Four Middle School friends, four High School friends and four China friends.
Every chapter of my life I've had friends there who have become my second family. Here are three sets of important people in those very important growing and learning chapters of my life:
|Brynn, Amy, Brooke, Brandi and Matt Martelli pretending to be Jen.|
The "O4" or "Original Four" started out as Brynn, Amy, Brandi and I.
|Such a fashonista, I made a shirt for Brynn in Christmas of 8th Grade|
Brynn and I had been best friends since we could remember (my earliest memory of Brynn is when we got stuck in the sprinklers in her backyard and didn't know where to run because we were up against a fence and didn't want to run through them to the house so we sat there, being rained down on and cried as loud as we could until we were saved by Brynn's laughing mother), but we had never been able to go to the same school till that first day of 6th grade at Faith Lutheran where we met Amy and Brandi. We were instantly four best friends. We had sleepovers and knew each other's secrets and we were by far the coolest people we knew. In 7th grade Jennifer transferred to our school. Even though we were a completely exclusive club and could obviously only have four members due to our name, we allowed Jen into our group based on the fact that she was actually as cool as us. So, the O4 became a five person club about four people. We've been a beautiful contradiction since.
We laughed and gossiped and liked boys and then hated those boys we once liked and then liked those boys again. We celebrated milestones together, we mourned the loss of a friend together. We started the journey of adolescence together.We became our own little patch of sisters at that school. We were 11 when we met. Now we're all either 23 or 24. We've known each other for over half of our lives. It's been great. We've all gone our separate ways and lived our own lives, but we still keep in touch. When we were 12 and transportation-less, we'd get our parents to drop us off at Mimi's Cafe and we'd dine together like the grown-ups we thought we were. Now that we are technically grown-ups, we've kept the tradition alive. Once a year we get together at Mimi's and try eating our food we've ordered between the loads and loads of catching up we do.
|Brynn, Brandi, Brooke, Amy and Jen|
My first day of High School I was convinced that I'd be thrown in a trash can or locked in a locker. I was terrified. I had transferred from a private school and didn't know anyone at Bonanza. My mom had set up a carpool for seminary with some other kids in my class. One of those kids was some red-head named Michael. Since we were sort of forced into saying hi when we saw each other later that day, we decided to get lunch together. Being oblivious Freshman, we took too long at lunch and ended up getting locked out of the welcome assembly. Not knowing what else to do, we sat out in the shade and tried to find common ground. Harry Potter came up rather quickly. We've been best friends ever since.
|Freshman year of college|
|Hanging out on the Strip|
|I probably said something really funny right before this was taken|
|Sadies Senior year|
|I promise we're not as dramatic as we look|
Moving to China was the boldest/most exciting/most rewarding/best thing I've ever done. For some reason halfway through my Freshman year of college I felt like I needed to go teach English in a foreign country. It was a specific and kind of random prompting that I didn't understand (I know why now it was because it was going to be the perfect thing for me). Through a series of fortunate events, six months later I put on the bravest face I could as I hugged my mom goodbye at the airport, wondering what I had gotten myself into. Thankfully, I had gotten my bestie Elizabeth, from high school, to come along with me. I'm not sure if it's because we're both hilarious or if we were both scared out of our wits, but as soon as we met up at our gate, we were at ease. We were more than at ease. We were completely in our own world where all we cared about was making ourselves laugh and having a good time. Within our first week in China, we had made enemies with everyone in our group. We were the loud, obnoxious girls who sang on the top of their lungs and laughed at things that didn't make sense to other people. After our first week of bliss in our beloved Zhonggua (China), we decided that we'd better try and make friends with some of the other forty people we had to live with for the next four months. After one huge and miserably failed attempt at making friends in the lunchroom one day where we ended up eating alone at the largest table in there while everyone else crowded six and eight people into four-people tables just to avoid us, we were down-trodden. We decided to lay low for a while and try not to be so into how awesome we were and meet people on an individual level. We went that night into our head teacher's room and tried playing cards with a couple of the people that were in there. That's where we met Kiera. After we tricked Kiera into thinking we weren't as bad as we had seemed at first, she helped us trick Amanda and Krystal into being our friends, too. We made other friends more easily after that, but the five of us girls, later named "Captain Planet" became inseparable and on some occasions were even slandered as "exclusive". There's no way to even come close to listing everything we shared or explain everything we experienced there, but I want it known that those four months of my life were the four best months of my life, and those four girls will always be the only people who will be able to understand and relate to me when I talk about the time we spent there. We were in a foreign place with foreign and exciting experiences and all we had to share them with were each other. From sneaking out so that we could practice our OK Go treadmill dance (without the treadmills), to Gilmore Girls, to the overwhelming Guilin vacation, to our Rock Band and I Hate Kiera Clubs, to Crazy Town and the Noodle Shack, to our Hallway competition, to our outfits that we got together, to so much more. Women shi hao pengyou. Wo ai ni. We're the best of friends. I love you.
|After singing for karaoke for that crowd of people in Guilin|
|Swimming in the mud caves|
|We have one of us posing, but this suits us better|
So, on this Fourth day of Christmas, I'm truly grateful for:
Four Middle School Friends, Four High School Friends and Four China Friends,
Three Brothers, Three Sisters and Three Siblings-in-Law,
Two Loving Parents
One Promised King. Savior of the World.