I was never one to play BS games to get people to like me. If I couldn’t envision a life-long friendship with someone, I usually just didn’t bother. And while I cannot say that this path has led me to a great quantity of friends, I would venture to say that I have found some of the most wonderful people in the world, and I am blessed (and proud) to be able to call them my friends. This post is a tribute to them!
I let this scholarship kind of sneak up on me. I was never really sure when I was going to be able to go and I sort of decided at the very last minute to leave at the beginning of March. Luckily, I was able to see one of my very best friends, my mom, before I left. She came out to California to visit my sister and me, and we had a great time together. She is Chinese and came out for Chinese New Year, and we had a big party and lots of delicious food. I am still recovering from all those fried sweet sesame balls! I am just so grateful that we were all able to spend some quality time together, and that her lovely boss Jocelyn let us steal her away from her work! It was the first time that she had been in San Francisco in years and years, and I would certainly say that we made the most of her visit! I hope it is the first of many, many more to come. I am lucky to have such an outstanding and beautiful mother, and I certainly don’t take our relationship for granted!
By some wonderful twist of fate, my sister and I both ended up in the Bay Area! We have always been close (we are only 16 months apart in age), but for the last few years we were on opposite sides of the planet: she was teaching in China and I was studying in Germany. Our move was completely unplanned, and now we live exactly seven minutes away from one another. I am now accustomed to seeing her nearly every day, and I can’t tell you how thankful I am for that. Just knowing that she is there if I need her makes me feel relieved and courageous. I am really going to miss seeing her bright smile, and all the craziness that her dog Pilau brings to the mix!
My boyfriend W has been so wonderful to me every step of the way. He kept me from going completely insane during that awful German winter, and has been nothing less than completely supportive. I never knew men like him actually existed, who don’t just want you to be happy and independent but do everything in their power to help you be the best person you can be. He is adventurous and spontaneous, and the very best boyfriend a girl could ask for. He has also given me the two most outrageous chocolate cakes I have ever had, one of which came all the way from Vienna, Austria. Tell me that he isn’t great! I am counting the days until he can come explore Italy with me at the end of my scholarship, especially since he has never been there before. We travel really well together, which is wonderful because we both love to see the world.
Andrew has been my best friend for nearly five years now! I cannot believe how time has flown. We met each other as sophomores in Italian class, and instantly hit it off. I will always remember the first day we met, walking home after class together. We lived in the same dorm on the same floor, and we stood outside on the balcony for at least an hour, just not wanting to end our conversation. We were two of only five Classics majors, and spent countless hours reading Greek and Latin aloud to one another. I got most spoiled my senior year, when we saw each other literally every single day. We would go for a walk or get coffee or study together… every moment I realized the mortality of our time together, yet every moment I was just so thankful to have found such an amazing and generous person to pass the time with. We have continued to visit with each other in the most exciting of places (Istanbul, for example), and I hope that is a tradition that we can keep alive.
More recently, I have made friends with some of our neighbors, Beth and Brian. They live one floor below us in our apartment building, which is funny if you consider the fact that Brian and W were good friends in high school. They both played football and rowed crew, and it is nice that they are back in touch. Brian has found this lovely young woman, Beth, and was smart enough to snatch her up and marry her! Though we have not known each other for a long time, sometimes people come into your life and you just know that you are meant to be friends. The last few months have been a flurry of delicious dinners, cookies, cakes, movies, and entertaining television programs. They also threw me a good-bye dinner (the banner posted above was plastered to their door and coffee table), which I will remember for the rest of my life (in spite of all the margaritas and wine!). I will miss their brightness and sincerity.
There are many more people in my life whom I love and cherish. You know who you are, and I am thankful every single day for the friends and family who have supported me throughout my life. I hope you all know how much I love you, and that you will be in touch as I brave the big world out there (again)!