Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How Many Words Do You Have Left?

Today is the third day that I have spent alone in my office. My co-worker, Tina, is sick and so I am "holding down the fort" by myself.

Normally I am quite lucky. The two of us work in a rather large office (if you don't count all the tables, copy machines and shelves taking up space) with two walls of full-length windows. We have a great view of the trees budding, a dead-end campus street (and how many, many cars find that out too late), and the academic building across from us. It's a perfect set of windows for spying on illegally parked cars. Hey, I've only called them in once. I just find enjoyment in watching events unfold outside our windows.

Tina and I usually spend a good portion of the day chatting together. Mostly we can talk and copy things at the same time (I know, we are talented). Sometimes we just sit and shoot the breeze. There are always professors walking in and out of our office, bringing up interesting topics, as well. Most days when I return home to Ryan and our little apartment I find that I have used up a good portion of my words for the day.

You know what I mean, right? Supposedly women have twice as many words than men to say each day... Don't quote me on the statistics. But I know it's true that I have more things to say each day than Ryan has to say. If I've been particularly quiet on a certain day I'm unable fall asleep until I've talked enough words out of my system.

Which brings me to today... Working with another office person allows me get at lot of words out of my system so I don't have to bombard Ryan with all of my thoughts in the evenings. Spending one day at work alone is enough to make me annoyingly chatty at night. Imagine the havoc that three days of silence is going to wreak tonight.

Do you think writing counts towards daily word usage?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Back From Hiatus

A lot has happened in the last 10 days. I can't believe it's been that long! But I have much to tell of the twists and turns in our graduate school life.

Biggest news: Ryan and I found out that we are going to have a baby!

It's truly amazing how God's plans work out in the end. My plan was to get pregnant, apply for the Residence Director job, and then quit my full-time job in anticipation of motherhood. God's plan was for me to learn how to trust Him and follow Him in faith without knowing the outcome. I was definitely not pregnant when we applied for the job - but we applied anyway (late, and with no help from me - Ryan did it all). Then we were offered the job and I still didn't know what was going on with my future possible motherhood. We decided to accept the job before we knew if a child was in womb. Here's the amazing part - we found out the day we signed the contract that our first child is on the way. Faith first, then answers.

It was so much fun telling our families the big news. Ryan and I have been questioned about possible pregnancies since our wedding day. My sisters have been suspicious every time our family gathers for dinner.

"Any announcements?" they would query over the dining room table.

"Nope. But don't worry, you'll be the first to know," I always replied.

Imagine their surprise and joy when my answer finally changed! Baby Sister just jumped and screamed and jumped some more. Middle Sister was still away at college and we had to tell her over the phone. She was thrilled - so very excited, in fact, that I was kind of shocked by her reaction. A few days later she called me to chat and explained that her mindset had recently changed about Ryan and I becoming parents. At first she was unconvinced that we were ready for parenthood. Within the last two weeks, however, she had a change of heart and started yearning to become an auntie. What joy to make her wish come true!

Ryan's parents were even more fun to tell our good news. It was his mother's birthday and he gave her gift of becoming a grandmother. Both of Ryan's parents jumped around and yelled and hugged us when they found out. I really didn't expect to be overwhelmed with such unfettered joy. I guess we are in a really special position. This baby will be the first grandchild on both sides, and the first great-grandchild on three out of the four sides. I can't even imagine how spoiled he or she will be...

Telling our close friends was also a wonderful experience. So many people having been praying for us to have a baby. It's not like we were in a horrible situation of infertility, but it's been a long wait since our wedding day. Many of our friends espouse the Franciscan view of begetting children on the honeymoon. Let's just say that waiting nearly two years is an unusually long time for our set of friends. If Ryan didn't immediately go to graduate school we might have had a honeymoon baby too. We just have to deal with the challenges of life as they come at us. Graduate school is definitely one such challenge!

The only unfortunate event that occurred in the last week was that Middle Sister leaked our good news onto Facebook before we had a chance to tell some people personally. A couple of my close friends saw Facebook before I could call them and it ruined the surprise element. But how can I be angry at the joy of my sister? I still called my friends - better late than never! I guess that is just a consequence of modern technology. News by Facebook travels faster than news by phone.

