I went there to attend graduate school at the London School of Economics, and I did not know a soul upon my arrival. It was the first time in my life I had ever done that, and there was something exciting about it. Starting new. Starting fresh. I had high hopes for a great year, but I didn't think it could compare to my days at Penn State. I was wrong.
I think it was my second day there that I met Lauren. She was a junior in college, doing a year abroad. We lived in the same dorm. At first I didn't know if our friendship would "make it," because at the time it felt like we were in SUCH different life stages - undergrad versus grad school. Never mind she was only a year younger than me (so she still likes to remind me).
She wasn't the easiest person to get to know. She is shy, and at times stand-offish. She is opinionated. But one night we went out and ended up at some random flat, and there was a line for the bathroom. We started chatting, and I said we should just go into the bathroom together so we could continue our conversation. She balked at the idea of someone actually peeing in front of her. She came in anyway. We have been the best of friends ever since.
Being thrust in a foreign country knowing no one causes people to bond in ways they normally wouldn't. Or maybe we were just super compatible. Regardless, we became inseparable, and being 20 and 21 in London, we had a lot of fun. A lot.
|I really don't know.|
That spring, the two of us backpacked through Europe together. We were gone a little over six weeks. In many ways, it was the best trip of my life.
Lauren left London a month before my program was done, and her departure for me was like a death. I remember feeling such a sense of loneliness when she was gone. I ended up staying in London one more year, moving in with a boyfriend, making more friends, and getting used to London without her. She returned to school to finish her senior year, and I applied to law school. I wondered if we would stay close when we both returned to America, when our friendship was on "foreign" soil.
Obviously, since I am writing this post, the answer is yes.
|Lauren's 30th Birthday|
To this day, one of my favorite things in the world is to hang out with Lauren, drink a bottle of wine, and stay up late talking. We always end up staying up later than I planned. Lucky for me, despite living in different cities, we still get to do it fairly often (as recently as last week). We make sure of it.
But the memories of our year in London together still invigorate me.
What a year it was .... Dancing to Robbie Williams. Home sickness. Ex boyfriends. New boyfriends. The search for our ex boyfriend's email passwords. Tears. Late nights. Mastering the English accent. Our endless quest for nachos and hot springs. Power hours. Sleepovers in my tiny dorm room. Long train rides on Eurail. Paragliding in the Swiss Alps. Playing endless games of cards during a rainy weekend in Corfu. Drinking with the "Griswalds" at the Hofbrahaus.
Lauren falling off a bunk bed, into my bottom bunk, at the Flying Pig Hostel in Amsterdam.
That still makes me laugh out loud.
Happy Birthday, Lauren. I love you and am so thankful for you!