Waking up to find my Facebook and Twitter feed full of the heartbreaking news of the terrifying shootings in Kalamazoo, MI last night has my mind full of Southwest Michigan memories. I spent five years in Kzoo where I finished my bachelor's degree, had amazing times with friends, and worked for some great local NPOs. It was 2012 the last time I visited the warm, artsy, and university-filled city to see friends and visit my favorite spots.
I was lucky to avoid any memorable food allergy mishaps during my years in Kalamazoo. There were several places where I dined regularly. Food Dance, Bell's, Crow's Nest, London Grill, Kraftbrau, The Big Burrito, and Bilbo's. I had great friends there who looked out for me and my allergies, some friends who I met while living there and some who I had known almost my whole life.
Being that we were all college students or recent graduates, there were also a lot of meals at each other's homes. During my time in Kalamazoo, I had fewer allergies (as I continue to develop new ones as I get older) and I was not as vigilant as I am now. When joining a meal at a friend's house, sometimes I wouldn't even mention my allergies, so perhaps it was just luck that kept me away from severe reactions.
Unfortunately, many folks today are feeling far less than lucky due to losing a friend, neighbor or family member to last night's senseless violence. The veil of sadness so many of us will wear today reminds all of us to love one another. Sending all my love to my Kzoo family! And please remember, it is a community with a beautiful resource, Gryphon Place. In times of crisis, they can help.