Thursday, August 18, 2011

Denise

Last but definitely not least. Denise Denise Denise. So much to write about I don't even know where to start. But I will probably start with Freshman year. 

I trudged up to Founders Hall, tired and sweaty, excited and scared, and without even a free hand to open the door of my new dorm room. I finally found Founders 214. I shoved myself into the door, half expecting it would somehow open with the sheer force of my weight. When it didn't, I just stood there sort of bemused, until someone who looked like they were in their early 20's opened the door. Denise's sister. 

I met Denise's sister Marissa and her Mom and Dad and other sister and essentially the entire posse that she had with her, and this was all good and fun until I realized how calm, cool, and collected Denise was. She was sitting at her desk, typing on her lap top and looking at Facebook as if this was the only thing left to do. Her Hello Kitty bed was made, with her Hello Kitty pillows, and her Hello Kitty lamp was set up, and there was her oh no...a Hello Kitty sticker on her laptop? It took about 10 seconds for the horror to set it. This girl was a Hello Kitty freak. 

As the year unfolded, however, I learned that underneath the Hello Kitty fanatic, Denise was an amazing person and great friend. And we had lots of fun in that tiny room in Founders 214. Her, Chelsea and I would have dance parties late at night, and one time they even got me to showcase my Michael Jackson moonwalk impression in my socks. They tolerated my singing and played pranks on me, and they snuck up sweets to our room when I wasn’t feeling up for any food from the Caf. And most memorable of all, they tried to help me become more of an adult.

Three years later, Denise still bullies me into studying with her and nags at me for all the unwashed clothes in my hamper. (Normally, nagging about my class schedule would be at the top of her list but most recently she was pleasantly surprised when she mentioned my class schedule and I told her it was already done.)

Ohhh and all these years later, Denise cares about me more than just a roommate, but as a best friend. We know each other extremely well, and have never had a problem staying close or in touch. I always laugh at Denise's Type A ways (why do I always seem to befriend the Type A people?), and she rolls her eyes at my sometimes airy ones. Whenever I go over to her house, which is on average about three times a day, she asks me if I've eaten yet and what papers I have due the next day. It never gets annoying...it just astounds me that she cares so much. 

Denise is such a good friend. Sometimes on Saturday mornings, I trudge over to her house, hungover and still in my pj's, hoping to just relax on her couch with a good movie and cup of tea. Instead, I find her executing her goals of the day, and encouraging me to do so as well. When I mumble something about not feeling well and this new movie being my only remedy, she rolls her eyes and gets back to work. But then, ten minutes in when the leading lady of the movie just lost her daughter in a car accident and I'm crying like the pathetic sap that I am, Denise drops everything she's doing and runs over to my side-wide eyed and concerned. 

I texted her the other day, explaining that my blog was taking a new direction, meaning this pattern of writing about people who have changed my life is coming to an end. Not because there aren’t tons more to write about, but because there are, and if I don’t put an end to this now, I have a feeling I would be content simply writing about people forever, especially people who have as big of a heart as Denise does. 

And so, Denise’s entry is the last entry…suggesting that perhaps there really is some truth to the phrase “saving the best for last.”

I love you Claire; let's go back to Spain and have Carlos call me dean and give you an A- in Spanish instead of an A. :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lauren

Lauren is just about as good as it gets.

We have that oh-how-I-miss-you-come-over-tonight-Ah-I'm-late-for-class-too-gotta-run-love-you kind of friendship. Every time we see each other on campus, it's like our birthdays have come early or something. I see Lauren, Lauren sees me, and we immediately hit all the big Life Highlights-what, if anything, has happened in our lives over the past hour, day, or week, and then off to class we go. Sometimes we walk with one another to the other one's class, even if it is out of the way, just so we can catch up for a bit more. More often than not this means I have to go near Olin Hall, which gives me extreme anxiety but for Lauren, it's a risk I'm willing to take.

