One of my best friends in college was Stephanie. For a while, I spent the night every Thursday at her dorm, which meant I got to know her roommates pretty well. One of those roommates was Elizabeth Waibel. She was one of the coolest people I knew, and I assumed she thought I was mostly an idiot. Well, if she did, joke’s on her, because it has been six years and now we are really good friends!
I don’t really know how we shifted from real life acquaintances to frequent Facebook conversationalists, but our mutual introversion definitely helps. She is intelligent and snarky, which are two of my favorite qualities in a person. She often posts culturally relevant statuses that challenge people to think more deeply, and she tags me in articles about feminism. Internet besties!
We also share a deep love for books. When I graduated from college, I got rid of two bookcases full of my favorite books (because I was moving to Senegal, and I have a minimalistic streak). Elizabeth was one of the few people to take full advantage of this, which I really admired. Several years later when I went to Maryland to visit her, I was thrilled to see my old books interspersed between hers. Books are like pets, and I knew mine had find a good home with her.
She’s generous too. Years after I gave it to her, I mentioned wanting to reread The Great Gatsby, and she mailed it to me. When she visited Japan, she bought me the perfect souvenir: a Japanese magazine of cute boys posing with cute animals. I almost died when I opened the package and realized how well she knows me.
I don’t know why we didn’t hang out more often in college, because in the years since, I have loved every visit we’ve shared. In 2013 I visited her in Maryland. We had the perfect book-nerd weekend (she even wrote about it here), happily touring the Folger Shakespeare Library in DC, visiting F. Scott Fitzgerald’s grave, and spending hours at a used bookstore. We even spent an evening watching book-related Doctor Who episodes, a pastime so nerdy and niche I cannot fathom my good fortune in having Elizabeth as a friend.
We met up again in Memphis for Stephanie’s wedding. We stayed with one of my friends, and I told both of them about a boy I was talking to online. I had mixed feelings about it, and Mallory was very understanding. She affirmed my frustrations and fears, asked questions, and was generally very concerned. Elizabeth was mostly silent, until I finally turned to her and asked what she thought. “Online relationships are bullshit,” she said, and I barked with laughter. She cut right to the chase, told me what I needed to hear, and I felt instantly unburdened.
Most recently, Elizabeth has been one of my biggest supporters for Greece. She’s given financially, but she’s also lent her editing skills to my support letters. When I wonder if I’m bugging people with too many reminders, she tells me to stop caring and send them out already. She is the INTJ to my INFJ, and I so appreciate her logical and direct opinions.
I get to see Elizabeth again today! I’m staying at her place for several days, and once again our time will be centered around books! A couple months ago she found a city in Maryland that was hosting a Harry Potter weekend the very same time I would be visiting. Fate! So we’re going to don our wizarding robes and be complete nerds together. I couldn’t ask for a better friend than her.