A Reflection of My Life after living in Uganda as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Ones We Grow With

I met Sarah as a kindergardener on the school bus. She refused to sit in a seat that I occupied and if it was the only seat available she would sit at the very edge and tremble. With her over-active imagination, she had convinced herself I was an leprechaun. Of course, I didn't learn this for years. I just thought she was weird. Somewhere in middle school we became friends and began the long windy journey of friendship.

I met Ashley in middle school. We were in the same 6th grade class but she was dating the boy I liked so she was my enemy. One day at a kickball match Joey, the hot stud of 6th grade and Ashley's boyfriend, cried when Ashley kicked a homerun against his team. She dumped him there and I thought she was great. It was there our respect, appreciation and love began for one another.

Many years later the three of us have survived extreme crushes, mullet haircuts, perms, no-shower sprees, family sadness, learning to drive, youth group, graduation (HS and College!), summers at camp, new family members, tennis practice, cooking Mexican dishes, sleep-overs, long walks, long-distance phone calls, overseas trips, living in different countries (Canada, Guatemala, England, Uganda), getting married, buying a house and getting new jobs. While we spent the first 7 years of our friendship nearly inseperable and living within 20 miles of each other, the last 8 years have often times been thousands of miles away from each other. Through the distance our friendship has changed with the ebb and flow of our different lives. Some of our dreams have changed while some have been realized. We continue to be there for one another as our lives go on independantly through phone calls, e-mails and dinner dates when we happen to be in the same state.

Sarah was the first to leave the country spending part of a summer in Panama while we were in high school. She was the first to fall in love with flannel. Sarah was the first to play singles instead of doubles in tennis. She was the first to introduce us to old movies. She was the first (and only) to get malaria while traveling around on a medical ship in West Africa. She was the first to get married. In some regards, Sarah has been a real trailblazer in our friendship. Now, she is the first to have a baby (and squat while having one! yay!).

Ashley and I flew out to Spokane where we rented a car and drove through the beautiful mountains, valleys and over the rivers of Washington, Idaho and Montana to get to a little place in the middle of no-where Montana to visit Sarah, Jeremy and the new little Adelynn. The drive was breathtaking and I kept stopping the car, much to Ashley's amusement, to take pictures of the snowcapped mountains, glittering streams and old steal bridges. I kept hoping a steam engine train would click along next to us on one side while some wild bison munched in the valley on the other side and then as we turned the bend I hoped to see some fly fishermen out casting their lines. It didn't happen but I was still happy with this drive.

We arrived in the evening which was still bright with Northern summer light to be greeted by Jeremy, Sarah and Adelynn. Adelynn is the sweetest 3 week old baby girl. I, a sucker for babies, cannot stop holding her and being amazed with her little yet long fingers, smooth thin baby skin and hiccups that shakers her whole little body. I get excited to pick out her clothes in the morning, burp her after she's eaten and speak to her in a language she'll never remember. It's also been really fun to see Jeremy and Sarah in their new role as parents. They are doing such a great job. They seem very comfortable in this role and very proud, as they should be.

So as we sit around sharing life, passing the baby around, playing board games, making flautas and eating huckleberry ice-cream (it is Montana afterall) our friendship has grown once more in a new direction. We're learning how to be friends with a mom; how to be friends with a pregnant career woman; and how to be friends with a newly laid-back, indecisive Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. I'll let you guess who is who.

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