Lauren is always positive. It doesn't matter if she has three accounting tests that day, or if she can't find her phone, or if she hasn't had a chance to eat yet and it's 4 pm, Lauren is positive. She is always smiling, and asks me how my day is going as if my problems are the only thing in the world she has to worry about. So I babble on about this or that and Lauren just smiles and listens. Halfway through retelling my melodrama of the day I realize I haven't yet asked her how her day is going, and when I do, Lauren just heaves a sigh of relief and says something like "oh I'm tired but it's almost over." And then she keeps on smiling.

So besides these plethora of qualities that are compassion, trustworthiness, and positivity, Lauren also happens to be absolutely brilliant. You would never know how smart Lauren is because she doesn't ever talk about her fabulous G.P.A. or act like she knows it all, but actually, she knows it all. She knows accounting backwards and forwards, upside down and inside out. She is patient when I try so so hard to understand the differences between cost and tax and managerial and financial...stuff...and although it always seems to go over my head, I know one thing for sure-that Lauren is really really smart and really really good at not making me feel stupid, which I have come to appreciate.

Lastly, Lauren understands a lot about life. We talk on the phone almost everyday, and have these amazing discussions that can only accurately be described as life chats, or philosophizing. We are very good philosophers when we are working together, and always seem to draw these grand, universal conclusions that fall under a realm of "just the way things are." We have learned so much about each other over the past three years, and our similarities have created an unexpected yet extremely close bond between Head-In-The-Clouds-Writer and Organized-Genius-Accountant.

At this point, I am thinking that I will probably never meet anybody else like Lauren. She is so supportive of all my dreams, and we applaud each other's accomplishments as if they were our own. We never get sick of each other, and she has yet to conclude that I am this kind of a dreaming, hopeless romantic, idealistic writer type, even though she knows me better than most.

Lauren Ashley Hare, I love you and your perfect nose and your fast car and your ginormous Juicy bag more than you know, and I truly admire you. Even though there was that one time you manipulated me into helping you get rid of a dead crow, in my opinion you are just about the closest thing to a perfect friend and person. And when life throws someone like you my way, I can't help but smile and think that you are, in short, simply as good as it gets.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Katie

I never thought I would find another girl in college who also loved babies, kittens, pandas, puppies, cookies, and gushy romantic movies (in that order) as much as I do. Then I met Katie Ball.

Katie is a best friend for many reasons. She is loyal and smart, funny, generous, compassionate, and extremely trustworthy. She is unbelievably supportive, and truly wants the best for me and all of her friends. It just so happens that she also wants the best for babies, kittens, pandas, puppies, etc. We discovered our similarities and almost immediately, a great friendship was born.

Freshman year I didn't get the chance to know Katie very well, because of different circles of friends and eventually different sororities. I had heard of her though, and we had had a few run-ins where we were introduced to each other. With time, we became those two girls at a party in the bathroom, gushing to each other about how badly we needed to get lunch and how good of friends we knew we would one day become.

As fate would have it, that day came, and life has never been the same. Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but it feels so good to know there is someone who almost always resonates with my feelings and emotions. If I start tearing up at a movie, I can be certain Katie and her beautiful blue eyes are blinking back some tears as well. If there is a baby playing on the beach, it's only a matter of who spots the baby first until we both have huge smiles on our faces. If I get made fun of for anything, Katie is there, defending me as best as her kind personality will allow for...even if she has to explain why I am entitled to an entire plate of cookies all to myself, or why I have trouble understanding a game that has been explained to me a million times throughout the night.  Not to mention, she might be one of the few people I know who is jealous of the picture of an Anne Geddes baby (in a strawberry costume) that I have on my debit card.

Katie and I have had some unforgettable moments together, and we both have watched each other glow with that laugh-until-it-hurts kind of happiness. We've been to the zoo, failed exams, had way too much red wine and eaten way too much chocolate, traveled Europe's most treasured cities, and have helped each other grow into the people that we are today. There are just a few times in a month or a year even when you are so happy that it feels like sunshine could just spill right out of you and all over the table and onto the people that you are with, and when I've had these moments, Katie has been there, spilling her sunshine too.

