That’s right, you read the title correctly. Karma in the Kitchen is reuniting for a weekend of eating, drinking, and merrymaking in the windy city. Tracy will be hopping the Megabus from Columbus next Friday morning (January 14) to spend a weekend inevitably laughing, cooking, eating, and enjoying the “Best Chicago has to Offer”.
This is not the first time we will be traveling in Chicago. Our first trip happened in the early fall a few years ago and included fresh doughnuts at the farmer’s market, fresh pasta eaten outdoors, fresh dance moves, and fresh comedy at a friend’s improve event.
This was not our first opportunity to travel together. Actually, the story of our friendship, while not especially wild, seems appropriate to share.
We met one weekend in the fall of 2007 in a church basement. We had both been asked to help with a retreat for undergraduate students at the University of Toledo. Rachel had just begun her graduate work in higher education and I was working lots of hours in a residential agency for persons with developmental disabilities. I don’t really remember everything we did that day, but importantly we learned that we had a similar sense of humor. Soon, we had drafted the outline for a book that would define the theological connections of Christ and potato salad. Not long after that weekend, we found ourselves analyzing the world’s problems over a few glasses (ok, a bottle) of wine. We quickly learned that we had great cooking chemistry. Rachel and I found that we could enter a kitchen with a vague idea of the direction a meal should take and each could work independently, yet together, to create a meal. Soon, this turned into an unofficial dinner club where we would call each other, say something like “I just picked up and eggplant, what should we make?”, and invite friends over to join in the meal.
Soon our friendship deepened. I struggled with the illness and death of my father and found support and care from my dear friend. I faced the stressors of my job and challenge of deciding where my future career should be. We both found times that having listening ears was a crucial quality in our friendship. Tears were shed together, heartfelt guidance was offered, and hugging ensued.
In the spring of 2008 we found ourselves on a train leading undergraduate students to Ghost Ranch in New Mexico for an alternative spring break trip. Rachel and I spent ~48 hours round-trip on a train listening to music, crocheting, talking, and sleeping. Once at Ghost Ranch, our trip focused on building individual self esteem and efficacy by challenging ourselves in hiking, rappelling, cross country skiing, and community building. Again, our relationship deepened.
Soon, we moved on. Rachel obtained a job in Detroit and I moved on to graduate school in Columbus. Before we parted geographical ways, we took a trip to Hocking Hills, or “The Best Ohio has to Offer”. A weekend spent hiking, fire-building, camping, and sweating together again deepened our friendship.
Rachel now lives in Chicago, a city she loves, and works in a career that is fulfilling. I will finish my Masters Degree in the spring and hope to find a career in the not-for-profit healthcare world. Karma in the Kitchen grew out of our distance. Without a shared kitchen, we found ourselves sending each other recipes via email or sharing experiences at restaurants over the phone. Finally, we decided that a blog may be the closest we could come to continuing to cook together.
Maybe now you can understand a little more why we are so excited to share a city again, even if only for a weekend. Relationships that touch the deepest nerve of our humanness are rare and precious. I am grateful to have found such a friend.
Keep watching, we should be posting about our adventures soon! I leave in one week!