2020’s quick appearance has me reminiscing about the adventures and friendships that made 2019 an astounding year. London was the most recent one, as most of you know, and the people I met there shaped my personal development. Our last night together paints a picture of the kindness I was blessed with when I became friends with my “gal pals.”

[Passage from the morning before I left]

We went to dinner last night at my favorite restaurant, Dishoom. Delilah and Caroline were 40 minutes late (if you know me at all, that means I was hungry and irritated). When they finally showed up my irritation was quickly replaced by happiness, as it’s hard to be anything but when I’m with them.

We took the tube home, the knowledge that our last night together was coming to an end made us seem almost loopy. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed on public transportation as hard as I did then.

When we reached the front door, Zehra stopped us. She asked C if she had “the stuff.” C nodded and proceeded to pull out a cap and gown, resting the cap on my head and opening the door. The room was covered in graduation decorations. D, Z and C cheered while I stood speechless in the doorway.

“I felt like you needed to celebrate this end because it’s a big deal,” Z said.

The girls explained how they pulled off the surprise (D and C were late because they were decorating while Z sat at Dishoom and distracted me). The rest of the night was filled with emotion and dancing that I’ll keep for my own memory. Some things are better left sacred.

I strongly believe there is a reason we cross paths with people. Whether it be to learn something about the world or ourselves, our energies are led in particular directions and sometimes we get lucky and run into people who touch us forever.

London is a beautiful city. It’s ever-changing, lively and diverse. I’m so grateful to call it my temporary home. But, the world didn’t lead me here just for London. It led me here to meet these forever friends. They taught me to expect the most from friendship and myself.

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Caroline taught me to smile even in the hardest situations. When her bag was stolen in Italy, she sat quietly and smiled. “It wasn’t the important stuff,” she responded. She’s the one who brings gifts when big things happen and tells you that you look cute in your boyfriend’s oversized shirt and pajama shorts. Her positivity is contagious.

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Delilah is sure of her feelings, even if they’re dramatic. I’ve learned that it’s okay to let myself feel. It’s okay to be angry or sad, negative feelings are just as important as positive ones. Her reassurance and support made me realize how much friends do for our mental states, and what I should expect from a friend when I make one.

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Zehra reminded me that I don’t need to have my life together, even if she does. For the girl who blogs for fun and has a hard time letting go of school, this was a very difficult lesson to learn. She’s taught me to see the best in people and believe in the positive energy that comes our way. She laughs easily and is quick to say yes to an adventure or favor for a friend. Her willingness to participate in life and seek out the best parts of it encourage me to do the same.

I’m not sure what I did to deserve the karma that brought me to these people, but I find myself wondering that every time I cross paths with a strong and brilliant woman. This time instead of wondering, I thank the universe. I thank the women for welcoming me into their lives, accepting me as I am and encouraging me to be a better version of myself. My semester was about personal growth, but in a new way. I learned to love people more deeply and accept their love as well. I’m not ready to say goodbye to my people, so I’m just going to say “until our next adventure.”