Bad at Goodbyes

My introverted attitudes might sometimes disagree with me, because I love experiencing people. Not bumping into everyone in a crowd, not trying to tune out the mindless chatter on the bus. But exploring people. Seeing more of who they are.

I recently went to Florida with some close friends and some acquaintances, and I was definitely given a glimpse into their lives. I think my favorite was Harry.

I’ve known Harry since he was in 8th grade and I was in 11th (SSL). He was one of my favorites in that class – we bonded over music. He came to work at the cup a few years ago, and I was so thrilled to see him I think he was scared. Ever since then we haven’t really had much of a conversation, though he seamlessly melded into (and possibly took over) the friend group.

He’s a kind soul. Very crazy, a little weird, but quite a gentleman. While we shared jokes and stories while waiting in line for rides, I think we were both kind of surprised to see how much we enjoyed each other’s company. Which was good news since we were the only two trying to catch a flight home on Sunday, and who knew how long we’d be trapped at the airport together.

The conversation was awkward and a little forced at first, flowing later on. Every time I pick up my (Trevor’s) Game of Thrones book, I think of him. He told me how he’s a voracious reader, how he would sit for six hours just reading. I told him that I couldn’t even do that.

He said “yeah, I would just chill under a tree and read for the day, it’s the best.” And that struck me as odd, almost too romantic for the categories in which I had placed him. It was beautiful, I loved it. Here was this crazy boy who loved headbanging, mosh pits, and metal music… and I could picture him sprawled under a tree on a hot summer day, consumed in a book. It was nice.

There are so many things I don’t know about people. Strangers, my family, my friends. Experiencing them.

The conversation came easily afterward, and the woman at the ticket counter moved people around so that we could catch the 8:40 flight home together. He let me have the window seat even though he moved through the aisles ahead of me (I told you, a gentleman), and I caught him staring past me out the window to see the beautiful glow of the city lights as they webbed their way across the dark expanse of earth below us.

As a fellow romantic, it was really nice to see that side of Harry.

***

Lauren and I talked the weekend before, just sharing life and the warm spring sunshine in makeshift chairs on her front porch. She asked me what exactly it was that I wanted in a boyfriend, and I couldn’t tell her… because I couldn’t tell you what it is myself.

But a piece of advice struck me recently. “Wait for the man that makes you want to be in a relationship.” Had I read that a year ago, I would have interpreted that as “don’t get into a relationship if you think you’re just going to cheat anyway.” Fair, and some people probably still read it that way. Maybe the author intended it that way.

Recently, ever guy that’s shown an interest in me has made me uncomfortable. I just want to avoid it or them. It almost makes me sick, and I wasn’t sure if that was my intuition or nervousness or social anxiety. Maybe all three.

But then I saw that quote, and I thought “maybe someone will come along one day and when they show interest I won’t shy away. I’ll think this is right, this is natural, this is what I want. And that’s what it will mean to wait for a man who makes you want to be in a relationship.” I won’t be tired. I’ll be ready. And that was a nice hope to hang on to.

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Clustered Tulips

It’s late night dance parties in your studio,

Early morning kisses in your attic,

Getting locked outside in your clothes,

Talking to your mom as if I were here every morning.

Every little bit makes it harder to let go.

*   *   *

You found out she got married this weekend. In a little black dress at the county courthouse, with the brightest smile you hadn’t seen in years. My heart broke for you as I felt your last thread of hope peeling away. It was so subtle, with the impact of a guillotine. What could you do about it? She is not yours. You’re not sure she ever was, but maybe that’s what kept you on your toes.

So what did we do? We got drunk. I was excited to see my friends, some unusual faces in the crowd. I think you were torn between distraction and numbing. I got you to dance, but that’s the best I could do.

We slumped up the stairs, falling back to our puzzle piece rhythm. And my own misery couldn’t hold it in any longer. I asked you about it. I asked if you were okay.

