The sun, the sand, the sea...and us three!
"for whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it's always ourselves we find in the sea" - e.e. cummings
"the cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea" - Isak Dinesen
"I love my friends neither with my heart nor with my mind. Just in case...my heart might stop. My mind may forget. I love them with my soul. My soul never stops or forgets" - Rumi
All of these quotes sum up so perfectly how I've been feeling lately. This post isn't going to be embedded with sage wisdom or earth shattering advice. I'm not going to stress over it's length or it's composure - rather it's going to encompass what we initially envisioned when Allison proposed the title of the blog....something I have been loving lately!! For me these past few weeks it's been simple: friendship. So this post is all about the celebration, and necessity, of one's best friends. Of girl time. Of escaping reality. Of refreshing your soul.
As you all know, it was a rough fall into winter. Hell, it's been a rough past few years, but October 2017- mid February 2018 was particularly rough. Prior to this fall I honestly didn't think my PTSD or anxiety could get much worse. Let me tell you - I was wrong. But none of that mattered when I stepped on a plane to Bourne, Massachusetts on February 15th to be reunited with my roommates from my study abroad program in Turks and Caicos, my best girls, for 5 straight nights!
Jill, Maria and I were fortunate enough to land on the small & remote island of South Caicos on February 1st, 2010 and be roommates for just over 3 months (Room 3 FOREVER!) 8 years and 2 weeks later we got to celebrate our friendship and relive what it was like to be inseparable roommates again. For those of you who don't know - ours wasn't a stereotypical study abroad program, nor did we have a stereotypical study abroad living situation. There were roughly 30 of us in the program and we lived on a marine research center. Think research station meets summer camp. There were 4 girls to a room, in bunk beds, with the closet about the size of a small pantry (shared amongst 4 girls) and one shelf each. We had fresh water once a week (yes, you read that correctly) and the rest of the time we took sea baths in the Caribbean with biodegradable soap. We washed our clothes in the Caribbean with biodegradable detergent. There was barely any internet. We had no phones. Half of our classes were in the ocean itself with underwater clipboards. We were together 24/7. All meals were eaten together. All classes were together. There were 2 or 3 bars on the island and 2 or 3 common areas at school so all socializing was together. You get the gist...we were always together.
We are all 3 very different, yet very similar, people. The bond we formed, almost immediately, was unbreakable. Not many people can spend 3 straight months with the same people 24/7 and not get sick of each other. Not many girls can have a best friend TRIO without there being drama, jealously, or someone feeling left out. For us...this was never an issue. We were always just Room 3. Kelly, Maria and Jill. It always has, and always will, work. We shared the most incredible, unique and life changing experience together. When we left, it truly felt like our hearts were shattering to pieces. We have all kept in touch, visited each other, gone to each others weddings, etc. And when we were all together again it felt like absolutely no time had passed, even though we hadn't seen Maria in over 3 years!
To say this extended reunion came at a perfect time for me would be the understatement of the century. To be honest - I was nervous about going due to all that had transpired with Mike's health and all of my own mental health battles. Mike, being the sweetest and most supportive spouse ever, told me that literally unless he was dead not to worry about a thing and to go. While I was away, my anxiety was non-existent. I took zero anxiety or sleeping medication. In fact, I slept like a baby. I felt so content. So relaxed. We did so much during our days - exploring the local brewery, doing a wine tasting, hitting up all things marine centered (the Woods Hole aquarium, the New Bedford Whaling museum) and even checked out Plymouth Rock. We ate delicious food, drank our fair share of wine, got pedicures, took long walks on the beach and enjoyed the sunshine (that Maria brought all the way from California!) We talked non-stop, yet still managed to enjoy moments of silence. We reminisced. I opened up to the girls and as usual they showered me with support. Jill went above and beyond and was an amazing hostess. She cooked us fantastic meals, stocked her fridge with our favorite foods and drinks, drove us to do all the things and overall just pampered us. It was like staying at a 5 star spa. Jill, thank you doesn't even begin to cover it!
My point in all of this is to cherish your girlfriends. Make the time to see each other, spend the money to go visit them wherever they may be. No matter how much your life may be spinning out of control, don't let it stop you. Bear your soul, let those who care for you help shoulder your burdens. And while you're at it - get outside. Move more. Turn your face up towards the sun and your heart out towards the sea. Laugh so hard it hurts. Blare that music and dance so crazily that you run out of breath. Relish in those around you. Don't underestimate the healing power of a girls getaway.
1 universe. 9 planets. 204 countries. 809 islands. 7 seas. And I had the pleasure of meeting you girls.