A few weeks ago, my friend Lindsay asked me if I wanted to tag along with her to help her cook for the Juliet Zulu company retreat. I immediately said yes for a few reasons: Lindsay and I have been friends and planning to cook together for about two years now and it had never happened, so here was our big chance; I had known some of the people that work for the company for a while but hadn’t had a chance to hang out in a long time, so I was excited to catch up; and lastly, Lindsay told me it’d be at a cabin by the river, which are two of my most favorite things, so I jumped on board right away.
Lindsay and I got together to plan the meals and get ready for the big weekend. Thankfully, the girl is as organized and as much of a planner as I am (a four page spreadsheet shopping list with all we needed alphabetized? YES.), so after a big Costco shopping trip and a last shopping stop in Salem, we somehow managed to fit everything into her car, chose some favorite episodes of This American Life and set off for the cabin.
The next four days were incredible. It was a lot of hard work followed by a lot of playing hard. Having never cooked with Lindsay before and me being a bit of a control freak in the kitchen, I was a little nervous about how things would go, but it could not have worked out better. Lindsay is a phenomenal cook and I was really excited and honored to be working alongside her in the kitchen, picking up some tips here and there. We had some moments of tension and stress, as would be expected when two people are in a little kitchen cooking for a big group of people (average per meal was 25 the first couple of days), but it didn’t keep us from getting everything done and making it work. There were last minute changes to the meals due to fruits going bad, things getting frozen instead of refrigerated, running out of ingredients or just realizing we were a bit overambitious when planning the meals. Still, it all worked out just fine, the food was enjoyed and everyone was so appreciative and encouraging about the cooking. It was a really good experience and a chance for me to learn to be more flexible, something I am working on in my life.
When we weren’t cooking or cleaning, we got a chance to do a lot of hanging out. I loved reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, getting to know people better and enjoying the ridiculous amount of laughter that went on over the course of those few days. I got to spend a lot of time on the dock, on a boat, or in the water, which is exactly what I was hoping for. I am person that loves rivers and swimming and I made it my goal to swim across the river and back every day, which I accomplished three of the four days. There were bonfires every night, I learned a new game I now love, LCR, which we played with an awesome 90s music soundtrack playing in the background. I got up at 5am one morning and went for a beautiful morning walk where the mountains were shrouded in fog.
The weekend was one of the best so far this summer. I worked hard and had tired bones. I played a lot and felt refreshed. I saw a family of elk drinking at the riverbank as we went by on the boat. I had river hair that smelled of bonfire. I was blessed by laughter and wonderful conversations around a fire.
I took a ton of pictures while we were out there, so I’ll share some here. These were all done with my iPhone, but I’ll post some camera ones once I get the film developed. Until then, hope you guys enjoy these!