She was there at Oktoberfest, when everyone in the world gathered together to "raise their glass" in celebration of internationality and youth and life. She was there in Paris, when I lived off a strict diet of crepes and chocolate croissants; or when we met Richard and were instantly charmed by his accent and fabulous perspective on traveling, drinking, and French women. And she was there in Madrid, during one lazy day in the park, when all we did was stare at the sky until it rained and rained and rained and we were forced to leave, screaming and running away like kids in the damp grass.

There could not have been a more perfect person to share all of these memories with than Katie Ball. She is genuine, passionate, and radiates this kind of wholesome goodness that most people lose once they hit a certain age. Katie has not yet lost this, nor will she ever, because that's what makes her so special, and that's what makes her my best friend.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Carly

Everybody has that friend who tells it like it is. This is the friend that tells you when you look kind of bad, that asks you who you are kidding, he doesn't really love you; this is the friend that says hey it's about time you returned my eleven jackets that you have. This is the friend that says things that you don't always want to hear, but she ultimately pushes you to be the best you that you can be.

This friend is Carly. Well, best friend actually, but it wasn't always like that. I remember the first night the group of us all arrived in Madrid, and, having plans to go out together, we were supposed to meet at the metro station at 11pm on the dot. No one had working cell phones yet, so up to that point we were all communicating via Facebook only. Whether or not we would all actually meet up with each other in the middle of Madrid on this first night depended solely on whether or not people would actually be on time.

I, of course, was late, and made the group I was with late as well. It wasn't my fault exactly, but I guess that doesn't matter now. I remember glancing at my watch and realizing it was at least forty minutes past eleven. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Nicole and Alyssa and Breezy, all smiling their politely annoyed smiles, but Carly is the one who specifically made an impression on me: "Dude, you're like, at least a half hour late! We have been waiting here forever, we almost left without you guys. Soooo annoying Nads, come on!"

Things took a turn for the better though. Carly and I had a morning class together, and got in the habit of getting coffee after class at the nearby Starbucks. I just love thinking about all those times we sat by the windows, freezing as we warmed our hands on the hot coffee in front of us. She always made fun of me for my pre-packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and we just sat there in Madrid by the window laughing and chatting and reading.

And slowly but surely, I became credible. When I would go over to the girls' house, I would be at least ten minutes early, sometimes even more. I would meet her exactly where I said I would meet her, at exactly the place we had discussed. And slowly but surely, Carly and I became great friends. We discovered that we actually had some similarities, but also laughed our differences. We talked about future plans, travel plans, life plans, and it eventually dawned on me that Carly is someone who I have a lot of respect for.

Today, Carly complements me. She is one-hundred percent, by definition, intrinsically, inevitably, invariably, Type A. She is organized, clean, and always a few minutes early; she leads a regimented life and likes it like that. She is competitive and intelligent, which is the perfect combination for that stellar GPA. Sometimes I come home and my bed has been made, clothes on the floor have been folded neatly in a pile, and my books have been stacked...she says messes stress her out and I'm not complaining.

The best part about Carly is that she knows I am basically her opposite and she still loves me for it. I am pretty careless and sometimes carefree; I stress about things that are unimportant and have no sense of urgency. I will spend hours doing nothing and just watch Carly slowly grow more agitated, and then when I panic and scramble to get things done at the last minute, I can just hear Carly in my head, clicking her tongue in annoyance. I like Type A people though, because they have what I do not have, and Carly's and my differences are essentially the reason why we are such a functional pair.

At the end of the day there is no denying that Carly is a person who I look up to and admire. There are things so deeply instilled in Carly that I wish I could say I had; she has such a clear idea of what is right and wrong and absolutely cannot stand to see anybody she cares about be treated unfairly. She knows herself and her values better than anyone I've ever met, and if any situation arises where a friend is taken advantage of, you can be sure Carly is there, reprimanding the person who did the hurting.

This is because Carly is a do good-er. She wants the best for people she loves, and for people she doesn't love, well, that's karma. I admire her boldness and candor, and am so thankful to have that little bundle of fire in my life, because being around her reminds me why she is my best friend: Carly pushes me to be a better me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lindsay

With graduation looming around the corner, I figured now was finally the right time to recognize someone who has been very important to me throughout these college years-my big, Lindsay.

