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  • Writer's pictureMegan Jarrett

Leaving Is Exciting, But Goodbye Is Hard

Updated: Feb 19, 2022

One of the things I’ve learned in my 26 years is that your hardest goodbyes are often your greatest blessings in disguise. Getting dropped off at college is thrilling, but that doesn’t mean saying see you later to your family is easy. Moving to a new city after graduation is fun, but it doesn’t mean you’re ready to say goodbye to your college friends.


Life is full of exciting changes, and it’s recognizing all the goodness your life is already filled with that makes saying goodbye so difficult. And that is what I’ve been doing for the past couple of weeks.

 

I’ve always been interested in living overseas. In college, I spent a lot of time researching study abroad opportunities. As fun as they looked, they were always so expensive and I wasn’t sure how they would actually help me get a job coming out of school — which was my whole reason for investing in college. I figured I would bucket that as a “maybe someday” goal and tucked the idea away.


Over the summer, “someday” came and I accepted an offer to move to England for work. When I said yes, I knew I would be leaving around early February 2021 and would be in the UK for almost three years.

At the time, the outlook for the pandemic seemed like it was maybe starting to improve, though many experts predicted the fierce fall resurgence. It seemed plausible, though, that life would have returned to a bit of normalcy by time the big move came around.

I was wrong. In fact, as we brought in 2021, it brought in a new set of lockdowns across the UK that will last until late February at the very least. I can easily admit that moving across the world into a solo lockdown wasn’t exactly what I was picturing when I dreamed of my move during the summer. But here we are.

 

For the last few weeks, in addition to all the packing, donating, storing, selling, and trashing I was doing, I made an effort to prioritize seeing as many friends as safely possible to say goodbye to the people and places that made Madison such a special home over the last five and a half years.


I had a sleepover with my girlfriends, brunch with our quarantine couples, a bonfire with the crew, made steak sandwiches with my Scotland Squad, and spent a couple of Mondays watching The Bachelor. I didn’t get to see everyone I would have liked, but we were trying to make the best of it while being careful with COVID.


Last weekend, was our last weekend together. Jordan and I spent most of our time playing rummy and watching our favorite TV shows, and we finished off the evening with one of our favorite traditions: cooking Sunday night dinner.


Jordan had done all the planning this time. He had found some bone-in ribeyes that he centered the meal around. He ran to the grocery store and found some ingredients for a root vegetable medley and brown butter hericots verts with pine nuts (inspired by these recipes).


We started with the mise en place, as enforced by Chef Anne on Worst Cooks in America, which happened to be one of our weekend tv binges. I cleaned and peeled the parsnips, turnips, carrots, rutabegas, red onions, and red beets. Jordan chopped them up then tossed the olive oil coated veggies in rosemary, cumin, salt, pepper, and thyme. He spread them on a baking sheet and tossed them into the oven while I snapped the ends off the beans.


Once the veggies were in the oven, we boiled salted water and blanched the hericots vert for 2-3 minutes then dropped them in an ice bath to prevent them from over cooking. Time to flip the rainbow of vegetables and season the steaks.


As usual, I poured the seasonings onto the steaks while Jordan patted them in. This time, we used steak salt, pepper, ginger, seasoned salt, and black pepper on the steaks, hoping a simpler steak seasoning would complement the brown butter and pine nuts well.

Now that the steaks were ready for searing (dry meat, high heat!), we started browning the butter and then toasting the pine nuts, finish off the hericots verts with some salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. While I tossed the beans, Jordan seared the steaks.



While they rested, we began serving up the veggie medley and hericots vert. For our last Sunday night dinner, we opened a bottle of one of our favorite old vine Zinfandel wines, a Black Saint Peter. It’s a bottle we first learned about from Jordan’s dad and after we enjoyed it, Jordan was able to find a few bottles in New York. We saved one for a special occasion and we thought it would pair well with the steaks. By now, they had finished resting and we were finally ready to eat. And the food did not disappoint!



 

In the end, we were extremely satisfied with our dinner‘s look and taste and even happier to get to spend our last weekend together doing something we’ve come to love. Looking back at some of our earlier attempts, we’ve definitely improved, especially with our presentation. Plus, things have gotten a lot easier in the kitchen as we’ve learned to work in sync. We’ve also tried to be more intentional with our menu planning and plating, figuring out where we can swap ingredients to add pops of color and using more fresh herbs and lemon zest to add both flavor and visual appeal.


As it turns out, being intentional works. You might have to be a little bit more creative, but in the end, you may just end up with something even better than you expected. Hopefully that means that with a little bit of intention, in a few months we’ll be able to see that the goodbyes and the see you laters have gotten easier over time as we practice choosing to be thankful for all the fun times we get to remember back on.




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