Sam Hunt played through the speakers. We were in the Twingo at 2 AM on the first of June, driving home from Finn’s, passing along the perimeter of the lake, windows down, hands dancing, seat-belts unfastened, voices unapologetically blaring- when it hit me all at once. This thing is almost over.
I started to tear up, when Mich glanced back from the driver’s seat and I noticed a similar tear rolling down her cheek.
“Guys, stop it!” said Val from the passengers seat. She reached back to grab my hand, and lifted it up to keep it dancing.
“I just can’t believe it is already June,” I said. “and I can’t believe you are leaving tomorrow.”
I dropped her off at the airport the next day, said good bye, pulled the roll of toilet paper out from my purse and dabbed my eyes as I walked toward the parking garage.
I drove home on the back roads, without a GPS, the windows down, music loud. I reflected.
It has been a year of unbelievable sights. Of growth, challenge, lessons, cheese, wine, mountains, children, and lots of photographs, but most importantly- it has brought me together with a group of like-minded people who understand each other’s restless desires to keep moving and to keep searching.
These types of real friendships are important. You never know when you’ll meet them. It could happen by the neighbor’s fence, at band camp, at work, at school, or halfway across the world in a foreign country that you have to learn how to navigate together.
Wherever you find them, stick with the people who challenge you, who love you, who make you feel funny and important, who can laugh at your flaws, and cheer you on in your successes.
Hold onto those people, because trust me, life is a lot more bearable if you have someone to laugh about it with.
When you leave someone that you’ve spent 5 and a half years with to take an adventure on your own, people judge you. Some tell you it won’t last, or they tell you it will because they think it is what you want to hear. Others genuinely believe it is going to. Then there are those who shoot it to you straight, honest, and perhaps a little more real than you are ready for at the moment. ‘Who knows what will happen. Growing apart somewhat is inevitable, but it doesn’t mean you guys won’t make it. Take it one day at a time.’
It has been 9 months since I left for France. After 8, Justin made it to Europe. I waited for him at the gate and felt sharp restlessness in my stomach alongside a severe knot in my throat. He hadn’t even walked off the plane yet, but I had to bit my lip so I wouldn’t burst into tears before he arrived. All around me people had signs, they were embracing, smiling, speaking a mix of English and French and full of emotions I knew and understood far too well.
I saw him first from across the gate. I smiled and waited until he caught my eye. We moved towards each other in what felt like slow motion and embraced. I didn’t know what to expect in that moment, and when he was there in front of me, it felt new but also as though nothing had changed. We took a cab to our hotel, settled in and spent the next few days exploring Paris together. Tuesday we took a flight to Geneva so he could see and experience the place I have called home since August. Despite my obsessive compulsive urge to make sure we did everything possible there, we enjoyed ourselves by exploring old town, laying out by the lake, bar hopping at night, eating croissants and gelato, and drinking espresso and sparking water like the classy kids we are.
Saying goodbye was difficult, but unlike the first time in August, I managed to stop the tears after a couple of minutes. The moment felt bittersweet in a couple of ways- first that it meant only a matter of time was left until I met with him again, and second, that I only have a matter of time left to get my life together and to say goodbye to this experience. Knowing I have him to come home to, however, makes me know I am ready for that.
Goodbyes, no matter who or what they are for, are difficult, challenging, overwhelming, and sometimes extremely poignant. Long distance is just as difficult as they say it is. I would be lying if I said the year went by fine. It didn’t. There were many fights, many tears, but also many moments of laughter and conversations that kept us connected to each others insanely different lives. I don’t think we will really understand how the year has shaped us until we are back living together again. But I am excited and ready for that.
It is only one month until I am home, back in his arms, sharing the same bed again, eating breakfast together on the weekends, driving around town, walking the dog around the neighborhood, and me falling asleep during late night Netflix binge watching. I cannot wait. ❤
I miss you everyday. 🙂
For our last big adventure together, we decided to take a road trip to the coast of Italy and stayed on an Airbnb sail boat. That’s right, a sailboat.
If you have never done it before, drop everything right now and make the trip. You will get a little sea sick, but trust me, it’s worth it.
We drove the to city of Rapollo, located in Liguria- a coastal region in the north-west part of Italy. It was early May and like always, we were feeling adventurous. We set off on a Friday afternoon after a late night at Pop Plage, the local lake-side dance club here in Annecy. In our normal style we rolled out of bed, chugged some water, bought a baguette sandwich, and brushed off the hangovers like champs.
We arrived around dinner time, and met up with our skipper, a guy our age whose boat had been passed down from his parents, and also a guy who happens to look exactly like the version of modern day Jesus.
“It’s not much, but it works.” he said.
“We love it.”
We settled in, ate out, came back, slept, woke up and took to the sea’s the next morning with drinks and focaccia in hand. The sailing trip brought us to some incredible places, including the port of Portofino where we stopped and explored for a bit. To put it simply, this place was beautiful.
Because we are crazy, we woke up the next morning and drove 2 hours in the opposite direction to visit Portovenere and then Pisa. We didn’t have much time, and questioned whether it was a good idea or not. In our normal fashion, we decided probably not, and went anyway.
I expected the tower in Pisa to be leaning like the name suggests, but it was quite incredible to see it up close. They weren’t lying. It is very tilted. We walked inside and climbed to the top, which definitely messes with one’s sense of equilibrium. The sun set while we were there, and I couldn’t help but think, I am so lucky right now. This is incredible.
It is also the third time I have been to Italy this year. What?
My life is crazy right now, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. ❤
found on: Elephant Journal