I know that when people hear "big sis, little sis" they often dismiss the relationship as some superficial buddying up system that sororities incorporate so that new girls can feel comfortable and older girls can be responsible and provide guidance. With Lindsay and I, it has been so, so much more than that. Lindsay is not just a shoulder to cry on and the perfect person to Bernie with, but truly an amazing person and a best friend.

Champagne brunch freshman year is where it all happened. I don't remember too much about that day, but the good stuff I do remember, and unofficially becoming Lindsay's little was huge. Champagne bottle in each hand (thank you, Likens) I stumbled up to her and confessed my love for her, only to have the exact same thing said back to me, as she revealed the secret that Andre was our family drink. I knew this meant more celebration was on the way, and a few hours later, I was officially being escorted out of the building (thank you, Enz). Lindsay screamed, "that is SO my little!" and the perfect match was made.

Since then, Lindsay and I have only grown closer. She's one of those people that is everyones best friend, but has somehow always made time for her two littles. Everybody loves Lindsay and knows how lucky they are to have her smiling face around all the time, or even better, to get some dance floor time with her at the Comber. She has such a positive outlook on  life and her attitude is infectious, not to mention she is constantly keeping people laughing at her....dare I say it...clumsy tendencies. (It's ok Linds, like big, like little). She is quirky and fun, and has come to embrace who she is in a way that only attracts people to her. If I could be half the big to my little that Lindsay was to me, I would feel very very happy.

Linds, the best feeling in the world is when people ask me who my big is and then I say "Lindsay Reuben!" and then they say, oh yeah that makes sense, everybody loves Lindsay. It reminds me how lucky Megs and I are to have had you as such a great friend and support system throughout these years. You have given me some of the best advice anyone could ask for, brought me cookie dough on some of my rainiest days, kept our sorority family together, and of course, shaped me into the person I am today. I have no idea how to thank you for all of these things, but I hope this blog post sheds just a little bit of light on how much I am going to miss you, how much we are all going to miss you...and I mean it from the bottom of my heart when I say I really could not have asked for a better big.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blake

Blake probably has no idea that I have a blog. And if he does have any idea, he definitely hasn't read it. That aside, Blake deserves to be written about.

He and I have an interesting friendship. He is very, very good at antagonizing me publicly, and when we see each other on campus, it often begins with him shouting in a creepy, deep voice, "DEAN," and ends with me waving him off, rolling my eyes, or walking away. One time, at Paloma's busiest hour, Blake thought it was neither inappropriate nor untimely to shout, across the sea of people, how my love life is going and if I have been "getting some." My jaw dropped and I gave him a you-did-not-just-do-that look, which only encouraged his continued questioning: "Come on teeny deanie. You can tell me anything!"

He also has a million other nicknames for me, which he knows I hate being called, such as deanbo, nadine, deanbean, nadie, deanface, and of course, his all time favorite: naugghhtttyyy time. Blake thinks it's especially hilarious to call me that last one in front of people who I don't know, and it always results in me shouting, "Are you serious!? Shut UP!" and him laughing as he congratulates himself on providing yet another embarrassing moment for me.

At this point, it should be obvious that Blake and I have a love-hate relationship. Because as much as Blake drives me insane, I wouldn't write about him unless I truly loved having him in my life. Blake cares about me a lot and I know he always wants the best for me, as I do for him. And, although I hate to admit it, Blake and I have some similar, winning qualities such as our inability to know what's going on ever, really, or our tendency to (under certain circumstances) sometimes behave like ten year olds. One time at a bar in Barcelona he wouldn't leave me alone until I tied his shoe...


At the end of the day, however, Blake is a very good friend and sometimes weirdly like an older brother. When he gets on my nerves really really badly, he reminds me that he only does it because he loves me and I think that is probably true. He would never let me walk home alone...well ok, he would let me walk home alone but he also would at least provide a jacket so that I don't freeze on the way there. And I know that if I ever needed Blake for anything, he would do his best to be there. Unless he was in the middle of purchasing sunglasses or something that glows, in which case my emergency would just have to wait.