According to my NFP charts, our little baby should arrive around December 21st. Yes, I know, he or she will be a Christmas Baby. Seriously, that is the first thing people say when they find out my due date. I am six weeks along at this point, which means the baby is technically 4 weeks old - one month already!

Another question everyone asks is how am I feeling. I've been lucky thus far - I feel practically normal. The only difference is being much more tired and little more hungry. The hungry thing is weird because sometimes a certain food will smell terrible to me, but then it tastes just fine. The challenges arises in getting over the unappetizing smell and actually eating the food. I am probably hungry because I refuse to eat what is available!

There will be much to talk of in the coming months. I don't think I will have such a long break between posts again. And now I am so excited to keep writing. This is officially a mommy blog!

Friday, April 18, 2008

In the Words of the Holy Father...


Conference Hall of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Thursday, 17 April 2008

"We see why fostering personal intimacy with Jesus Christ and communal witness to his loving truth is indispensable in Catholic institutions of learning. Yet we all know, and observe with concern, the difficulty or reluctance many people have today in entrusting themselves to God. It is a complex phenomenon and one which I ponder continually. While we have sought diligently to engage the intellect of our young, perhaps we have neglected the will. Subsequently we observe, with distress, the notion of freedom being distorted. Freedom is not an opting out. It is an opting in – a participation in Being itself. Hence authentic freedom can never be attained by turning away from God. Such a choice would ultimately disregard the very truth we need in order to understand ourselves. A particular responsibility therefore for each of you, and your colleagues, is to evoke among the young the desire for the act of faith, encouraging them to commit themselves to the ecclesial life that follows from this belief. It is here that freedom reaches the certainty of truth. In choosing to live by that truth, we embrace the fullness of the life of faith which is given to us in the Church." (emphasis mine)

Big Decisions: A Resolution

I wrote earlier this week about having to make the decision whether or not to accept a college Residence Director position with my husband. After prayer, discussion, and unloading the responsibility onto my husband's shoulders, Ryan and I agreed to accept the position. A wife should follow where her husband leads. In this case, it freed me from my own road-blocks. I decided to trust my husband's guidance and refused to be anxious over the decision.

In fact, I feel pretty peaceful about it. I know we are taking on a huge responsibility and we will have to move again this summer (it's becoming an annual event!). But, I can't shake the feeling that it's all going to work out. And for some reason the college wants us to do the job. It's all too uncanny not to be the work of God.

We went in to sign the papers yesterday. It was also a good time for questions, a few logistics for the summer before our job officially begins, and for me to double-check that they do in fact want a family, possible crying babies and all, to live in a dorm. I also had to ask - why us? I mean, we don't have a ton of residence life experience. And Brother C. just flat out told us that we were the best qualified for the job. Technically Ryan has the job, and I am coming along as a "bonus" addition. But they think Ryan's life experiences and personality have what it takes to be a good Residence Director. We also have a good marriage and we will be an example of the vocation of marriage. Brother C. assured us that we were not chosen because of the novelty of being a married couple. He said we were chosen because we are the best fit for the position. Wow - I certainly don't feel that confident in our abilities!

It's going to be an adventure, to say the least.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The End is in Sight

Do you ever have those days when 5:00pm seems so far away? It feels like the work day will never end. And you are so tired that you could fall asleep standing up...

We've finally passed the threshold - it is after 4:00pm. The end is finally in sight. I can make it, just 54 minutes left and I am a free woman!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Home, and I Didn't Even Know It

When I was 15 years old I left home. No, not permanently - but for three weeks. I decided to travel to Europe with a group called People to People Student Ambassadors. At this point in my life I was a pretty average teenager. I did what my parents asked of me, went to church each Sunday, ate my vegetables... I was also slightly naive and somewhat self centered. It's not that I was grossly selfish or vindictive, but the concept of selflessness hadn't really occurred to me yet. I was just a fun-loving, pleasure seeking, just-out-of-freshman-year-of-high-school teenage girl.

Imagine my surprise when God spoke to me on that trip.

We had been in Rome for several days, sight-seeing and infusing our young minds with culture. Vatican City was next on the schedule, but I was so sleep deprived and sore from walking around the city that I found it hard to concentrate on the educational opportunities. Finally our tour guide released us to go and explore St. Peter's Basilica. I was particularly interested in Vatican City and the Basilica because I was Catholic, but I wasn't what you would call a phenomenal participant in my faith. The church was so grand and beautiful I couldn't help but wander through it, gazing in awe at the different statues and alters. I had no idea what I was looking at, but I was sure that it was all very important.