In those moments, I feel like your friend. One that just wants you to be happy, to be okay. That one that’s empathetic because she’s been hurting too, one that shares your pain because it’s all she knows how to do, how to comfort, how to react. You talked, your voice plain, and I asked more, careful questions. In those moments we know each other. In those moments you find solace of your loneliness with my head on your chest and your arms around me. You find a love that you don’t know how to hang on to, and you’re too tired to try. I am too.

Like probably every other girl that’s tried, I want to fix you. I want to love all your broken pieces back together. Save you from your past, from your loyalty, your first love. And like every other girl that’s tried, I can’t.

*   *   *

I had a really great time visiting home this weekend. Work was hectic and annoying but we made it through as usual. Any motivation for free alcohol right?

I live for the nights that I can connect with people. As someone who has been introverted (and extremely shy) her entire life, relating to people and connecting to people through conversation is very inspiring and fulfilling to me. Some of them were my coworkers, and some my own family members.

I woke up to his kisses Friday morning, somehow made it through the entire day on four hours of sleep.

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Saturday I was well rested (he was gone), so I hiked by myself through Harper’s Ferry. Though the inclines were incredibly steep, especially with a 10lb weight in my backpack to help condition, it was probably my most rewarding hike. I had time for myself, to do and think about what I wanted, not worry about keeping up a conversation (I probably wouldn’t have been able to anyway). The view was spectacular as I watched birds swirl high above me, heard the train rustle below, the river to my right. It was incredibly peaceful, and it made me excited for my trip. It was also the first time my legs had been so sore in a while, and it made me feel so alive, that I was heading in the right direction, that the plateau was over.

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I spent the afternoon sanding a breadbox, of all things. At first it was stressful and annoying, time-consuming. But as usual once I slowed down I really actually enjoyed it. Working with my hands outside. Nothing but me and my thoughts. The more solitude I have, the more I realize I like myself. I’m not a perfect person, but I make myself happy, and I appreciate my own thoughts in a strange, cyclical way. img_0129.png

That night I went out with Kristen, Rosie, and Heather. Kyle owed me some drinks so he gave me a good amount of patron for free (love it). I didn’t get to spend as much time with Heather as I wanted, but I got to spend some time with Rosie that I think she needed. I don’t think she has a great outlet, and she deals with a lot of shit in her life. She’s such a sweet person that just wants love, and she definitely deserves it. She doesn’t get enough from some of the places she should… lots of heart to hearts. Like I said, I love connecting with people.

Sunday was a day with the family. Lauren’s absence was noticeable, and I don’t think I filled the space to its entirety, but I think it was good enough.

Something that I recently admitted to my mom is that I think the Main Cup is the only place in which I have felt truly celebrated, and that was kind of a tough thought to accept. I have always had an immense love for my family, and like I said I’ve always grown up kind of in someone’s shadow without it really bothering me. I don’t need to be center of attention all the time, I just like appreciation.

I shared with mom that I’ve always been in the shadow of my sister, through no one’s fault. I’ve just always been quiet and reserved and she has fit in better with the extroverted side of the family. Most of the time when Lauren’s missing from family events, the first question I get is “where’s your sister?” like I’m not good enough to entertain them in the same way.

I don’t want to paint a woe-is-me story about my life, because I have been blessed in so many ways. I’m just saying it’s not always fun to grow up in someone’s shadow.

But Main Cup has been different for me. I’m a different person. I’m more confident because I’ve learned that people like me for me, that they give me a chance because they want to, not because they know my sister. That they aren’t comparing me to her, let down when I’m not as outgoing. It’s given me a sense of self. Of finding who I am with fewer influences.

I love my sister. But I’m happy to be discovering who I am on my own. Why I love me. Why others do too.

Love

 

 

Bartops, Grief, and Good Karma

All I want is to be at the Main Cup tomorrow night for jazz night. Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Joe Bonamassa, and it just makes me want to go sit in on some live music that doesn’t require jumping, headbanging, or trying to impress anyone with my dancing. I just want to drink a beer and chat with people while listening to good music. And, funny enough, as much as I hated working jazz nights before, some of my more profound, appreciative-of-life moments happen on jazz nights as the music settles down.

