Sunday, March 11, 2012

"I just love you so dang much"

Most days, I feel like living in Indianapolis means I'm living in a big city. Compared to the two stop light, cornfield dominated, out in the middle of nowhere town where I grew up, Indianapolis is huge. But after school Friday, I drove through Chicago--the real big city of the Midwest.

I came to visit Sarah Briggs, one of my very best friends, this weekend. I still miss living with her everyday, so these trips are crucial to our mental health. After surviving driving up Lake Shore Drive, spotting Fitz's apartment building, soaking up the vibe of the very hipster Kafeine coffee house and reading more of Divergent, I was reunited with Sar. We quickly ate dinner and then headed to the Manestary for their bi-annual house party of friends. It's an eclectic gathering of the nine-roommates friends; people from church, Young Life, Northwestern, art school, and high school all gathered together.

Sarah, Kaitlyn and I hung out for most of the time until we broke away with the guys to go get milkshakes from Portillo's.

One of Ben's friends is an artist and is always drawing people in his little notebook. He started drawing Sar at the end of the night. I didn't want to be left out in the art competition so I got more paper and pens so Ben, Kaitlyn and I could draw too. Sar really liked being stared at.

Late that night, we got back to the house Sar is living in right now. She gave me the grand tour of the house- flowered wallpaper, cheetah carpet, gallery of boat pictures, antique microwave and bedspreads that match the ceiling. Seeing everything was fun but the best part was just having time to talk until we feel asleep.

In Cold Tangerines when Shauna writes about the Puppies, she says that when she goes back to visit them in Chicago they go to breakfast at Egg Harbor. So because Shauna goes to Egg Harbor I want to go to Egg Harbor too. Ben picked us up in the morning because he didn't want to miss breakfast at one of his favorite places or time with Sar and Sar.

We got to color the eggs on our menus while we waited for french toast, eggs, potatoes, English muffins, bacon and coffee. The rooster decour wasn't quite what I had imagined but it's fun to think that this is where Shauna goes with her favorite girls.

But the best part of breakfast was Annie Fazzio's arrival. She drove up from Elmhurst to spend part of the day with us. I was so excited to see her I had to run outside when she got there.

It was such a gift to spend the day with two of my favorite people in the world. Annie and Sarah are two of the people who just really get me. I can totally be myself around them and know that they love me unconditionally.

I wanted to just do really normal Saturday kind of things together, so we tried to make this paper-mache like craft with string and balloons that we'd seen on Pinterest. You just need balloons, cotton yarn and glue.

After soaking the string in glue, we wrapped it around each balloon... round and round and round until it was almost covered all the way.

After the string dries we'll pop the balloons and pull out the pieces so only the string remains in the balloon shape. The examples online are really cool but we've also seen plenty of failed attempts. We're crossing our fingers that it works.

I wish I could spend every afternoon just hanging out with Annie and Sar--crafting, visiting fun shops, telling stories, asking questions, laughing hard and having adventures.

Annie teaches me about being dependable, how to celebrate everyday, being honest, caring for others hopes and struggles like you would your own, loving people so much you freak out when you don't talk to them often enough and making each day creative.

Sar shows me how to love others selflessly, lead by example, to follow your dreams even when it's scary, to run after Christ, to stand up for what's right, to live with joy even if your circumstances aren't ideal and how to prioritize friendships above all the stuff of life. They are friends that I want to be like.

We met up with friends Katherine, Benny and Ben for dinner at Blue Stone. I like being able to get a glimpse of what Sar's life is like here and to become weekend friends with all of her people.

We had game night at Brian and Rachel's house. They're also Young Life staff and the Jon and Annie of the North Shore. I love community like this where people invite you into their home and everyone is so comfortable with each other. We played Hullabaloo, one of my new favorites, and Taboo, a classic word game, and laughed a lot.

In the morning Sar and I got coffee and went to Grace church where she has a church partnership through Young Life. She leads Sunday School and the youth group every week. This Sunday we got to go to the park across the street to swing and hang out in the church basement until the service started. I had to leave right after communion. It was sad to leave Sar behind and I wanted to just bring her in my car with me back to Indiana for awhile.

On the way home I took a detour in Oakbrook to meet up with some Camp T CILTs for lunch. I get to hang out with kids in Indy on a pretty regular basis but all of these Chicago friends I see way less often.

We had to wait for a table for awhile which was fine because that meant we all got to hang out and be kind of ridiculous together. Maeve proposed to Chris, Tina tried to get everyone to act like birds and we attacked each new friend as they arrived.

Annie and Tina were CILTs two summers ago and I love that we're all still part of each other's lives. The fun, faith and friendships of summer camp don't only happen during the summer but last all year long. I love that Annie and Tina are getting ready for their second summer on Day Camp staff, returning so they can give kids the same experience they had.

I'm so glad I got to see Caitlin, Tina, Annie, Rachel, Chris, Christa, Katie, Mary, Sarah, Nina and Maeve on my way back home. The last CILT reunion was only a week ago but I was already excited to see everyone. I don't know if you can ever get tired of camp friends.

Annie and I made our first trade of the Camp T Trading Cards card game. Almost all of the cards have been distributed now. I know this game is so weird, but it's really fun.

This weekend was what I want my life to be about--overlapping with the people I love. It seems that more and more people are realizing just how important friendships are. It's a priority for so many of us to connect and then to stay connected overtime. We schedule weekend visits, write letters, Skype late at night, book flights, make it part of our weekly schedule to hang out, call to catch up while we're driving and send mass text updates of our lives.

When I was younger I didn't realize what a difference it makes to be continually surrounded by people that love you well, that encourage you in your faith, that inspire you, who help you to live life well and support you in being the best version of yourself all the time. And as important as it is to find friends like this, I think it's also just as important that you learn to be this kind of friend to the people around you.

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