A Year of Many Homesposted: Friday, September 13th, 2013
By Emily Torgrimson
In the last year, I’ve lived with a newborn and with newlyweds. I’ve lived with teachers, a writer, a lawyer in training, graphic designers, an explorer, a park ranger. I’ve lived in a castle like mansion, a basement apartment, a cooperative duplex, a hobby farm. I’ve lived in different parts of the Twin Cities, as far east as Desnoyer Park, a neighborhood in St. Paul I had barely heard of before I moved in, to as far west as Linden Hills, where I can jump in my choice of lakes a 5 minute walk from my house.
My living situation sounds more like a game of M.A.S.H. than anything else. Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House. No Shack yet, but I’m working toward it as we fix up Eat for Equity’s RV trailer that will become my next home and our office on the road.
My living situation has also been one of my greatest sources of joy and connection over the last year. When I made Eat for Equity my job just over a year ago, I needed to cut down on my overhead to make it work. That meant moving out of my house and into my friends’ homes.
I structured out a fall of week-long stints with friends: a week with Jesse, followed by one with Skip and Mary, a week with Paul, then a week with Meredith and Adam, and so on. But then a week into this schedule, a friend invited me to stay for a couple months, and I threw out the plan.
It became a living lesson for me in allowing things to fall into place. As someone who takes pride in making things happen, this was not an easy lesson. But I really couldn’t have planned a better year than the one that came my way.
A roommate happened to move out of my best friends’ place, and I took the extra room for a month. A casual holiday conversation led to my current home of over half a year, living with a once relative stranger who would quickly become one of my dearest mentors and friends.
I learned how to be a friend during a health crisis. I saw how graceful motherhood could be, as I watched one of my friends nurse her newborn and her two-year-old at the same time. I remembered the silly pleasures of living with your best girlfriends, playing dress up in each other’s closets and laughing hard over no apparent reason. I learned how to be a good roommate to my parents [obvious lesson number one: don’t leave your stuff everywhere].
I got to know one of my heroes and call him a friend, as well as a housemate. I am so grateful that I’ve been able to live with an inspired, bold, generous woman, whom I hope to be like as I grow into myself. I‘ve been able to learn from other leaders and hear their stories and life experiences. And those friendships deepened, because of the closeness that comes from sharing bathrooms and unplanned meals crowded around the kitchen table.
I have received incredible generosity. I have become part of an extended family.
And it has changed who I am, and the way I envision the next year with Eat for Equity, as a balance between making things happen and letting them come to be. We’ll finish the trailer this fall – we’ll make it happen, dangit! – after a year of weekends of work. And we’ll trust that the tour will fall into place as it is meant to unfold – and likely, better than we could have ever planned.
Jesse, Sarah and Patrick, Taylor and Jasmine and Celia and Elery, Meredith and Adam, John and Pat, Kestrel and Robyn, Nina and Will and Emily and Dimple, you’re all my family now. Thank you for making my work possible, and for being such an important part of the Eat for Equity story. You embody one of my favorite poems, by Suheir Hammad:
…”we can share in this gift together
both of us giving
both of us receiving
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