We formed a life long friendship from miles away.
In June of 2009, my best friend was dropped off at my summer camp. As soon as we met I was drawn to her, even though she was wearing a purple aero t-shirt.. I hate the color purple incase I forgot to mention that, but I gave her a chance anyway. Three days into the session we were sharing clothes and whispering secrets from our top beds in the corner of the cabin. I knew more about her in two weeks than I did about any other friend I had ever had. A few days before the two week session was over she had to leave early for a family issue. We hugged and we cried, and we exchanged phone numbers and said our good byes. At that time we didn't know whether we would ever see each other again, we were only 11 years old.
In 2010, 10 months had passed and we returned to camp the next summer and we picked things up exactly where they left off, and it was like no time had passed. Throughout our second two week session together we returned with friends from the previous summer and even counselors too. Over those 10 months we kept in touch easily. We would pick a time every week and ooVoo video chat, we talked on the phone at night after our parents fell asleep, and we counted down the months, weeks, days, and minutes till camp the next summer.
In 2011, we returned in June again for another two week session. Although at this age we were boy crazy and pranking our own cabin, our friendship only grew stronger. We continued to keep in touch through Skype and as texting became pretty popular we joined in on keeping updated on each others lives as often as possible.
In the summer of 2012, we were making the transition to high school. But that didn't stop us from going back to camp and it certainly didn't get in the way of our friendship. We went to camp in June for the usual two week session, but soon enough two weeks wasn't enough time together, so when we FINALLY convinced our parents to let us go longer we returned for a three week session in July.
Circle F Dude Ranch Camp, 2012
Mid-freshman year in high school we actually met for the first time during the school year. Although I like to think it didn't count because it was still at camp.. We spent your 15th birthday weekend with our closest friends and your family.
In 2013, we stayed at camp for 8 weeks. We became known as full time residents.. (basically the girls they couldn't get to leave camp if they dragged us out by our feet.) This summer was when we realized it for the first time, I knew you were going to be my best friend for real. I believe we did the most growing that summer, and two whole months together still just wasn't enough.
Circle F Dude Ranch Camp, 2013 - All Summer Long
Sophomore year of high school everything changed. We started seeing each other all the time. Since you did live on the other side of the state, a three hour drive wasn't easy to convince our parents to take but we made it happen anyway. Throughout the year we traded clothes and even a few letters and packages to return things we took without permission..
For months since our last visit in January we counted down the days until our next trip. We had planned out a 7 day Royal Caribbean cruise for our 16th birthdays. Being born 7 days apart, the cruise left on April 12th (the day after your birthday) and returned April 19th (the day after mine.) The problem was.. you were having a sweet 16 birthday party that I couldn't make it too. It really made no sense to drive all the way to Sarasota for a night when the cruise left the next morning in Fort Lauderdale (just an hour from my house.) So for weeks I planned with your parents, siblings, and friends THE PERFECT SUPRISE. I went home right after school on April 11th, your 16th birthday, and got in the car with my dad who drove me 3 hours to your house. (AND YOU STILL HAD NO IDEA ABOUT ANY OF THIS WHICH I STILL TILL THIS DAY HAVE NO CLUE HOW NOBODY TOLD YOU.) SO I showed up at your Sweet 16 and you cried.. ALOT. The next day we left for the cruise and its safe to say we had to best week of our lives.
In 2014, we returned to camp again.. I know SHOCKING right?! Once again, we stayed the whole summer and continued our reputation of All Summer Long. It was the summer before Junior year, and sadly enough our last summer as campers. We were getting a little too old for the chaos I guess. So we spent our final summer doing all the things we ever wanted to. We achieved more in one summer than we did in your 6 years and my 8 years. We started riding which somehow got us on flag team, and I made you climb the alpine tower. We even dug up our 5 year old time capsule that was pretty amusing to read. Our last summer as campers was really sad though, but we didn't take one second for granted.
Our Final Summer, Circle F Dude Ranch - 2014
Throughout 2014-2015 we saw each other countless times. We went to New York again to visit my brothers, you visited me for a weekend in February, and we mostly planned for the future within those next few months. We were officially TOO OLD to be campers again. So we took the next step to becoming counselors, which is what we always dreamed about doing. We both applied to the C.I.T. program aka: Counselors in Training and choose to go during the second half of the summer starting in July. In the meantime we planned a summer trip together and after a 9 hour drive and many many Starbucks stops we made it to South Carolina alive!
Summer 2015- Charleston, SC
The craziest transformation we ever had to make was from camper to counselor. It was such an amazing experience and I'm SO glad we got to do it together!
At the end of the summer we had learned more about ourselves, camp, and the world around us. We became more aware of how lucky we are to have each other and more appreciative of all our previous counselors had done for us. At the start of Senior Year, we had both started applying to colleges, through the first few months things will stressful and hectic. We still spoke every day, and we always kept in touch and up to date on each others lives.
This is my best friend, Liz. Our friendship was never ideal, our friendship was never perfect, but our friendship was special.. and it was ours. Not everyone will get to experience a friendship like ours in their lifetime. I thank God every day for sending me this weirdo in a purple t-shirt. There is no one else I would rather face my fears with, try new things with, meet new people with, and grow up with. You were the sister I never had, and the role model I always wished for. You will be my maid of honor and the godmother of my children. We pushed each other to do better each and every day, you were by my side through all the heart breaks and we even fought over a boy or two. In June, Liz and I will begin staff training to be counselors this summer at Circle F Dude Ranch. We achieved what we always wanted and more. In August, we will say good bye to one another just like we always have, but this time, we won't be going back to our sides of the state, we will be going off to college 565 miles away from one another. But hey, it's a good thing were so good at long distance, because there is no one I would rather take on life with.