Blake has a huge heart and, despite his six foot frame, is such a kind, gentle person on the inside. I admire him not only for his individuality but also his great sense of humor and carefree attitude towards life. I am so glad I became friends with Blake, and know that as much as I hate his nicknames and jokes, I'd miss him so much if I suddenly stopped seeing him every day.

 Blakey, you really are the best, and I love you from here to Ibiza and back.

Literalllll fooooooooool.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nicole

Nicole I know you are going to hate me for flattering you publicly like this but it has to be done and I'm sorry.

I try to avoid using cliches in my writing because I think they are corny and insincere, but Nicole is one of those people who really is beautiful on the inside and on the outside. I remember being struck by how stunning she was when I first met her freshman year, and after spending a mere twenty minutes around her, she seemed shy and maybe even a little stuck up...so I decided I would probably not like this girl Nicole very much.

My first impression could not have been any further from the truth. As I grew closer to Nicole, it became obvious that Nicole is one of those people who has absolutely no idea how gorgeous she is, no matter how many times we tell her or how many heads turned every time we walked into a club in Spain. When you first meet her, she is somewhat quiet and low key, which I initially mistook for conceited and rude. Looking back I find it hilarious that I was so wrong...Nicole is such a humble, incredible person to her very core, and is intelligent and funny and extremely genuine in everything she does.

Suffice it to say, I admire Nicole for a lot of things. First, I admire her for pursuing the things that she loves. She has a great eye for interior decorating, and has done a lot of really neat stuff around her cute beach house to spice it up a bit. She also has a keen awareness for what to/what not to wear, which especially came in handy when we were living together Sophomore year. Which takes me to my next point; I admire Nicole for her gentleness. Instead of saying, "Are you serious!? You can't wear that! That's terrible!" Nicole would  give me one of those half smiles and say, "Hey Nads I think I have something that might work better." She is gentle in everything she does, and I have never seen her raise her voice or get upset, even when Keke burned down our microwave, or when I accidentally ate cookies that were meant for Chris.

The thing that I find Nicole most admirable for is her self-awareness. She knows exactly who she is and acknowledges that she is by no means perfect. We always have great chats laughing about how sometimes we wish we were a little bit more involved in certain things, or that sometimes our heads are just a little too far up in the clouds. She is one of my best friends and someone who I cherish seeing everyday, and Nicole has been there for me in more ways than I could ever explain. We have had some of the best talks about blogs and fashion and getting your own .com website before someone else takes it, but more importantly, Nicole has taught me about love and life and loyalty and friendship.

I will never forget how easy it was for Nicole and I to blow away hours and hours at the Faborit coffee shop in Madrid, talking endlessly about our future and where we are going to be in our lives years from now. As I stared at the swirls on the top of my coffee I remember that blissful feeling taking over me; the one that only good coffee and an even better friend can bring. And although we have no idea what our futures hold, I am certain that somewhere in the world, I will have unforgettable chats about life with Nicole in a coffee shop.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sarah

When I met Sarah Marshall freshman year I didn't know what to think. I probably used the standard, "Oh that's funny, like the movie!" phrase that pretty much everyone says when they first meet her, but I can't really remember how it all happened. What I do remember after meeting Sarah was being very very afraid. Very afraid. Then I learned her nickname was "princess," which increased my fears by about tenfold.

I have often wondered what it is about Sarah Marshall that makes her so intimidating. For awhile I thought it was those perfectly feathered bangs and shiny hair, combined with fabulous cowboy boots and that confident, I-am-Sarah-Marshall-stare... Then I thought maybe it's her personality-one that exudes certainty and contentment and poise, and makes you wonder if she has ever cried a day in her life. As Sarah and I became closer friends however, I made a revolutionary discovery. Beneath that layer of Total Badass, Sarah is made of generosity, loyalty, compassion, and has a heart of absolute gold.

