I'm sitting on my bed, half under my covers, drinking a too-sweet raspberry coffee, surrounded by my pets (all both of them, if you count that as being "surrounded") I just got home from my "Good-Bye" weekend with my four best friends. I don't even know if they can be described simply as best friends, because they are the closest things to sisters I have in my life, other than my sister-in-law, Jackie :) The five of us grew up on two parallel streets in the same neighborhood; Jenny, Jamie, and me on one street, Kristina and Sarina on the other. Jenny's mom and mine met when they were pregnant with us, and Jamie moved in two houses down from us when we were three or four months old. I forget when Sarina and Kristina got there (I want to say it was before they were born?) but either way the five of us entered the same kindergarten class in August of 1988, already BFFs.
We sometimes had the same teachers, sometimes didn't. Sometimes we were all in a fight, sometimes closer than close. Sometimes we broke off in twos or threes, or did our own thing, but that's what sisters do, right? We graduated from the same high school and went to college - four of us at UF, Sarina an hour and a half away. Jenny and I lived together for most of college (except freshman year when we were in different dorms) and Jamie had a key to our place so she could nap on our couch between classes. When Jenny moved away for grad school it was the furthest we'd ever been from one another. We even have a matching pair of cats, now separated by a two hour drive, but I am pretty sure they have forgotten about one another.
My girls took me to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, despite the fact that not one of them has read the books or seen the movies. They put up with me being a total geek about every detail there, wanting to ride all the rides, and knowing the answer to every question they had. I bought a Gryffindor scarf, which is conveniently the same colors as the flag of Uganda, so I can bring it with me and say I'm being proud of my new country (not that I wouldn't have brought it with me anyway...) They made me a cup with my name on it, and lyrics to our song (Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer, duh) and Jamie bought everyone a bottle of wine called Five Friends. We ate cheese and crackers, made dinner, went out to breakfast, slept on couches, and talked late into the night. I cried a few times when it hit me that I haven't gone through any major events in my life without at least one of these girls by my side. Kristina lived in France for what felt like twenty years with her boyfriend turned fiancee turned husband, and we knew she was coming back, but me going to Uganda feels different somehow. Africa is different from France. This will be new.
Left to right: Me, Jamie, Sarina, Jenny (pregnant with Emmie), and Kristina. This was in 2009 (over new year's) when we went to Busch Gardens for Jamie's bachelorette weekend.