I threw a goodbye party for my departure to Africa on Friday. There is this element of fear that I have always associated with hosting a party. A gnawing anxiety floated above me like a heavy cloud as a I prepared to play host. But, I felt it was something I wanted to do. I wanted to bring together the people in my life for a night and enjoy their company all at once.
I knew I wanted to have a canvas for people to paint on. I decided to use a former shower curtain that I had repurposed as the cloth to sit on as I painted during my stay at 3434 W Mclean Ave. The shower curtain had splotches of colorful stains that designated where I had been sitting and what paints I had been using. With Meagan’s help I decided to add a layer of white paint that would serve as the canvas for everyone to paint on.
The role of the host is odd because you’re throwing this party to enjoy these people’s company and yet you are constantly consumed by the stress of attending to their needs. I was frequently required to make people a batch of tea or run downstairs and open the door that I had little time to have solid conversations with a bunch of people there. But I got to see them and that was so great.
What I loved most about the party was the incorporation of psychedelic tea and how that added to the atmosphere. I didn’t get a chance to drink until much later but it seemed to be well received and did not create confusion or anxiety; something I was quietly concerned about. I began by precisely measuring out anywhere from 0.5 grams to 1.0 grams and then let it steep for 5-10 minutes. As demand grew and the requests began to pile on, this process became much less scientific. I began to leave the tea and mushrooms from previous batches which I’m sure influenced the concentration. What ended up happening was that some batches we’re much stronger than others.
It was so lovely to see everyone. There were people I had gone to high school with and played on the chess team with. Some of my friends from Sunday School attended. There were the lovely friends I had made in college and the friends I had made at work. There were people I had attended Dev Bootcamp with and ones I had met during my stay in Logan Square. There was a friend from when i lived at the hack hostel and there were Shan’s friends that have also become mine. There was my family. What was conspicuosly missing was the presence of Amina, Rooha, Michele, and Lanya. But I felt them all night, anyways.
It was like time travel. I reconnected with people from different parts of my life throughout the evening. As the night tapered off, there were just a few people left and we were all slap happy from the hippie juice and wine. Saad said something that struck me. He said his favorite thing about the night was that even though we had all gotten older it was so good to see that everyone’s core still remained strong. For whatever reason, that made me feel really happy.