I met Stephanie on a college trip to Turkey. I made a lot of friends on that trip, but she was a soulmate. She was weird, creative, spontaneous, and always optimistic. When we returned to Tennessee, we kept hanging out, and she quickly became my college bestie.
Having started our friendship while traveling, we continued to roadtrip together – short trips to Memphis, longer trips up I-55 to my hometown, and longest trips to Savannah where we both had family to visit. Long car rides with Stephanie were easy. We shared a love of 90s pop songs and modern musicals. We were both obsessed with A Very Potter Musical, and we perfected our duet to “Granger Danger.” We also used those long rides to craft the most absurd and delightful iMovies of our adventures. We loved over-documenting ourselves, with pictures and videos and dumb clips, and we proudly showed our creations to anyone who was unfortunate to be around us for more than five minutes. The most tragic thing in the world is that I cannot seem to find our 1-55 Adventure video, which was at least 15 minutes long and was totally awesome.
I love to be silly, but my introversion usually encourages me to hang back. Stephanie was extroverted enough for the both of us, which led us to build forts in my apartment and jump off swings in a park at 11 p.m. The latter adventure actually led to me pinching a nerve so badly that my friends took me to the ER that night. Stephanie left to get the essentials: a computer to watch LOST, a game of Would You Rather, and a slushie. She stayed with me until we finally left the ER at 4:00 a.m. and stayed with me through the night to make sure I survived.
Her friends became my friends, and we all woke up at 3:00 a.m. one morning to go out into the country and watch a meteor shower. I got her a job at the alumni office with me, and once we left at the same time and she offered to let me use her bike. I can’t, uh, actually ride a bike, so when she pulled me off the sidewalk to roll down a grassy hill, I let the bike fall out from under me and screamed at her in terror. I walked beside her as she rode to my apartment, where we lay in the hammock and talked about boys.
After we graduated, she called me one day to suggest we both fly to Orlando and visit Harry Potter World. Having learned to embrace her spontaneity, I agreed, and we shrieked our way through drinking butterbeer, flying on a broomstick behind Harry, and eating chocolate frogs.
A couple years later, Stephanie moved to Turkey, and when I found a cheap flight I visited her. She introduced me to her friends, made sure I was full of chai and doner, and helped me gain confidence exploring on my own. Because she had to work, she drew me an adorably specific map about how to get on the metro several blocks away and find her office.
Stephanie is married now, and I haven’t hung out with her nearly as much as I ought to. We both still share a love of traveling, and we’re both hoping to live overseas in the near future. Right now, though, she’s in South Carolina, which is where I’m headed today! I cannot wait to catch up with my college friend, to see the ways in which she’s stayed spontaneous and fun and the ways in which she’s matured. This road trip has been such a great way to reconnect with old friends, and Stephanie is definitely one I’m looking forward to seeing.