Imagine this: you’re finally off your feet after a few hours of non-stop going, you slide into that tall chair, slough the bag off your shoulder, and one of your coworkers gives you your drink for free. The bartenders are very appreciative of the work you do, they give you a smile, try to make sure you’re okay and not exhausted, even though they still have another hour or so of work ahead of them. You have a sip of your drink, pull out your phone, and start to relax. In the background, the guitar is vibing to the constant rhythm of the drums, and you find yourself absentmindedly tapping your feet against the bar’s footrest. You look up, glance around at the buzz around you, the old regulars laughing, most of them already drunk, none of them paying attention to you (and you prefer it that way most of the time). The lights are a soothing yellow, Christmas lights still dangling from the beams. It’s cold outside, but you don’t have to worry about that yet. You wait for your coworkers to get off so they can join you, and you know they will. You don’t know what you’ll do tonight, if anything, but something almost always happens, be it heading to Bower’s or to another bar. You’re on the younger side of those who will join you, a fresh 21, but your coworkers don’t care. They include you on invitations to continue the party at their houses, tucked into the mountains 15 minutes away. Some of your favorite coworkers are in their thirties and have children, but they make time for you, they enjoy talking to you, and you can open up to them. They’re like mentors, not parents, but also friends. The whole scene is blissful.

That’s what I get to look forward to when I’m home. I like to romanticize, sure, but I think it helps me to be an appreciative person, to take in the little things, to notice and love them. I think that’s why I’ve been having such a good bout of karma recently, and I find it easier to smile at the sky, like my arms are so light I just want to reach to the clouds in celebration of being alive, of basking in a humid, cloudy day in March. I wouldn’t say I’ve found a vigor for life, but I’ve found an appreciation.

I will say, that bar held a couple important nights for me. Obviously, my first shift drink for turning 21. It’s where I “snuck” beer from Cliff during the Christmas party in an attempt to stay drunk (succeeded), it’s where I’ve made some of my closest friends, where I’ve networked many of my relationships. It’s where I’ve gained confidence in myself, in my communication skills. I’ve learned a lot about myself, about my coworkers, all around that bar.

I don’t mean for this to turn sad, but there’s something I’ve been reflecting on a lot lately that I feel I need to share, but I don’t know who to turn to. I know that whoever I told would be sad and sympathetic without knowing what to say, which is fine, that’s all I could ask of them. I just want to express it so someone will understand.

Another few important moments that happened at Main Cup included my cats. When we had to put my first cat down, on Thursday, October 2, 2014, I had to work almost immediately after – not a smart move on my end. I remember holding my little boy against my chest and just sobbing while my dad dug the grave. I have never cried this way in my life – not during movies, not when my sister left for college, not when I was cheated on. It was just bone-shakingly sad.

After we buried him, I went to work, trying not to cry. It was the first death I’d ever really had to deal with, and it was the cat I’d had since as long as I could remember (I was only a few months old when we got him), and he was mine. We bonded, he always slept with me, it was so sweet. My coworkers were nothing but sympathetic, and I think my being teary-eyed freaked them out a little because I never show that much emotion, or if I do it’s always happy. It was hard to go through, and I think part of me will always be with him, but it was nice to have my Main Cup family there.

This past September, my other cat passed away fairly unexpectedly. She was old, I think she got bit by something, and it was a long, painstaking ride for her. She seemed like she might pull through, but her meows were just haunting. I was headed home from college that Thursday to work and see her, help her if I could, be there if she passed.

Mom called me on my way home to tell me that she had passed the night before. It was such a dagger to the heart. She couldn’t have waited another day for me to be there. For me, it wasn’t selfishness; I was beside myself with the grief that I hadn’t been able to be with her when she went, as I was for my first cat. It still upsets me that she died alone, that I couldn’t be there.

