There's no greater feeling than time spent with someone you love. Like, really love. Someone who knows you like the back of their hand, can make you laugh harder than you thought possible and hold you up when you can't find your own strength to stand. Some of us in life are lucky enough to have those people be our sibling. Allison fits this role totally and she's been a rock for me over the years in ways too numerous to count. She's my sister but, more than that, she's my friend.
As mentioned in my last post, things haven't been so easy for me lately. Now, I know inside that I'm strong. I'm a tough, tough lady and I'm a fighter which I have to believe in my heart is part of why things happen the way they did to someone like me. My dear friend, Patrick, and I talk about this kind of thing all the time in regard to life throwing us hardship that maybe someone else may not be able to face. I find it complimentary that I can see qualities about myself like this and that I'm confident in them. It makes me a survivor and I'm proud to know that I can face pain and not crumble. Nevertheless, Allison's visit out to Denver couldn't have fallen at a better time for me. I was stumbling and needed someone to lean on. I didn't just get someone, I got my sister.
Allison came out over Memorial Day weekend and I just couldn't wait to show her my apartment and new life in Denver! I'd spent the week prior getting everything ready that I could. I was like a carpenter for a week building furniture and I loved every second of it. I got so many things for my place that I love and I finally began building a home! I totally got the stamp of approval too as soon as Allison walked in. :)
We spent the weekend simply 'being'. I wasn't sure how I'd feel or where my heart would be. I wanted Allison to have a wonderful weekend here but I also knew the gravity of the unexpected nature of a broken heart. Lucky for me, Allison wanted only to be there for me, whether that meant laughing or crying. When she arrived, we went straight up to Boulder so I could have her meet my Caffe family. It's funny how much I loved being there as a guest and not the manager... We had a nice glass of white wine, visited with my friends and went off in pursuit of the Boulder Wine Merchant, a fabulous wine store owned by Master Somm, Brett Zimmerman. Allison needed to do a blind tasting for school over the weekend so the guy picked four different bottles for her. We actually got to chatting with a couple of gals who work there who are doing the same program level Allison is right now! It's remarkable what camaraderie exists amongst this kind of program. It's like they're all in the very same boat learning how to stay afloat and steer the boat toward shore. It reminded me totally of when my culinary class got to Italy and we all faced our new home and school abroad together. It's so neat!
After chatting with the girls for a bit, we made our way back to Denver and went for a few drinks outside in the absolute perfect weather:
Luca d'Italia and Rioja and casual with the delectable Denver Biscuit Company and cozy Udi's. Let's just give DBC the respect it deserves in pausing for a moment of culinary silence:
We took long walks, drank amazing wine (especially the wines from her blind tasting!), had brunch with friends and shared exactly the kind of quality time together that I would've hoped for. Allison was patient when my tears would fall and she'd listen when I needed an ear. She'd also help me laugh and see things with fresh perspective, something incredibly valuable to me right now. She let me be me as I needed tenderness and understanding and she allowed her time out here to be mostly about what I needed. For that, I'm so grateful.
Dropping her off at the airport was super painful and, once home in my apartment (that felt emptier than ever), I realized how special it is that she's in my life. I could not possibly make it through each day without her support and encouragement. From a broken heart comes valuable understanding of what's really important in life, something difficult to swallow at times but incredibly eye-opening. I hope that I can begin changing my life, owning my mistakes and becoming a better version of myself through this refining, growing time. May I use this time without the comfort of Allison physically here to better who I am, inside and out, and finally figure out who Valerie Albanese really is. Stay tuned...
Thanks for coming to see me, Allison. I treasure our time together and can't wait for round two with Camille!
PS - We seriously only took photos of food. It's disturbing how happy that makes us. I spared you in posting more.
A Ministry Staff Sample Questionnaire
5 hours ago