Cross-Country Chronicles: Chillin’ with My Best Friend

To get you up to speed, I recently returned home to Illinois from an internship in California. This specific gig called for a car, which meant I had no choice but to drive 2,100 miles from my hometown to Sacramento. I made the trip there in June, and it was an interesting, exhausting experience. It was quite the “character-builder.” Knowing how much I hated the drive out, I tried to find ways to make the drive HOME more…livable. I didn’t want to lose my sanity again.

Well, my answer came…in the form of an offer from my best friend, Kourtney. (To avoid hurt feelings, I want to specify that Kourtney is not my ONLY best friend…but, of my best friends, she’s been around the longest. In many ways, she is my soulmate and my other half. We have been best friends for 16 years now.) She offered to use some free miles that Southwest owed her, to meet me on the way home and make the trip back with me. This is a big offer from anyone, but bear in mind that Kourtney is married with a one-year-old, and it suddenly becomes a much bigger undertaking.

We were 18 years old enjoying virgin daquiri's on vacation in Missouri. This is my all-time favorite picture of Kourtney and I.

For Kourtney and I, planning this trip was a fast process; we were both busy and had to make quick plans. We both had a sense of excitement over our reunion. When we were kids, I would always go on family vacation to Lake of the Ozarks with Kourtney. We hadn’t made a roadtrip together in years. To make things more exciting, we hadn’t seen each other in a long time. Because of her military marriage, Kourtney had lived away from Illinois for a few years. She moved back to Illinois permanently about the same time I moved out to California, and our paths never crossed.

We were long-overdue for some girl time together.

The oldest digital picture I could find of Kourtney and me. It was taken at our junior year Winter Ball. I was 16, she was 17.

As it worked out, I drove the first day by myself, from Sacramento to Salt Lake City. Kourtney’s flight into Salt Lake City landed about an hour after I was set to arrive, so I waited in anticipation to see her. When the hotel shuttle arrived with my best friend inside, I fidgeted in the hotel lobby until I couldn’t contain it anymore…at which point, I sprinted out the front doors, jumped the stairs, and attacked Kourtney in the most enthusiastic hug I’ve ever given.

The following two days were a mix of deep, heartfelt talks about where we are in life, catching up, laughter, and shared agony at the long drive. Kourtney taught me about her odd professional obsession (appliances) and I taught her all about the various types of ag we drove past. I taught her how to differentiate dairy from beef cattle, and classified the quality of the corn and soybeans we drove past. I tolerated her enthusiasm about washers, dryers, and microwaves, she quietly endured my corn-induced conniption fits.

I’ve been lucky to have so many true and devoted friends in my life. Kourtney exemplifies that blessing. For over a decade and a half, we have been friends through the best and worse times that either of us has experienced. And, wherever life takes each of us, we know that there is always a kindred spirit in one another. (Even if she DID make me cry in second grade because I did not have an American Girl doll, which meant I could not join her club…)

We made a lot of big milestones together, including going through all twelve years of public school together. We also broke our arms within 10 days of each other, had chicken pox together, and had our first boyfriends around the same time.

So, in closing…thank you, Kourtney, for caring enough to spend your reimbursement miles on me. Thank you for flying to a completely random city in a different state and time zone, to sit in the car with me for two days. Thank you for sharing the task of driving, and for spending two nights in strange hotels with me. Most of all, thank you for being a fantastic friend.


One thought on “Cross-Country Chronicles: Chillin’ with My Best Friend

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