So I went to work, plastered a smile on my face, tried not to think about it, tried not to cry when my coworkers gave me their sympathy hugs. It worked better than the first time. At the end of the shift, I sat at the bar and tried to put some of my feelings into a Facebook post, I think I may have also written about it on here somewhere, but I also didn’t want to be sobbing at the bar by myself while I waited for everyone else. My friends came and sat with me, and I forgot about it for a little while. They wanted to go out, and I just couldn’t put it off any longer – I needed to see my little girl.

I went home, tired from the shift, from the week, from crying in the car. The house was dark and quiet. I hung up my things, kicked off my shoes, and made my descent into the basement, where Mom told me she had wrapped the little one up in a blanket. I flicked on the lights, caught between feeling anxious and at peace (strangely enough). I think I was scared of seeing her.

I peeled back the blanket, and there she was, my best little girl, 16 years old. And I just sobbed again, silently this time. I couldn’t pick her up yet, so I just petted her, her body already cold and stiff. Cursing myself for not being able to be there for her in her final moments. I needed her to know she was loved. That I would miss her sleeping on my outstretched arms as her awkward sign of affection. It was nice to have that private moment. I found it beautiful and meaningful, no matter how much grief filled the air.

Now, with no pets, I feel like my Main Cup family is what I really have to look forward to when I return home. I’m blessed to have them in my life, to have their love and support.

Thank you for sharing such a personal moment with me. It’s cathartic for me to talk about it, to acknowledge the beauty. And this is just a casual reminder that if you are going to put your pets down, please for the love of god stay with them and let them know how much you love them.

Emanating love

 

Bottled

You’d think for a 21-year-old still in college, my tolerance would be more impressive than it is. One glass of wine and I feel my head swimming, shoulders relaxing, head nodding off. It’s close to the end of the semester, and it has by no means been easy, but this week hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. Maybe I’m staying ahead of my classes, but something is telling me to keep going, that within the next few weeks something unexpected will come up that will require a lot of time and attention, that will stress me out.

But for now I’m just looking forward to Thanksgiving Break. It’s barely a break. Again I am faced with having too many people to see and not enough time to see them, which is more a blessing than a problem. My schedule is already so jam-packed with seeing friends and family that I don’t have time to work! Ryan and I will finally be reunited and have a chance to head to the bars together (milestones!!), Thanksgiving with the Anderson’s is guaranteed to take up all my time and energy Thursday, and Ryan and I are going to see a Caps game that Friday (my first, and I’m so excited that I actually had a dream about it last night!). Saturday will be another family day, and hopefully one much-needed.

Between my own struggles, my mom’s struggles, and my sister’s struggles, I ache to just have those normal moments again. When no one is too sensitive or too tired. When no one is faking it. It’s all felt a bit brittle lately.

I’ve felt guilty for spending so much time with my friends instead of my family, but I’ve started to realize that it’s more so their distractions and positivity. Sometimes I feel the need to talk about it, and on those days I have a select few that I know I can lean on, but most of the time I’m looking for an escape from the negativity that occasionally invades my life. On those days, leaning on my goofiest friends is the best medicine, and I’m very thankful to have people in my life that are so happy being simple-minded (in a good way).

I say that I struggle, and some of my problems are no easy feat, but a lot of them are teeny tiny on this earth. Nothing some chocolate and a good glass of wine can’t fix.

Thank you for enabling my habit (be it writing or wining).

Dani

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Karmic Rabbits

I definitely have some kind of karmic energy around me, even if it doesn’t always work out for me. Although, that’s not surprising is it? Karma doesn’t bend at my will.

It pervades my love life in a cynical, almost sinister way. My only “official” boyfriends were each paid visits. What goes around comes around, and the lesson is bittersweet — I still wish the best for at least one of them (hi Chad!).

I’m concerned with what this could mean for a future relationship that’s been on my mind lately, someone I’d never before considered, someone I’d be devastated to lose. My impatience is getting the best of me, but hopefully my fear will help me be more apprehensive.

