When you graduate from high school, you carry with you big dreams and a fanny pack of naivety. You tell your friends that you’ll remain close as always, and you can’t imagine a time when the people in your life aren’t in your life. Or, like leaving summer camp, where you exchange (postal) addresses and hysterically cry for who knows what reason, and you promise to be pen pals as Friends are Friends Forever (or Boyz II Men Yesterday) plays in the background. You just KNOW that you’ll stay BFFs. But, with time and after several rounds of goodbyes, you realize that life happens and distance separates. Even the best of friends. So, when I left Uganda, and hugged the necks of those I loved, I knew that this could be the last time I’d see their sweet faces. So, imagine my surprise when life afforded me the opportunity (okay, so maybe I created my own opportunities) to cross paths with some of the people who knew me during 2013.
My Ugandan-Irish sister, Hannah, was going to be traveling to Florida with her family in June for a wee holiday. Florida borders Georgia, how could I saw “no” to that?! So, I spent the loveliest weekend with her family swapping stories and laughs and sweet memories. It was so nice just to “be” with someone who had shared experiences. With whom I could talk about the struggles of being back. And the longing in my heart to return. She gets it. She gets it sooo much that she’s now returned to Uganda to serve until it’s time to go home. She quit her job, raised the funds, and is living love out loud until who knows when. She’s an incredible woman, and it’s been a blessing and a pleasure, watching her on this adventure.
When my the Howley’s mentioned that their home assignment may bring them to Asheville, NC for a conference, I very humbly sacrificed and offered to drive to meet them. I wasn’t sure if they’d end up any closer to me, so it was the least I could do. Sike! Asheville is only one of my favorite places in the whole wide world! With its cornucopia of restaurants and breweries. Its beautifully diverse culture, that quite literally, dances to the beat of their own drum circle. And it fits perfectly into the nook of the mountains!
My memories with the Howley family ranges from sweet moments with their 3 boys, to faithful and wise words from Aaron, to sweaty yoga and honest conversations with Bobbie. Each one of them holds such a special place in my heart, so I was thrilled that our paths could cross, for any amount of time. I will say, it wasn’t long enough. And it was a little surreal to be sitting with them. In America. But it just felt good. To be near. And to swap stories and prayer requests.
Plus, Asheville was our backdrop. And I was able to pair my Howley sighting with some precious time with another friend of mine, Lindsay. And, Lindsay is a friend who gets Asheville. And with whom I can have honest conversations about life and dating and God with, while sipping on a white russian-y love potion drink on the balcony at SkyBar discussing Terrence Trent Darby: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynIHsHYaig0. We all need that friend. And she is it for me.
And if being able to meet up with two friends from 2013 wasn’t enough, I will be boarding a flight to Colorado next week (10 more sleeps!) to spend a few days with my old roomie, Rose!!! One of my favorite people in another one of my favorite cities! Of everyone I met last year, she is the one that made it possible to not only live there, but to really enjoy living there. And I can not wait to be reunited with her. And to make new friend memories here in America.
Laura Capp….when are we gonna cross paths?!
PS. The end of the weekend, had an unexpected twist when my brother and I were invited to attend the Falcons/Bears fan with the one and only, Julie Jacobs Stanfield. She’s a good one. So is David. And I just consider myself really lucky to be in their company.