13 days. 5 friends. 4 countries.
There really aren’t words for what it feels like to have your best friends travel 4,000 miles and suddenly be sitting in your flat, walking your streets and meeting your friends.
Walking into my pub after class and realizing those 4 were in London (!) was one of the craziest and most wonderful moments of my life.
We spent a couple days in London and then hopped an EasyJet flight to the South of France for some time on the coast and ample amounts of rosé, baguettes and cheese.
Our adorable airbnb was the perfect setup for slow mornings with coffee, dodging pigeons, long talks on the wraparound balcony and late night giggles.
We stumbled through our limited French words, ate our way around Nice, toured art museums, took trolley rides to abandoned castle ruins and spent a slow day near a chateau in the tiny hillside of Èze on the French Riviera.
We then bid au revoir to Meg and Mary who headed for a day in Paris and home and Beckah, Anna and I trained through Monaco along the Mediterranean Sea to Riomaggiore, Italy.
142 flights of stairs (oy), one incredible hike, accidental sparkling wine, train rides to little towns like Vernazza and Monterosso, morning conversations about growth and Jesus and life and one incredible sunset later we had the perfect break in Cinque Terre.
We wrapped up Italy by training to Siena in Tuscany. Beckah studied abroad here in 2012 and seeing the look on her face when we pulled into the city and walked into the Piazza that first evening is something I’ll never forget.
Anna and I followed her around all over the city; walking down little streets we never would have found and listening to her chat away in Italian to local storekeepers.
We basked/burned in the sun, drank way too much red wine, ate our weight in gnocchi and pizza, had dinner with her host family, booked a spontaneous winery tour (and my future destination wedding), and took in a 360 view of the Tuscan countryside from our roof terrace. For about 3 days.. life was perfect.
I’ve spent the last 8 years building friendships with women that have become sisters. When I left for London my #1 fear was leaving my community of friends back home. There were numerous times that I looked in the mirror and thought that I must be 100% crazy to leave that behind. To consciously walk away from being apart of the day-to-day lives of these girls.
We’ve spent more time than I’d care to admit laughing about absolutely nothing, asking each other hard questions, seeking relationships with Jesus and loving each other in our less-than-ideal moments. We’ve stood by each other’s sides on wedding days, cried when life offered only rejection and cheered each other on in seasons of plenty.
But I’ve come to realize that God gives us exactly what we need for this moment; nothing more, nothing less. My relationships with each of them are different and varied, just as they are unique. What we need from each other has developed and changed but underlying it all is the beauty of doing life as a community.
These girls made me who I am today. They’ve taught me how to share and give. They’ve taught me what unconditional love looks like. They’ve supported my dreams. They took a selfish and lost 18 year old girl and spoke truth into her of what she could be and who she is and haven’t stopped since.
And for that I’ll be forever grateful.