We still have some growing to do. I think it’s good that I can admit that to myself right? I still have some oats to sow, be it traveling, moving, self-exploration, etc. I can’t put a time stamp on it, which is a blessing and a curse. I always want to peek into the future and figure out what the hell is going to work out. But I’m learning to trust my intuition, which may or may not be good for the situation.

Unfortunately I have too much homework to really sit and reflect on it.

For now I’m just extremely grateful for the life I’m living. It’s not perfect, and there’s a lot going on. I just find it interesting that even on days I feel a cloud hanging over me, I can reflect on karmic events around me.

Thank you for listening to my ramblings. I admit I have felt a little alone lately, but alone time is good. It helps me concentrate in this busy time.

Now it’s time to unwind with Game of Thrones and a glass of wine.

Cheers!

Making It Right

I’m probably just going to start adding whatever music I listen to while I write these blogs.b6b4e185-fd16-4375-aaea-1d4bb43ab981

So life’s been busy between the end of the school year winding down and my new hobby as a writer for the Odyssey online.

I celebrated my sister’s birthday, had a questionable weekend at home the next weekend, and just celebrated my 21st this past weekend. I can’t believe it’s finally here! I no longer have to be nervous going out to the bars! It’s so freeing.

With the questionable weekends I’ve had, I have been doing a lot of soul searching, trying to figure out why I was doing somethings that were so unlike me. Of course, I still feel a little lost, and I’m so sure I overthink things.

One thing I asked myself is what I want, on a small scale, from a boyfriend. Everyone says the other person should bring out the best in you, and I was questioning what that meant to me. My first boyfriend was/is a wonderful person, and I think he helped shape my kindness and understanding towards others, but there was some part of me that felt like I had been forced to be this person, fit this mold that I wasn’t sure suited me; it didn’t feel completely natural to me. But I figured he was bringing out the best in me, so it should be a good thing.

As I’ve grown, I think “the best of me” is something other than kindness and understanding. I exhibit those traits on my own, without feeling forced. I have always been such a shy, timid person, and I don’t like to be pushed out of my comfort zone. Often I fight it and recede if someone tries to make me do something I’m not ready to do. However, I have also noticed that I’m willing to do something different and new and make a fool of myself if I am encouraging someone else to do the same.070d3aa8-5192-4e22-9c98-1e286d373704

I think I need someone who is about as outgoing as I am, so I can be happy and positive and encourage them to try new things. I think it will encourage me to step out of my own comfort zones and help me become a better and more outgoing person. As someone who has typically been drawn to more outgoing people, this hasn’t been an easy feat. I’d rather not have it be a competition because that shuts me down for some reason. I guess it’s a person problem? Although I can’t really say that I dislike that about myself, so maybe that’s just how I am at this point in my life.

All I know is I shouldn’t feel embarrassed and regretful because of someone I have feelings for, and I’ve been upset with myself because of my questionable weekends because those feelings of embarrassment and regret occurred. Just thinking about it today, I cringed. That’s not how it should be. I need to take a step back and gather myself, preferably before I go home for the summer and face my questionable decisions, but I think that may be too much to ask.

Side note, you should also never feel absolute rage when thinking of your significant other/someone you like. I am a fairly patient, loving person, and while it doesn’t take much to annoy me, it takes a significant amount of effort to make me physically angry. On the rare occasions I have experienced this rage, I knew I could no longer be with the people that caused it. Never be with someone who brings out the worst in you.

I’ve been thinking a lot about one of my friends. We have a complex relationship, and I’ll leave it at that, but I just wanted to take a moment to appreciate him. Ever since I’ve met him, he has been the kindest, most understanding person I have ever known. I have never seen him be negative towards anyone, and he always tries to put smiles on others’ faces, and that’s something that not a lot of people do nowadays.

