Gimme Some Oven

10 Things I’ve Learned: Cate

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It’s no secret that I love my neighbors. For these past two years that I’ve lived in downtown KC, they have made this place feel like no less than home. And one of the people I have most to thank for that is this great girl — Cate.

Cate was one of the first people I met when I moved to the River Market, and I have a hunch that many others can say the same. Everyone knows Cate!!! (And her fiance, her famous dog, and her extra-famous Photo Bus that can almost always be found nearby.)  Without a doubt, Cate is one of our neighborhood’s best connectors, never hesitating to introduce herself with that winning smile of hers, and naturally helping facilitate introductions between friends she thinks should meet. But Cate is also one of those people who takes the time to listen and be present and get to know people well, which why she is so well-loved as a photographer all over town and back at home at our neighborhood coffee shop. (Which we joke feels like our own Central Perk from Friends, where Cate is one of the people I somehow always cross paths with when I go to get my morning pour-over.)

Cate is also very much a citizen of the world, and invests a lot of time and heart in getting to know the places around her. Whether that’s spending two years serving with the Peace Corps in Moldova, traveling all over the country (and beyond) any chance she gets, working to meet and support all sorts of small business owners in Kansas City, or doing a hundred big and small things to help revitalize our own little River Market neighborhood, Cate has already left a pretty incredible legacy all over the world in just her 26 1/2 years. And at least for the past 2 years, she’s definitely made a pretty incredible impact on mine.

I realized recently that Cate is one of the few people in my life that I see pretty much every single day. Which means, she’s seen me on the good days, the bad days, the days when I do my hair, the days I don’t, and everywhere in between. :)  But whether that’s at the dog park, grilling out for our epic neighbor nights, lending each other photography gear in a pinch, hopping across the street for impromptu glasses of wine, making airport runs, or crossing paths over a thousand cups of coffee, I have to say that any time this girl always has a way of making my day a little better. Pretty darn grateful for her.

I also have to note that it’s also been pretty darn cool to watch Cate meet, fall in love and get engaged to one of our other awesome neighborhood photographers over the past year and a half — and it’s all thanks to a VW bus! Seriously, before you read the article below, I highly recommend taking a few minutes to watch this great video about Cate and John’s love story and the new Kickstarter project they’ve launched to help support their amazing Photo Bus. (And consider supporting — you know you’d love one of those t-shirts!)  Can’t wait to cheer them on as they tie the knot soon!

Anyway, all that to say, Cate’s pretty great. And here is what she has learned.

I’ve Learned…

1. Relationships are seasonal

I’ve always had a hard time letting go of people in my life, whether I met them for two minutes or we were friends for two years. As I struggled through a break up and the end of my two years of life in Moldova someone said to me, “Catiusa, people come and go in your life as you need them in your life. Sometimes you need them and sometimes they need you. When it’s time to let them go, let them go because what needed to be done was done and the memory will stay if it’s supposed to be there.” People need to meet but they don’t necessarily need to stay. This thought was so freeing to me.

2. Always give a good handshake, even if you have clammy hands

I can’t even recall the situation now but at some point when I was growing up my dad told me how important a good handshake is when meeting new people. It makes a good impression and can even cause you to stand out in a crowd. I have very clammy hands and they become even more clammy when I know I am about to shake a hand but I am pretty sure it’s not as noticed based on their response of, “Wow, you have a great handshake”. But then again, that’s the polite way to get around “ew, your hands are sweaty”.

3. Not everybody loves to travel

I don’t really know where it came from, but somehow I got injected with travel bug. I wanted to see the world, which is why majored in French and then joined the Peace Corps. But along my journey I encountered many people who haven’t gone much further than their hometown, nor do they have any desire to. It took me a long time to stop trying to convince them they needed to see the world, or at least the capital. They don’t like leaving the comfort of their own home, and I get antsy when I’m in one place for “too long”. It’s ok.

4. Grape flavor comes from grapes

Grape lollipops and candies have always been my least favorite. All summer long I’d eat grapes by the pool and I loved them but I could never wrap my head around the reason why the candies tasted nothing like the fruit I loved so much. Well, while walking to school in the fall on day in Moldova my partner teacher took a deep breath and smiled saying she could smell the grapes. Unfortunately I couldn’t… until my students took me on a walk and gave me grapes straight off a neighbors vine. And now I get it where the flavor comes from: fresh, organic, sweet, grapes. Mind blown.

5. Give a hug or a smile

I’m sure you’ve seen them… those people crying in the car next to you or crying at the airport, or even sitting alone at a coffee shop or restaurant and staring in to space. They could have just lost a loved one or a job or maybe they just had a really bad day. I’ve been there and sometimes all I needed was a big hug or a smile to lift my spirits just a couple notches. I don’t think I’m the only one!

6. Whether you absolutely love or absolutely despise Mac-n-cheese, ketchup makes it taste better.

I promise.

7. If asked for your opinion, give it, then drop it, unless asked for it again.

My dad gave me this advice as he watched John and I go back and forth over a purchase John wanted to make which I thought was rather silly. We spent three entire days going back to this store for a pair of shoes he wanted and I thought he didn’t need. While he knew my opinion of the shoes he still kept asking for it. So my dad politely butted in and gave us this advice because ultimately he knew John was going to buy the shoes no matter what but he also knew John was waiting for me to cave and say yes. So, I dropped it, he bought the shoes, and he has worn them every day for over a month.

8. Piercings leave scars

Piercings can be great. But they definitely leave scars physically, and potentially emotionally if done for the wrong reasons. For example, at age 21 I went against my dad’s wishes and pierced my nose and then my lip within a week of each other in hopes of getting attention and “fitting in”. When I went home from college that following weekend my dad saw what I had done and was so disappointed that he didn’t talk to me for two weeks. (We talked EVERY day so this was weird). Six months later I realized that wasn’t me and I took them out. The nose healed fine, and my dad and I are totally fine now. But I still have a scar under my lower lip from the piercing, which will always remind me of the time I disappointed my dad.

9. Not everything needs to be photographed

I’ve been to many places lugging my camera with me and I’ve captured many “moments” on my iPhone. Do you know which memories have stuck with me the longest? The memories where I put those electronics away and watched the moment happen with my full attention… soaking it all in so I hopefully don’t forget it.

10. Dreams can change

When I was in 1st grade I wanted to be a teacher. At 15 I wanted to be an artist living in a super urban loft in downtown Kansas City. In 11th dream to living in a loft in downtown Austin, working as a lawyer, and driving a midnight blue Corvette convertible. At 23 all I dreamed of was happiness and having a permanent home. Clearly different times in my life meant different things yet every new day and every new dream meant new roads to take and new dreams to be made or old ones to be altered. Often I struggled with the change of a dream because I thought it was “giving up”. Of course that’s not the case and it’s funny how things work out sometimes. Due to all of these dreams (and every single one in between from married and kids at 22 to a photo journalist traveling the world) I’m exactly where I’ve always hoped I would be: living in a super urban loft in downtown Kansas City with my incredibly loving fiancé, working as a photographer and running a business in old VW buses, a great group of friends, the best dog ever, and driving a blue Mini Cooper Convertible. Life is great.

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3 comments on “10 Things I’ve Learned: Cate”

  1. Number 3 is so true!!!! I have the traveling gene (hence I studied hospitality and tourism in college) but my mom and middle sister do not. We always joke about it because they think I’m crazy when I say that I have to get my travel fix!! LOVE THIS POST!! Also, the engagement video made me cry. Don’t judge me. :)

    • Thanks so much, Liz! My sister is the same way. We are twins but SO opposite of each other! She doesn’t have the itch to explore the world like I do.