After we graduated from Hope in 2009 I moved back to Indiana and Lani headed to South America. She's worked in different countries and with different organizations, but has always been making a huge impact on the world around her by loving people well and using her life to make a difference.
Our paths haven't crossed until tonight. She's back in the US for a few months and has made a cross country road trip. We overlapped in Holland on Tuesday night and we had to see each other. We haven't seen each other in 7 years, a thousand things have changed, but somehow it's like we're still the same.
Not only did I get to see Lani, but we got to hang out with Emily Scatterday (who is the other person responsible for my introduction to YL), her husband Brad and Leigh Austin (one of the funniest and sweetest people you will ever meet). We went to New Holland Brewery, a favorite Holland spot, had a Royal Spoil of artichoke dip from Leigh, Lani got to eat veggies and I devoured my pepperoni pizza.
We talked about what our lives look like today and told stories from our time together at Hope. I laughed till I cried and I felt so embraced by these old friends. I'm so thankful that these girls became a part of my life years and years ago and that they had a role in shaping in who I am. This time with them was such a gift.
I'm spending Thanksgiving break with my parents in Holland and my nephew Redford. Katie, Nick and Linc are driving all the way to New Hampshire to be with our grandma for the holiday. Wednesday started with a breakfast date at the Rainbow Grill with Dean, Linda and Grandma Jo (Nick's family) and we passed off Redford to be with them for the next couple days.
I toured Hope and downtown Holland today with mom and dad and saw all of our favorite spots. While standing in Phelps I saw KRose (my SIB mom who now works in admissions), then Anne (a younger SIB) and then Holly (who I met at Michindoh when she was on work crew)--such a small world and so many great people at Hope. Of course we had to pay a visit to Ellen and leave a note on Katie's desk in Dewitt too.
Tonight we had a late birthday celebration at the home of my parents' friends Kathy and Steve, their parents and daughter. We had a delicious dinner, great conversation and a dessert of berry cobbler that I think I could happily eat every single day.