We have always had the deepest conversations. I haven’t known him intimately for more than a year, and I have already shared with him more than I have shared with anyone. It’s nice to not have your walls up, not hide behind humor, and I sincerely appreciate him for that. He knows what is at my center, and when I confide in him my thoughts and feelings on certain, touchy subjects, he has always had a gentle hand at calming me down and helping me see myself – if that makes sense.

And I think I helped him too. When we first met, he really hid behind his jokes whenever we started talking about personal stuff. I called him out on it, and I showed him some love for opening up to me.

I think it just goes to show that people are scared to be themselves because they don’t know how other people are going to react. Everyone is really just looking for acceptance, be it from others or from themselves. I can’t stress this enough: be kind to people.

So many people out there deserve so much love. Be that person.

With genuine love.

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Genuinely appreciate those who came out for my 21st, as well as those who endured the morning after with me 🙂

 

I’ll Be There For You

The hum of the A/C, the whir of the dryer, the glare of the lamp against the off-white walls, the animated conversation punctuated with giggles. What a nice lullaby to end the day. I think the constant buzz of city life has finally gotten to me. When I was home last weekend I couldn’t fall asleep, and I think it was because it was so quiet. It’s frustrating – I love quiet.

There’s really nothing to report today, no spontaneous adventure to scatter throughout, no do it for the blog! moment today. Sometimes you need a reminder that doing nothing, having a normal day, is okay. I even wrote about that for my English class.

The other day my friend was telling me how hard it is to make friends here, and I definitely agree. I was fortunate enough to be placed with roommates that I really click with, that I would consider friends based on more than just being stuck living together, and that’s a great feeling to have. We’re all going our separate ways next semester, but at least I can use going to see them as an excuse to get out of the apartment.

What’s better is that some of my friends from home are visiting me tomorrow! After enduring a trying couple of weeks, this is definitely the best medicine I could ask for.

There’s nothing more valuable in my life than the friendships I have made. Funny enough, I met all of these people coming to visit me through working at The Main Cup. I could make my experiences at the Cup its own blog series, but I’ll save that for another “do nothing” day. General idea, I love my job mostly for the people I work with.

So I’m going to take a moment to tell you about some of these special people.

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(Yes, this picture was taken from a video on snapchat. If there’s one thing this blog had been consistent with, it’s low quality pictures with high quality fun.)

This is Timmy, the mastermind behind all of tomorrow’s plans. He started working at the Cup a month or so after me, and back then his curly hair was so long he reminded me of Bernard the Elf from The Santa Claus. He’s always the life of the party with his outgoing, positive personality, and quick-witted sass. Somewhere along the line one of our inside jokes became him being my cat? I don’t even know how that happened, but thanks to this guy I get to see some of my friends from back home tomorrow. And he taught me how to chacha! (Pictured above).

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Left to right, this is Sam, Will, and Roeder on one of the many spectacular nights in Will’s basement.

Sam is musically gifted – I’m talkin’ incredible. He’s also just a kind human being. I remember during June when I was going through a rough breakup, Sam asked me how I was doing and I told him truthfully I wasn’t doing that great and that I was supposed to have the “closure talk” later that day. He texted me that night saying that he hoped it went well because I deserve the best. During that breakup I was shown so much love from so many surprising people, and it really helped me realize that I would be okay, that I was surrounded by love. Sam was one of the people to show that to me, and for that I’m grateful.

Oh boy, what could I say about Will… He has easily become one of my better friends throughout the year because of his sense of humor. Even though his horrible jokes make me roll my eyes, his physical humor has me in tears almost every night I work with him. He also brings Altoids (“you mean, Draco Malfoys”) to work all the time, and it seems like a bonding experience between us for some reason. He also made this video back in high school. He showed it to me on New Years Eve and I was in tears, again, laughing so hard. You just… you have to watch it.

