drinks and places as last names in your cell phone) all shift in importance and relevance. Earth shattering, but again, it will be okay.

24. You will sign a lease for a year, even nine months into the adventure, and feel good about it.

I just thought you should know that there is a wicked awesome adventure headed your way. Perhaps, you should pick up some extra padding, sugar and bug spray. It’s going to be an interesting ride. To say the least.

Lots of love,
A Year From Now Thea

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” ~ T.S. Elliot

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