Eventually a group of us came to a curious spot deep within the church. A tall, red velvet curtain hung from the ceiling, enclosing some sort of restricted area. Naturally, I wanted to see more. A sign written in several languages warned us to be quiet and respectful - this was a place of prayer. It suddenly occurred to me that I hadn't been to mass in a week or two because of the European tour. I decided to take a moment to pray, being Catholic and all, and to make up for missing mass. A few other Catholic members of the group joined me as we stepped between the curtains into a tiny chapel.

Immediately the scent of incense enveloped me. The fragrance brought with it a sense of familiarity and comfort. As I knelt down to pray all the stress, tiredness, and bodily soreness disappeared. I was filled with a deep sense of peace. How strange, I thought, but just shrugged it off as I quieted myself in prayer. Then I heard it, not with my ears, but within my soul:

You are home
, the voice told me.

Uh, no, actually I'm in Rome, like several thousand miles away from home, I instinctively replied.

You are home, the voice reiterated.

When I walked out of the velvet enclosed chapel I discovered that each person who stepped inside to pray had a similar experience. We all felt a lightening of our burdens, a physical change in our bodies, a calming sense of peace. I finally started to put all the pieces together. Some very special just happened to me - I heard the voice of God.

I wish I could say that my life changed at that moment. It actually took a bit more time than an instant. The thing is, however, I could never forget those words, You are home. What did they mean?

Over the years I've discovered that home isn't always a physical place, like I originally understood it to be. Home is the place where you belong. It makes sense to me that "going home" is really entering into a deeper, more faithful relationship with God. During my teenage years I always felt alienated, like I didn't belong anywhere. I longed for the feeling of acceptance, comfort, and home. It just took me awhile to realize that I will only feel accepted, comforted, and at home when I am fulfilled by God. I've always had a home in the Church, within the community of those who love and serve God, I just didn't always know it.

*This post was written for the April Scribbit Write-Away Contest. The topic this month: Going Home.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Big Decisions

It's really interesting that Jen should happen to write about turning over situations to God at the very moment that I need to hear it. I enjoy reading the comments posted by other readers - and learning their stories of how God guided them through tough situations. My faith is strengthened when I hear about God-moments in other people's lives. I definitely need a little extra boost in my faith right now too.

Here is my tough situation: Ryan and I were offered a job as Residence Directors for a college dorm.

I realize that this isn't a life or death situation. But it is causing me a lot of stress. And acne. It's the kind of situation that seems to warrant the most prayer - one that involves a job (aka: money) and moving. I don't really know what I want, so I am going to lay out my thoughts in a pro/con list.

1. This is a ministry job - it would have a clear and distinct purpose, something I find lacking in my current job.
2. If we have baby, and I quit my current job (which I will happen), we will have a little side income to supplement Ryan's grad stipend.
3. If we don't have a baby, I would still quit my current full-time day job and work a part-time job instead.
4. I am frustrated in my current job - this could be a good change.
5. We are night people, this is an evening kind of job.
6. No rent and free meals - good for Ryan when I don't have the energy to cook.
7. The bedrooms in the dorm apartment are a bit bigger, and there are 2 bathrooms (instead of one).
8. The dorm washer and dryer are right next to our apartment (easy access).
9. The campus is really small and we would get to know everyone - there is a good possibility for community.
10. This decision involves a huge leap of faith.

1. What kind of time commitment are we really getting ourselves into?
2. If I have a baby, I will have to take care of baby and a dorm full of boys.
3. Lack of privacy.
4. I hate change.
5. What if I still have to wake up the same time I do now (aka: too early) while going to bed later than I already do?
6. The free meals are dorm food - I would probably still buy groceries and cook a lot anyway.
7. The kitchen in the dorm apartment is smaller than our current kitchen - much smaller.
8. We have our own washer and dryer in our current apartment - and we would have to share them with a bunch of guys in the dorm.
9. We already have a community in our little neighborhood - at the very least, we are good friends with one neighbor!
10. This decision involves a huge leap of faith.