Roeder and I have a funny history. We’re family friends, and my mom goes walking with his mom almost every Saturday morning, and I’d say they’re best friends. Though I’ve known him since I was probably nine or ten, we never really became friends with him until he started working at the Cup. He has this habit of never shutting up, and I remember there were nights that Zac and I would look at each other and say “whose turn is it to yell at him?” I’ve made some attitude-y comments to him at work before, but the good thing is that’s never slowed him down or hurt out relationship. He’s at UMD with me now, and I always have someone to watch the games with and talk to about the latest Marvel movie (my roommates aren’t into sports or superhero movies. Bummer.).

This is Ryan. Unfortunately he won’t be joining us tomorrow, as he goes to school all the way out in Ohio (and I’m hoping to visit him in April – imagine the blog then…), but I felt like I had to include him, and he’s already visited so I’m not really breaking any rules.

We’d both gone to Middletown since elementary school, but I didn’t really get to know him until eighth when we were both part of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (back when we were actively religious), and we immediately clicked and became close friends during that year.

Early high school we didn’t really see each other, but junior year we both had chemistry. Naturally, I was horrible because chemistry is part science, part math, but we got to choose lab partners and eventually we chose to work together. We quite literally rekindled our flame over bunsen burners…

I’ve always been able to talk to Ryan about anything, and so many of my favorite memories involve him: sitting in the trunk of my 4Runner on a hot summer day just killing time; having a few beers around a bonfire, taking turns choosing music; going to Hershey Park in eighth grade (2009) and again in 2015; taking trips to Rita’s, where we would share bites of each other’s flavors, and he would usually end up finishing mine because I take forever to eat; going out every night in Ohio, and staying in every night in Maryland (fun fact, I drove almost 7 hours to see him in Ohio, he drove almost 8 hours to see me at UMD for one night over his break. What an awesome friend.) I would definitely consider him my best friend.

Him and…

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This guy! Alex. He and I have also known each other since eighth grade, when he dated one of my friends at the time (oh those middle school romances). We had a few classes together in high school, and we would always talk but I would’ve considered him an acquaintance at the time. Also during junior year, as I rekindled my friendship with Ryan, he invited me to go longboarding with him and Alex. That’s when it really turned into the golden trio.

Suddenly we were going on these longboarding expeditions all through town and up in Braddock, and most days when I got too tired we would find a place to chill, sit on our boards, and just talk about life. We jokingly called ourselves “RAD” – Ryan Alex Dani – but my favorite is the likeness to Harry Potter – Ryan with his black hair, me, the girl with the brown hair, and Alex, the redhead.

Unfortunately I never took pictures of us all back in high school, so this is the only picture I have of all three of us together, taken a few months back.

During senior year, Alex and I had a bit of a falling out for personal reasons, and at the end of senior year, before we could make up, he and his family moved to Australia. I was devastated, sure I’d never see him again and that I’d just lost a friend forever. I don’t remember when or how it happened, but we started talking again over Facebook, and then we started skyping every once in a while to catch up. We fell back into being friends, and I’m beyond thankful.

Alex has always been protective of me, the older brother, though he’s the youngest of the trio. He and I have deeper conversations, and when I come to him with my problems he will always be the person to tell me what I need to hear, no matter how hard it is. I know he’s just looking out for what is best for me, and I think it’s important that everyone have someone like him in their lives. Lucky me, I have him in mine. I have both he and Ryan in mine. I do get a small sense of pride, saying that one of my best friends lives halfway across the world, and I’m proud of us for staying so close. When I was thinking of studying abroad in Australia, we had even talked about being flatmates! Thanks for the disappointment, ARHU…

(I had to break the rules for Alex. Of course he hasn’t visited me, he’s in Australia, so cut him some slack)

I have several other friends that I didn’t include just because they haven’t visited me yet (I’m lookin’ at you, Mary!), and maybe I’ll make that its own post sometime. I just wanted to share with you how happy I am to know that I have these amazing people in my life, and I am lucky enough to call them my friends.

I can’t wait to make more memories with these people. Look out UMD, The Main Cup is comin’ for ya!