My best friend Katie

//Two of my closest friends coincidentally have birthdays a week apart, this isn’t going to be a recurring thing//

You have to meet all the good friends you can when you’re in college, I think, because afterwards, it’s pretty tough. (Like, how even do introverts find each other outside of school!?)

I feel lucky, then, I was able to meet Katie before my senior year of undergrad.

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How did you meet?

I guess how we didn’t meet was at the introductory meeting of our summer study abroad trip. Katie was the only person missing. I remember thinking “I can’t believe someone is missing the pre-travel meeting about an international trip a couple of days away!”

Katie & I both did a three week study abroad through the English department to study Shakespeare. I was filling my Shakespeare requirement as an English major (in the best way possible) and Katie was studying acting & directing and loves Shakespeare. We would spend two weeks in England watching plays and one week in Italy ‘taking in the country’ that Shakespeare wrote about. (At the time I this made total sense to me; retrospectively, I think our professors wanted to go to Italy for a week every year).

Before our flight, one of the two professors leading the trip also hosted a little get-together at his house. So this was actually the first time I met Katie. (And notably, the first time  I had smoked salmon with a boiled egg on toast—thanks, Dr. Parolin!).  She looked like one of the cool kids. I remember she was wearing purple flats that I thought looked nice. I vaguely remember introducing ourselves to each other. Maybe. And I if that is a true memory, I think it went something like this:

“Oh! You’re the Katie that missed the introductory meeting!” (real tactful, Jacklynn).

Slightly embarrassed Katie: “Yeah…That was bad, wasn’t it? Did he say anything? Was he mad?”

“No, I think he was more confused.”

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What was your first impression of them?

Besides the small talk that may or may not have happened, my real first impression of her was at the airport gate. And it still wasn’t even really talking to her. I was sitting next to my professor, my department head, and she was sitting on the other side of him. We joke about this now, but I have the utmost respect for my professors never attempted to treat them like equals. I clam up and am even more shy and awkward than normal. When my professor sat down next to me, I immediately stiffened and filled with anxiety like: “HOW CAN I BE THE BEST AT WAITING FOR AN AIRPLANE?” 

Katie joined us on the other side of my professor, there was bubbly”good to see you again!” excitement from both parties. They immediately launched into best bud conversation. Not even just chatting, but personal chatting. I was completely baffled. Katie was talking about a previous relationship and my professor was giving her comforting advice based on his past experience. What? Waht. This was a completely foreign interaction to me. Who was this woman who knew my professor so well? Was she even our age? I questioned whether she was even a student or not. I wanted to meet someone who could be friends with a person of authority.

What stood out to you about them?

We didn’t hang out constantly on the trip, but when we did we got along well. When we hung out there was always a lot of laughing. Katie is very sweet, eager to make friends and get to know people. Like really get to know them. She is infamous in my mind for immediately asking personal questions (and of course being ready to offer her own story in detail too). She is so much more out-going than me and was prepared to actually follow up with “let’s hang out sometime’s” when we got back to the United States.

Katie is unlike most of the friends I’d ever had up into this point. I usually hung out with other shy artistic introverts, but Katie is energetic, open, and bold. She is more socially sensitive and more feeling than the people I’d met up into this point. She is a very good and thoughtful friend who has made me a better person for knowing her. She taught me to be kinder and more generous. She’s always thinking about her friends and family and how she can make them happier or support them.

How did you become good friends?

I am most comfortable with one-on-one interactions. It’s a must if you ever expect to really get to know me. I remember just going to her apartment in Laramie to after we got back to talk about my then-relationship. Katie was the first friend I met outside my undergrad friend circle. I knew she would be an understanding person to talk to and an unbiased third party to advise on the situation. And she was. Anyway, that was my attempt to test the friendship waters. Although, was I mistaken that she had a Gilmore Girls DVD boxset? Small red flag there. :)

We had a good post-graduation summer. We almost moved to Portland. I think we lived in New York together for about 4 months. We have a group chat where we talk to each other nearly every day. There was no choice but to be good friends.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy birthday, Katie. You know when it was.

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