The Last Dining Experiences in Chicago:
- As our time at Listen came to a close, the Listen team took Na and I out for BBQ and I was reminded of home and of the southern staple (even though it didn't come close to real North Carolina BBQ. they tried). The food was stick-to-your-ribs good and the smell of smoked meat lingered on my jacket through the end of the week. BBQ was served at long, picnic-style tables As I looked down the stretch of table, I saw all the smiling faces of my talented coworkers that made my time sweet and bestowed on me their knowledge and their company I felt blessed to have known them and to have experienced their perspectives.
- A few days earlier I said goodbye to my church community that I built in Chicago. My small group brought me out to dinner and Jeni's Ice Cream. I couldn't believe that I had gotten so close so fast with friends that I had met. I went into the program not knowing anyone and just as I was feeling comfortable with the new community of friends, it was time to leave.
- My last meal with Listen was at a Nike popup where I had the most Chicago experience - the restaurant was rebranded to feature “The Most Chicago” food and sports memorabilia in one room, I realized how much you can't see and experience in a town like Chicago in just 2 months. At the popup there were two boisterous and hilarious fry chefs bantering back and forth with us in thick Chicago accents. I’m going to miss the midwest with their passion, attitude, and spunk!
- After work Brentos, our creative director at Listen, took us out for drinks, we talked about how he curated the Listen office space, his advice for honing in the craft of typography, and about his journey to Listen.
On the last day in the Listen office I discussed my fears about going to San Francisco with Lucy, the amazing office manager and my desk buddy at Listen. I told her about what I had recently read about SF which had gotten me concerned... the earthquakes, wildfires, forced power outages, dirty streets, and thousands of tarantulas descending on the city... she interrupted my long line of research and fears and eased my apprehensions by telling me “just picture it as Full House.”
Full House, set in SF, was one of my childhood favorites - I had the entire box set. Now that I think of it, one of my favorite things about Full House was the moments that the ragtag group of personalities sat down together, family and friends gathering around one table.
I am so blessed to be invited to the table in the design community - invited to the table with my new friends Hannah and Es, and invited to the table by coworkers and companies. These conversations over food and drink have been the ones I will remember most. More times than we’d like, we get so caught up in work and designing at our desks, we bring our food and eat it at our desks. In the hurriedness of the workday we edge out communal eating and in turn don't get to have meaningful conversations with people around us and miss out on insights, lessons, and opportunities for connection.
While now living in San Francisco I want to foster this idea and practice, and gather around a table and break (SF sourdough) bread, ask coworkers to grab coffee and get to know people in the time that I have here.
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