Ok. So in reading through my two lists, it seems like most of my "Cons" are just complaints. I've outlined some real issues (time and privacy), but the rest are mostly issues of convenience.

I guess it all comes down to trust and figuring out what is God's will for Ryan and me. Sometimes I can be a little dense, and it may take me a few lifeboats (ever hear the joke about the flood?) before I understand where God wants me to go. This situation seems to have a lot of those lifeboats, however. There are too many "chance" occurrences surrounding the job offer. Ryan and I just happened to contact one of his old college professors (who we had been meaning to catch up with) and he, now an administrator, just happened to think we would be good for the Residence Director job. We happened to miss the application due date, but the college let us turn it in late anyway. An opening for a part-time job just happened to come to my attention the week Ryan and I found out the college wanted us to take the Residence Director position.

I don't necessarily believe in coincidences. But I do believe that God will move and shake events or occurrences in my life to help me follow His path. Right now I just need to feel peace about our decision. In order to find my peace, I have to turn over this situation to the Lord, and try to follow as best I can.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

More Than Just a Shopping Spree

Three days ago I spent my lunch break walking and talking with Baby Sister about her relationship troubles. She called me two days ago to let me know that she and her boyfriend of three years just broke up. It was mutual and she was prepared for it to happen, so, other than general sadness, there weren't/aren't any overwhelmingly upsetting emotions for her. Then she called me yesterday to ask me to take the afternoon off from work today so we could spend some time together. She didn't want to sit in her dorm room all day doing homework again. We decided - let's go shopping! What better way to perk up a sad (and now rainy) day?

I've been thinking recently about how much my relationship with Baby Sister has changed over the years. We are five years apart, and the gap in our ages seems to be finally closing. When we were little I took my responsibility as the eldest child very seriously. Middle Sister and Baby Sister were to look up to me, want to be like me, and to learn from me. I was paving the way for their childhood and growth into teenage years, so I should be duly respected. Of course my sisters did not agree with this philosophy. And it caused a lot of stress on our relationships for many years.

When I finally went off to college, after a tumultuous summer fighting with my parents, Baby Sister was only in 8th grade. In high school I didn't have a lot of interest in anyone but myself, so I left not really knowing her that well. Freshman year of college I was still wrapped up in myself and my own problems. Coming home on breaks and over the summer I just expected my family to be the same as when I left them. I remember being surprised that certain daily habits (such as where the bathroom towels were hung) had changed in my absence.

Sophomore year of college I transferred to Franciscan University and started gradually changing myself. I still didn't understand how to relate to my sisters when I returned home, however. In fact, that year could have done the most damage to our relationships. I was so full of vigor for my reinvigorated faith and new understanding of Catholicism that I couldn't help but overflow my enthusiasm onto my family. The problem was that I still wasn't very good at listening or speaking the proper words. I found myself constantly arguing with my sisters, their defenses up and ready for me, and me unable to explain what I really meant to say. Junior year wasn't much better.

But finally in my senior year I was engaged and preparing for marriage. My mother desperately hoped that wedding plans would bring we three sister together at last. One of my favorite memories from that time was spending a "Sister Day" together, four days before the wedding. We all painted a large ceramic bowl and had it fired in kiln with glaze. It was my wedding present from my sisters. And it was really fun to work together artistically, with each sister's personality enameled on the bowl. I think at that point we all started to realize that our family would never be the same again. It was expanding to include Ryan, and we would only live an hour away. But it wasn't ever going to be just the three sisters again.

In these two years of marriage, God has blessed me by softening my tongue, and therefore, building better relationships with my sisters. I've also had time to reflect on all of our sisterly spats, to think about the cause of them. I always knew that Middle Sister and I were direct opposites, but I couldn't quite figure out what created the tension between Baby Sister and me. This year, with Baby Sister at Notre Dame, I've come to realize that we are very much alike. In fact, sometimes it's downright uncanny how similar we are. I see now that the tension came from one particular similarity - our untactful bluntness. We are honest, but not always kind. And we are both very convicted by our beliefs - to the point where we disregard other opinions because we obviously already know the truth and no one's else's point of view will change our minds.

I've also learned these past few years how being right isn't always good for relationships. Knowing the truth, but expressing it without compassion won't change anyone's mind and will only breed resentment. But listening is very important. And waiting for others to ask for advice before doling it out is also non-negotiable.

