Back in October, as my time in the United States was drawing to a close, I decided to swing by Washington, D.C. before heading to New York for my flight to Canada. Sure, this was partly guided by my desire to catch up with Lauren and eat chocolate, but there were two other drawcards calling my name with irresistible power.
Firstly, I remain eternally hopeful that The West Wing is real and, any day now, I’m going to receive a phone call from Jed Bartlet or Leo McGarry inviting me to The White House to banter, write speeches, and participate in Big Block of Cheese Days with the entire cast staff forevermore.
Secondly, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend time with my spectacular, inspiring, and soul-affirming friend, the gorgeous and glorious Gena.
When I think of Gena, I think of strength, intelligence, conscientiousness, brilliance, enticing meals and snacks, fortitude (I know this is synonymous with strength, but Gena deserves such a word twice), honesty, a dazzling smile, and a wealth of other wonderful, positive descriptors.
In other words, Gena is an utter champion of wonderment, radiance, and inspiration, and I’m honoured that she allowed me to steal her away from her busy schedule for lunch twice in one week.
Where else could we have gone for our packed-full-of-deliciousness and heart-sharing-laughter-erupting-soul-understanding lunches that sweetgreen, where the juices Gena helped create, sweetpress, are proudly on show?
With a cornucopia of fresh, vibrant, and alluring salad options on display at every sweetgreen, I followed Gena’s lead (that’s her salad, above) and devised a creation of my own encompassing kale, romaine, all kinds of vegetables, marinated tofu, and the newest love of my life, hearts of palm.
Upon meeting for our second lunch adventure, Gena treated me to the sweetpress juice Purify, which contains apple, kale, spinach, cucumber, lemon, and ginger. I loved it.
Swapping out the tofu for chickpeas, and opting for mesclun and kale instead of romaine, my second sweetgreen salad was even more refreshing and satisfying than the first.
Yet no matter how fantastic sweetgreen’s salads and juices may be, nothing about them could ever be as nourishing to my soul, nor as capable of filling me with glee/comfort/courage/awe/self-belief/joy, as Gena herself, who is everything you could imagine her to be and more.
Gena inspires me to not only hope for, but work towards, a more resplendent life. She is living proof that it is through taking soaring leaps that the goals we fear to be unattainable are proven to be the very opposite. Gena, thank you. For the strength that comes from discovering and discussing shared beliefs and values, for all the giggles and deepdeep laughs we burst forth with, and for simply being you-magical-you.
P.S. Gena wrote up our lunches together here.