A letter to my Berkeley roommates

To Laura and Nicole, my first roommates in the San Francisco Bay Area —

My move from the Bay Area to Buenos Aires has me reflecting a lot on our first year in Berkeley together. Our lovely little house on Hearst with an overgrown front porch, the most comfortable olive-green couch and our very own washer and dryer. That home holds many memories for me. It’s the one I shared with the two of you; the foundation of our friendship; and the place in which I started my Bay Area life.

I thought a lot about you and my first year in Berkeley as I was packing up my apartment and leaving the Bay Area in September. But it wasn’t until I arrived in Buenos Aires and navigated my first month here that I really grew to understand and appreciate your influence in my start, and then life, in the Bay Area.

You see, without the two of you, my life there would not have been the same. In more ways than one, you helped me get my feet on the ground and flourish in Berkeley.

With roommates, relationships grow organically. So much goes unplanned because it can when you live in the same space and see each other every day. Spur-of-the-moment movie nights, let’s-get-a-drink-after-work nights or let’s-go-get-coffee mornings happen easily and naturally when you live together — and over time they turn into something greater. Those little moments, they contribute to something more.

Random excursions deepen relationships both with people and with place. My life in the Bay Area grew through doing so much with the two of you. You are the roots to my Bay Area life, and in so many ways, because of you, the Bay Area grew to be my home.

••••

I remember moving in on a Friday in November 2013. Laura had just started her job; I was starting mine that Monday; and Nicole was on the prowl while working as a wedding photographer. We had no furniture. That first night, Nicole and I went to Nino’s — that little restaurant around the corner that, over the next year, we’d never really see anyone in — and ordered two pizzas to go. At home, we made a storage tub a table and sat cross-legged on the floor as we ate our first dinner in our new home.

Throughout that year, I remember going to the farmers’ market on Saturdays with you; weekend walks to Philz; spur-of-the-moment movie nights, sitting on our couch with only the microwave light and Nicole’s paper lantern light on; a random T. Swift 1989 dance party with Laura in our kitchen and living room; Nate picking Nicole up for one of their first dates … and Nicole freaking out moments before he got there.

I remember evenings where the three of us would be cooking at the same time with limited counter space. But it worked. We always made it work. I remember introducing Laura to what I’m pretty sure are now her favorite scones. I just made my first batch here in Buenos Aires — and successfully so, I might add.

I remember the night Nicole found a spider in her bathroom. Laura, our appointed spider killer, wasn’t home, so I tried taking care of it and it disappeared somewhere behind the toilet. We never did find that little guy.

I remember moving the TV, DVD player and TV stand into my room one night, so we could all cuddle in bed and watch The Spectacular Now together.

I remember the tough moments. Both at home and out in the world, it wasn’t always easy; I certainly remember tears and long talks about whatever was going on. For better or worse, a lot happened that year.

I remember the good moments, too. You both have the power to light up the room with your smiles and laughter — well, giggles for Nicole.

More than anything, I remember our home on Hearst being a place of warmth, light, laughter and love, and to me, that has everything to do with the people. Thank you.

••••

As I said, these moments — simple as they seem — contributed to something more. They contributed to my relationships with the two of you and my life in the Bay Area.

I’ve noodled on your influence, the influence of roommates, quite a bit throughout my first month in Buenos Aires, but on Thursday, it really struck me.

You see, I moved to a new home in a new neighborhood last weekend. I’m now sharing a three-bedroom apartment that gets incredible natural light and cross-breezes with two kind, social and creative people — a Norwegian girl and an Argentinian guy.

I didn’t realize just how much I needed this, all of it, until I moved.

I loved living with the two of you in Berkeley. I also loved living on my own. In coming down here, in moving to a new place again, I completely overlooked the value of living with other people. I failed to realize the importance of that especially when moving to a new city — and I’m not just in a new city. I’m in a new city in a new country on a new continent where the primary language is not English.

Living with the two of you that first year in Berkeley was no accident. Nothing ever is. I can now see God brought the three of us together — seemingly randomly but 100% perfectly and intentionally. We were meant to live together, we were meant to be friends and I am forever grateful for both of you, your presence and influence in my life.

Thank you for being such great roommates and even better friends. During our first year in Berkeley and in the years that have followed, thank you for being such positive forces in my life. I am proud and honored to call you my friends.

Like the two of you, my roommates here are filling my life in the best ways. Living with them is making a difference for me — even if it’s just knowing they’re here, knowing there are other people nearby. It all boils down to the little things.

For the first time, I consistently feel at home in Buenos Aires. God truly has a plan in place. It’s how I met the two of you, and it’s how I fell into another warm home with two loving people here in Buenos Aires.

Thank you for being part of my life — on Hearst, in the Bay Area and beyond. I love and miss the two of you deeply and hope this finds you well.

xoxo
Emily

emily-laura-nicole

5 thoughts on “A letter to my Berkeley roommates

  1. You have learned the value of gratitude. When you look through the prism of it, all you see morphs into a more beautiful thing.

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