I think a person’s childhood can be defined by a couple things that make up their most important memories. For me it’s candy, my family, the beach, & some standout influential people I’ve met along the way. One person in particular has been on my mind a lot recently because I can’t get over how long I’ve known her and how far we’ve come.
Setting the scene: Bunk 26, 2009, two rather chubby 10 year old girls & a J-14 magazine
Arielle and I met during our time at sleepaway camp. I was, lets say, round and pale and awkward, and she was about the same but with tanner skin because hello, Israeli. We became quick friends as I showed her squirrels weren’t evil and she tested my already embarrassing hebrew. (The one word I still know is fish. I’ll let you know if this ever helps me in life.) I came home with stories of the Dead Sea and a (nonworking) email address to keep in touch with her. Luckily, summer after summer we kept coming back together, beds next to each other, like time had never passed (brief disclaimer- so her dad was the executive director of the camp but fate is a more romantic story so just work with me here).
Over the years we’ve had our personal victories and losses, 5,893 miles separating our experiences, yet we had the same struggles and conquests. High school brought boy troubles and ex-best friends to both of us, even though her story was in Hebrew and mine was in English. We we’re pretty bad at the whole keeping in touch thing- the 7 hour time difference was our worst enemy, and we could never really figure out international iMessaging.
This past summer we both worked as counselors & the hardest part of all of it was that our priorities had to be the kids, not each other. For the first summer in 8 years, she didn’t sleep, eat, and stargaze by my side. Saying goodbye on the last day was emotional, but she promised to come celebrate my birthday with me at college in the fall. Cue tears (think metaphorical rainstorm with Celine Dion playing softly in the background).
& as she promised, I got to sit across from best friend in my college dorm room, eating shitty pizza like it was totally normal. We spent the day decked out in UMD apperal, doing “american college” as Arielle puts it- aka tailgating and football. I couldn’t have asked for a better homecoming weekend because College Park really felt like home.
In the winter Arielle will be joining the IDF for two years. Honestly, I thought about it for a little bit- becoming a kick-ass army girl with a gun and uniform, taking a symbolic gap year, serving my religion and exploring a new, beautiful country. But, in the end American conventionality won and I am happily studying my brains out while in 2 months Arielle will be the kick ass army girl I day-dreamed (think Miss Congeniality meets Cadet Kelly).
Sometimes it takes a while for something to fully sink in. When I lost my wallet freshman year it only took 3 minutes before the loss hit me. With this, I feel like I still can’t fully process the bravery and strength of my best friend, but also the time that will pass before we’ll be together again. She’s no longer my Summer guarentee. And it scares me to be responsible for maintaining such a special relationship.
“There’s no judgements in this friendship.” Arielle told me as I ate another slice of pizza. Honestly, she should have stopped me because I was already 3 slices in and the food baby was in full swing, but who doesn’t love a friendship like that. No judgements.
So to wrap this up I want to say cheers to two years of boot camp and celebration. Find your passion and your path. Live it up. I’ll still be here with my candy, my family & the beach when you’re done. Thanks for the memories. Here’s to a whole lifetime more.
They say if you’re friends for 6 years then you’ll be friends for life. Well, here we are 6+, so I guess I can title our 8 years friendship forever.
Stuck in my head: Way Back When // Kodaline
Snap it: College Park, MD
Just for Arielle: I promise to never drink the red stuff again.