So, three days ago, Baby Sister asked for advice and I really listened to her. Even though we are going shopping today (and I seriously need new clothes), I think our afternoon is really about spending sister time together. My mother will be pleased - her daughters are finally discovering the joys of their sisterhood!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Walking Rosary

There is a wonderful tradition at Franciscan University - the walking rosary. On different nights of the week you will see groups of students praying the rosary together as they walk around campus. It doesn't matter what the weather may be - rain, snow, or just plain hot - the walking rosary still marches on.

It's a wonderful way to pray.

I don't know why, but it seems easier for me to meditate on the prayers of the rosary while walking. I think it might have to do with the chaos of every day life. Walking is calming, repetitive, and it involves my entire body. At my job, I sit in a chair for a good portion of my day. Walking for 20-30 minutes feels like freedom, a shrugging off of the work at the end of the day. I am able to walk slowly and leisurely, with no really destination in mind. I can usually find excuses not to pray the rosary if it will be sit-down event (you know, other work must be done). But when the rosary is combined with walking, I feel like I am getting twice as much out of my time, and therefore, it's a good use of my time.

Isn't it odd that when I pray a walking rosary I will move slowly and savor the moment, but when I try to sit down and pray all the unfinished tasks distract me?

Perhaps the walking rosary is a good type of prayer for me because it draws me out of my home (aka: another work environment) and away from distractions. There is a huge temptation to make every minute of my day "productive" because I work for 8 hours at my job and then I have a home to take care of in the evenings. I react to this temptation by either working like a crazy person to "catch up" until I fall into bed or (the more usual route) I just do nothing at all and ignore the work piling up around me. Obviously the best reaction lies in the middle somewhere. Taking time to remove myself from the situation and pray helps bring the middle ground into perspective.


Monday night my neighbor and friend, May, and I decided to bring a little Franciscan spirit to Notre Dame. We instituted the first official ND walking rosary. It started out as a small group (just the 2 of us), but I have a feeling it will grow. We can guarantee to double in size when we enlist the hubbies to join us!

I just have a feeling that we are on the verge of something big. I can hardly describe it, but as we trod the first rosary path on Monday night I had an intimation that this was only the beginning. It really felt as though a piece of FUS was being planted in the ND soil, ready to grow and ripen into spiritual fruit. After one walking rosary I could sense a difference in myself. And I take hope in the notion that even if our walking rosary remains a group of two, "where two or three are gathered in [His] name" there is Christ in our midst.

Friday, April 4, 2008

That Really Gets Under My Goat

What I meant to say was either "That really gets under my skin" OR "That really gets my goat."

What came out instead was "That really gets under my goat."

Needless to say, the laughter over my misspeak was enough to rid me of the frustrations I was currently proclaiming. Gotta love it how that happens.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Birthday Gift

Ok. I know that God answers prayers, but usually He's not so literal!

Recently I prayed for nice birthday weather. We've had some lingering cold weather throughout March, and I am never sure just what will happen on April 3rd each year. Of course, when I checked the weather report last week, it was predicting clouds and rain for today. But the thing about Indiana is that you never really know what's going to happen. The forecast changes almost as quickly as the weather. If the weatherman predicts rain on my birthday, there is a good chance I'll have sunshine instead.

So, last week I just casually looked up to the sky and petitioned God for some sunshine on my birthday - and warm weather too, if possible. When I woke up this morning I was excited to find a crystal clear sky and intense sunrise to greet me. Just a few minutes ago I stepped outside to feel the warmest weather we've had this spring.

I am so very happy. It's April. It's my birthday. And spring is finally here!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

On the Eve of My 24th Birthday

I've been avoiding thoughts of my birthday the last couple of weeks - which is unusual for me. Typically, I have a count down rolling as soon as the New Year turns. I make sure to leave "subtle" reminders to all family, friends, and co-workers in the preceding birthday weeks. Some might even think me a little bit too excited about my celebration of entrance into this world.

What makes this year different? I suppose it is a different set of expectations I formed a year ago. I was so sure that my 23rd year would be amazing. I had a really good feeling about it. Afterall, 23 is a pleasant number, and 23 would be my age for 365 days, plus an one extra day for leap year. Big things were going to happen to me. I was going to arrive at my 24th birthday ridiculously advanced from the experiential knowledge gained in my 23rd year.

