One of the best things about the age we live in is the ability to connect with people from all over the world. Within seconds, and at a moment’s notice, I can talk with (and see!) a team member in Malaysia or a friend in Spain or the UK. Gone are the sterile four walls of an office. In their place, an ongoing stream of new people, varied cultures, and budding friendships. Maybe that’s why it took me by surprise when one friendship, in particular, was found right in my own backyard.
Susan Rooks and I had our first Zoom call in early 2021. We were introduced by Simon Lever a year prior, but we didn’t start interacting in earnest until I became a fellow BizCatalyst 360° Contributor. I remember our first call—the easy flow of the conversation, stories of our New England upbringings, sharing about our businesses and personal lives, pets…I can’t remember exactly what was said, but I can remember how I felt.
Susan has a big, boisterous, and fun energy. I liked her immediately. As someone who’s sensitive to energy, I often gauge how I feel after a call with someone new. Am I energized or drained? After talking with Susan, I was energized and I heard a loud “hell yes!” from my Soul. Months went by and we didn’t have another Zoom call. But occasionally we’d comment on one another’s posts.
Then, last week, on a whim I suggested that we get together. On our initial Zoom call, Susan had described where she lived in Buzzard’s Bay as her “little slice of heaven.” Anyone from Massachusetts will tell you that driving anywhere near Cape Cod in the summer is NOT a slice of heaven. Now that the unofficial end of summer had come and gone, I figured it was safe to make plans. Susan seemed just as excited as I was to meet in person. On the morning I was supposed to head to her house, Susan texted to let me know that the weather in Buzzard’s Bay was extremely foggy, i.e., not the best day to visit. Fortunately, we were both free for the following day.
Turns out, postponing the visit by one day was a really good decision. I awoke to a perfect morning—low 70s, dry, and sunny. The sky was a brilliant blue. I had a low-level stress about the hour and a half drive, wondering if everyone would be heading to the Cape to enjoy the nice weather. I said a quick prayer to Archangel Michael, my go-to angel for trips saying, “Please let this be a safe and easy trip.” Off I went, sailing down each highway and arriving at Susan’s house fifteen minutes early. Thanks, Archangel Michael!
Prior to our visit, Susan had instructed me to call her when I pulled onto her street. She could then direct me on where to park. I learned quickly that parking in her little neighborhood was at a premium, but the perfect spot awaited me. “Thanks again, Archangel Michael!” I chuckled. I got out of the car and Susan and I hugged like old friends.
We began walking to her house and I immediately fell in love with her neighborhood. Dozens of the prettiest little houses line the narrow, winding streets.
Each house is unique, charming, and welcoming. I felt as though I were walking through a picture postcard. Susan happily pointed to houses along the way, informing me of who lived in the community full-time and who lived there seasonally. Having spent all my summers on the water, I’m very familiar with the dynamic of “summer people” and “year-rounders.”
A senior yellow Labrador retriever peered at us lazily from a neighbor’s deck. Susan informed me that the dog’s name is Amber and that’s she’s one of the sweetest dogs in the neighborhood. I had no doubt and let out an excited, “Hi Amber!” Amber wasn’t as impressed with me, but considering I had just interrupted her lovely morning nap, who could blame her?
Susan’s house is, in a word, adorable—inside and out. I followed as Susan opened the gate to the white picket fence lining the front of the house. Her front door is painted the most inviting shade of turquoise blue. I felt excited, but I wasn’t sure why. When I entered the house, my senses went into overload. I must have said “Oh my God! I love this!” at least ten times in the first five minutes. I’m not exaggerating when I say that every inch of the house is lovingly decorated. Everywhere you look there’s a beautiful painting or a whimsical figurine with an interesting back story. I was enchanted.
Susan explained that she had waited an entire year after buying the place before deciding how she wanted to design the space. She sat with the space and figured out what she wanted and what would work for her. I love the idea of getting to know a space before plunking down all your things. It certainly paid off because the result is a home that’s cozy and welcoming, but also highly functional.
I was encouraged to explore. The kitchen is gorgeous with white cabinetry and countertops, balanced by serene turquoise walls. Sunlight pours in, making the space airy, bright, and cheery. There’s a nook off the kitchen where Susan created an office space. The living room flows from the kitchen, filled with items that evoke special memories. There is nothing cookie-cutter about anything in Susan’s home. It was like walking through a miniature museum, the exhibit showcasing beloved items from Susan’s life.
A lovely bedroom is nestled in a larger nook to the right of the living room. I was immediately drawn to two large, colorful paintings on the bedroom walls. Susan explained that her aunt had painted them years ago. They look so modern and fresh. I coveted them immediately. Beyond the living room is a sunporch of sorts. As I mentioned, it was a picture-perfect day and sunlight streamed into the room. From this part of the house, you get a magnificent view of the water.
I was in heaven. Seriously, when I visualize places I would like to live or what my dream home would look like, I don’t picture mansions or acres of land. I couldn’t get over how closely Susan’s house matched my visualizations. I don’t think I stopped gushing the entire time I was there. I felt happy that she had found the perfect place to call home.
We decided to take a walk around the neighborhood. Susan put her two adorable rescue pups on leashes, donned a baseball cap, and we were off! My body was flooded with good-feeling hormones as we made our way down her street. Each house boasts a different attraction. Some have lush gardens, others beautiful decks or patios. Many of the houses have whimsical signs, many with a nautical theme, others adorned with dragonflies, sunflowers, or a word or phrase. They are all so charming and Susan knows the history of each and every one.
As we made our way through the streets and pathways, Susan introduced me to her friends. Everyone was so friendly and I felt completely at ease—not always an easy feat for this introvert! When we arrived at the private beach, I took a deep, cleansing breath. The view looked so similar to the one I grew up with. Cormorants balanced atop buoys as boats floated nearby. It was magical and once again it became crystal clear why Susan refers to her home as her “little slice of heaven.”
My visit with Susan was exactly what my Soul needed.
Later, Susan treated me to lunch. Naturally, I ordered fish & chips and scarfed down every morsel. When we got back to the house, we took one more quick walk to the beach. Then I thanked Susan for a perfect day and headed home. Once again, the drive was effortless. I came home filled with gratitude and joyful expectation about what was to come in my own life. My visit with Susan was exactly what my Soul needed. Funny thing is, we hadn’t planned this visit weeks in advance. It was decided on a whim and Susan and I, along with the Universe, co-created a perfect day, letting each moment unfold easily, effortlessly, and without an agenda.
These same sentiments can be used to describe my friendship with Susan: easy, effortless, and without an agenda. Thank you, Susan, for your time and hospitality. I look forward to our next adventure!