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To surprises and friends

Most of us grow up and have a best friend in elementary school. Sometimes that friendship carries you through junior high and maybe, if you’re lucky, into high school. When you get into college, it becomes a whole different ball game. Maybe you’ve been lucky enough to stay in touch with your friends from your former life, and maybe you started over all together. I’ve been lucky. I’ve been able to remain good friends with my peeps from my former life, while making friends in each chapter of my life thus far.

Then you have the friend that you meet that when your soul looks at that other person, they’re like, “Oh hey! S’up, yo?!?” You find that his or her quirks, while different, mesh with yours without creating discord. You realize that they’re the type of friend that you would defend no matter what and even though you’ve managed to throw up all over their hallway after a long night of drinking, they still love you.

When you graduate college, you marry your respective spouses and then life happens. It drags you to different corners of the world and you go in directions that sometimes seem opposite of each other. You try your hardest to stay true, but then distance and misunderstanding jump in and you find your friendship in a timeout. You wonder about your friend and hope that life is good for them. A few years go by and social media is blossoming (yes, I’m *that* old), you happen to find each other again. You hash out your differences and find that your friend missed you just as much as you missed them. You pick up where you left off, without the awkwardness like it was just yesterday. Because she’s like your sister, it just seems natural.

Sparky is my bestie. We’ve been through all the above. We live over 5,000 miles from each other on opposite ends of the globe. We were lucky enough to be able to spend a year near each other when her company essentially deployed her to Hawaii. Yes, friends, the amount of shenanigans that ensued were amazing. This summer, I had planned on visiting her on her home turf. Since I managed to score a pretty sweet job, I realized that my summer plans were not going to materialize as I had hoped. I wouldn’t be able to take the amount of time off necessary and wouldn’t be able to make it.

Sparky is a super “smaht” kid. She busted her tail to complete her master’s degree through the Harvard Extension School. She finished it this past November and like any sane and rational person that earns a degree from Harvard, she chose to participate in commencement. Since I was bummed that I couldn’t make it this summer to visit, Husband came up with a brilliant idea: why not surprise her for graduation? Boston is a good halfway point between Germany and the West Coast and the ticket prices were actually really decent. I emailed Brain (her husband) and asked her if it would be okay if I crashed the party. He responded with a resounding yes and said that his lips would be sealed. I booked the tickets, booked the lodging and voila! I was set to go.

I know I mentioned this in a previous post, but I totally suck at surprises. Especially when I’m the one that has to try to pull off the surprise. To this day, I’m still shocked that we were able to keep it on the down low as much as we did. I flew in, surprised her at dinner and spent the week in Boston with her and her family. It was fantastic and I am so incredibly proud of her.

I know that this isn’t really my usual travel post, and it’s not meant to be. Sparky told me that she didn’t ever think I’d be there because it just wasn’t on her scope of possibility. To me, when it comes to my friends that are family, as well as my family, possibility is infinite. The life that Husband and I chose constantly and consistently takes us away from our loved ones and forces us to forge our own path. But it’s important to remember that surprises are important. Family and friends are important. I am who I am today because of my friendship and sisterhood with Sparky. To me, there was no other place that I wanted to be.

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