I really hope that sometime in the very near future I will get back to a semi-normal writing schedule. I am still in the process of finding my own place to live here, so my free time has mostly been consumed with searching for and visiting houses and apartments. However, I did get to visit Aunt Cassie last weekend. It is so nice that we only live an hour and a half apart now! We went to the zoo for a short visit and I can’t wait to go back.
Work is going well. I am slowly but surely learning the names of all the female goats that I milk each day (there are about fifty). I really enjoy being around the goats, but I usually only see them in the morning or evening during milking. They are very sweet-natured, for the most part. The other day I spent some time with the babies, who are so cute! My favorites so far are named Pickle and Erica. Hopefully someday soon I’ll have a chance to take some pictures around the farm.
I am also learning a lot about making cheese, which is really interesting. Oh, and I’ve been busy chopping sixty pounds of jalapenos. Yes, sixty. The farms sells plain chevre (the soft kind of goat cheese you’re usually most likely to see at the grocery store) and also some different flavors with other ingredients mixed in with the cheese. One of those flavors is jalapeno, so we’ve been preparing them while the peppers are in season. It will be convenient in a couple months, but right now I don’t know if I ever want to eat, smell, or touch another jalapeno. Those little things burn so bad.
Anyway, today while I was chopping away, a podcast called “Life Flight” played from my co-worker Alice’s iPod. The speaker, Kimberley Reed, tells her story of returning to her Montana hometown for her father’s funeral after being gone for years, and after having transitioned from being male to female. In order to inform her family friends of her daughter’s new identity, Reed’s mother puts on a tea party for her closest friends, whom she called her “ambassadors.” If anyone at her husband’s funeral asked about her former son, she would send them to an ambassador for them to explain.
The tea was a success, and the attendees responded lovingly to their friend’s announcement. However, to avoid taking attention away from her father’s death, Reed decided not to attend the wake. Afterward, she received a phone call from her childhood best friend, saying he and the whole football team (of which she had been quarterback) were about to arrive to visit with her. Reed explains her anxiety upon learning that twenty of her closest buddies when she was a “him” would soon be sitting in her childhood living room, and then her relief that it felt like old times, and that her transition was a non-issue.
As it turns out, rather than judgment or questioning, Reed was confronted with acceptance from her hometown. The support of her family and friends, many of whom she had expected to never see again, overwhelmed her. Even as an unattached listener, her story moved me. For those few minutes as Kimberley Reed shared her story of fear, I was grateful for my millions of jalapenos– for once I’d have an excuse for tearing up.