Sunday, November 20, 2011

from ny to cali

this picture means more to me than you can understand. seriously. that's not to say that i don't have dozens of favorite photos of my favoritist people in the whole wide world, but the reason this picture means so much to me tells a story 20+ years in the making.

when i was in 3rd grade and 8 years old, my teacher, mrs. sonnenburg, had us participate in a pen pal exchange with a school in california. I guess my class had the honor of reading generic letters from this other school and then we would have to respond to them. our teacher walked around the room plopping letters on our desks based on gender and i received a letter from a boy who's name had been mistaken for a girl. the very last line of his letter read, "you might think i'm a girl but i'm actually a boy." so my little 3rd grade self ran up to the teacher and got a new letter.

what a difference this letter was - it was written on pretty paper with nice girly penmanship. my memory is poor for details and i can't recall what was in that letter, but it was from a girl named sara who probably wrote about how much she loved music. we spent the whole year writing letters to each other and then at the end of the year we formally exchanged home addresses. i'm not sure what i was expecting other than the occasional letter in the mail (i loooooove snail mail...still love it) but what blossomed is a friendship that spans 20+ years and countless letters.

i still have a lot of the letters sara wrote to me over the years and love to sit down and read them at times. they tell the story of a girl who grows up into a teenager and then a wonderful adult. i'm not just saying that because i think sara is one of the most wonderful people i know, but because i've had the the great fortune of growing up with her. there's so much in her letters about my own life and experiences that i can only imagine what the hell i was telling her. she told me that she still has the letters i wrote her which i would love to someday read.

i've never had the opportunity to head out to california myself but a few weeks ago i received a facebook message that said something like, "i'll be in nyc! we need to try and meet up! you know this fall marks our 20 year." my response was a big fat - "WHAT!" i think my heart was literally jumping out of my body. i couldn't believe that this person who i have literally poured my whole entire soul to would be in ny. so i marked my calendar and waited.

when sara finally got to ny, we made plans to have dinner with some of her friends on the friday of her trip. i think that my nerves took over as i started to worry about this meeting. would she like me? would she think i'm incredibly annoying? would i like her? would we have anything to talk about?
 i'm a worrier. 

but what actually happened was better than i could have imagined. here's a person who i have written to my entire life in front of me, and even though it was our first time meeting face to face, we know each other. and we know a lot about each other. and nothing can really take that away. i think it's hard for people to understand how i could have sustained a friendship with someone through letters for so long, but i feel blessed to have had this experience. to have a connection with someone who lives miles and miles away, who you never get to see in person. it's amazing. it makes you feel more connected to the world and the people in it.

so back to this picture - this is our first picture together! it still feels really surreal to think that we actually met, but then i look at this picture and remember. i feel really lucky to have known sara my whole life and even luckier to have met her in person finally.


urbanrhetoric said...

this is so beautiful

Anonymous said...

This made me smile after a long hard day. Hooray for friends.