I guess it all recently hit me that most of my plans have remained unfulfilled. A lot of those plans revolved around a baby - or pregnancy, at the very least. In the last year I kept putting things off, in my anticipation of motherhood. I expected my life to change drastically in the near future, so what was the point of getting involved with weekly commitments I would have to quit just as quickly? I would only end up disappointing someone or being stressed out or something, I rationalized to myself.

The truth is that I have become lazy. It's easier to push off commitments or changes into the future instead of dealing with myself as I am at this very moment. I don't feel guilty for sitting on the couch if I convince myself that a) I'll work out tomorrow instead, or b) I am just going to get pregnant (and fat) soon and it will be a waste of energy anyway. It's easy to convince myself not to become involved in activities with my parish or neighbors when I am sure that my days will soon change from employed 40-hour work weeks to stay-at-home 80-hour work weeks.

Today I finally faced what I have been avoiding - a look back at the past year. My life has changed, I can't deny it. I am coming up on one year as a full-time salaried employee (as opposed to a temporary worker). Ryan's graduate work has taken a different course, leading him down a better path. I have really been getting to know my baby sister, since she joined the ND family as a freshman last August. I've changed apartments and been able to spend much more quality time with my FUS neighbors. I have strengthened my photography skills with our new digital camera. I've finally started to set down roots in our new parish. And I've been asked the most wonderful of all requests - to be a Matron of Honor in Aislinn's wedding. Indeed, there have been many good and satisfying events in my 23rd year.

It's just that my greatest desire remains unfulfilled. I wish to be a mother. And I was so sure that I would happen in my 23rd year.

Today I didn't just face my disappointment - I also stopped making excuses for laziness. I don't know when I will become a mother. At this moment, however, I have to throw off my hesitations and start living vibrantly again. It's time to cast off my deficient plans and strive towards God's perfect plans. I plan hope to have a wonderful birthday tomorrow, no matter what it brings.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Carefree Timelessness

Over the weekend Ryan and I drove to Chicago to share in carefree timelessness with one of my best friends, Aislinn, and her fiance, Rich. I can't remember exactly where I picked up the phrase "carefree timelessness," but I think it might be from Matthew Kelly. Regardless of its origin, it is a phrase that resonates with me. One of my love languages is Quality Time - and what better way to spend time with someone than allowing it to be free of cares and time restraints?

My expectations were more than exceeded Friday evening through Sunday afternoon. It was like one long lazy Sunday afternoon (with two nights thrown in for good measure). We did just what we wanted to do each moment, with no concern for the time. We also stayed up far past my usual bedtime, in the spirit of timelessness. Most of the weekend we didn't really do anything beyond talking and eating. Yeah, that pretty much sums it up - a good weekend includes much talking and much eating.

For example:
Saturday morning we woke up - whenever we felt like it- and lounged in our pj's for the rest of the morning. Ryan, Aislinn, and I enjoyed a spirited discussion based on Jen's current blog. When we finally did shower and clean up, it wasn't under any time constraint. Aislinn and I had plenty of time to meander and sift through different outfits and decide to put on a little make up. We spent the afternoon in quaint downtown Oak Park - eating a wonderful sushi meal, indulging in Cold Stone ice cream, and catching a flick, Horton Hears a Who, at the downtown movie theatre with a bazillion little kids. Then we came back to Aislinn's adorable studio apartment (I was a bit confused when I first walked in, not grasping the concept of studio, and asking where the bedroom was...) for a nap! Our evening activities included public transportation (which I think I enjoy more than the average person) and an excursion to Howl At The Moon. I had forgotten far removed from the bar scene I was until we actually stepped inside the overly crowded room. But my venture into modern culture fared well, as our little group eventually claimed a table where we enjoyed drinks, good music, and watching those who could not hold their liquor.

I think the best part of our carefree timelessness was spending it on Aislinn's turf, enjoying the place she calls home. I was able to sit back, to let her hostess and organize (something I almost always volunteer to do). I think it's a big deal for a women to be able to hostess and show off her home a little bit, especially as she leaves college and establishes herself in the adult world. Each time I am able to experience another friend's home, I know her a little better than I did before. She gets the chance to share her daily routines and favorite haunts with me. I get the chance to walk with her, on her side of the street.