With Sarah, it's the little things. It's the way she returns from school to find me napping in her queen size bed, and instead of waking me up or shuffling around, she silently hops in bed and watches TV on her computer while I sleep. It's the way she drops everything to ask me how my day was if I even have a hint of a frown on my face, it's the way she always has a glass of red wine waiting, and the way I can borrow any article of clothing or pair of shoes without even thinking twice. With Sarah, it's the way she cancels plans and ditches Boyfriend to stay in and watch Sleepless in Seattle with me on a rainy night-even when I tell her it's inevitable that I will cry at the end.

Sarah and I are very different-for one, she is a great listener. She lets me talk talk talk talk talk while she laughs and makes dinner. She is nowhere near as outgoing as I am when she first meets people, and, unlike me, is careful about who she lets into her close circle of friends. However, once you're in, you're in and there's no going back. She may not say it, but she will be there for you forever. She will always take care of you, whether you need her to pick you up somewhere late at night or bail you out of jail. She may not write sappy blog posts or "ok love you!!!" at the end of every text, but she is someone who truly believes in the constant and undying power of friendship.

If you have somone like Sarah in your life, then you know there is a certain warm and fuzzy, beer buzzy sunshine feeling that comes with such a special friendship. It's called feeling incredibly incredibly lucky.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Trevor

When I had this idea, I knew he would be the easiest person to write about. Trevor's personality is simply one of a kind. He is the most mellow, patient, and caring person I've ever met. His quick wit and sarcasm always have people laughing, and he is a treasure to have around. He is sincere in everything he does, and has a genuine desire to make people feel at ease.

Trevor is one of those people that you meet and instantly know you will become close friends. We met early freshman year and have since been there for each other in many ways...I trust him with anything. Some of my best college memories are with him-vacations, summer trips, BBQ's in his backyard, breakfasts at Olive, late night Spain adventures and groggy early morning classes.

My favorite memory with Trevor is one that perfectly characterizes our friendship. It was sophomore year, and I was having one of those days where from the moment you wake up, everything goes wrong. I was flustered as I ran into him somewhere on campus that morning, and he could tell I was upset.

Trevor is not one of those people who flood you with attention, constantly asking, "Are you ok!? What's wrong!" Instead, Trevor's offers are always simple, and fall along the lines of, "Hey Nad wanna talk?" or "Text me," or, if those two don't work, he usually resorts to a hug. On this particular morning it was, "Wanna get lunch after class?"

I distinctly remember hopping into his Jeep and exchanging few words, preferring to listen to some music. We hadn't even made it past Linda Vista before I burst into tears.

Instead of cracking a joke or uncomfortably shifting in his seat, he just let me wallow in my own self pity for a little while and patted my arm in a sort of there there it's all going to be okay kind of way. I pulled myself together as his car drove in towards the Chipotle parking lot...halfway through my burrito bowl, I realized how much better I was already feeling. I talked, he listened, offered some advice, made a joke about how gross it is that I love so much sour cream on my rice, and we headed back to school.

As I trudged up the hill to my next class, I remember thinking that when it is merely someone's presence that has the power to turn your day around, that is when you know you have found a life long best friend.

You're a gem Trevor Gray.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Allie

Everyone who knows Allie absolutely adores her. It is no coincidence that her last name is Bright, because she brings sunshine wherever she goes and always puts a smile on any face she encounters along the way. I'm lucky enough to have Allie as a roommate and a best friend, and know that she is someone who truly has made a special mark on the person I am today.

When I think of Allie, I think of music and adventure and oatmeal and enchanting blue eyes. On mornings when we have the same class schedule, we both play a game of who-can-sleep-in-the-longest-until-the-other one-wakes-up. Recently, I have been the one to drag her little blonde self out of bed, but our Sophomore year Allie was always croaking, "Nads! You have ten minutes till class!" from her pathetic tiny top bunk. We are a funny pair-she's always hot, I'm always cold, she loves camping and hiking and peanut butter; I love reading and cupcakes and hot chocolate.

But best of all, Allie is patient and understanding. Even when I turn up the heat in our house without telling her and she wakes up in the morning "sweating," she can only be mad at me for about ten seconds before skipping down the stairs to eat her waffle. She has an incredible outlook on life and wants the best for everyone around her, including insects and animals and even elderly people who she doesn't know. We recently went abroad and managed to remain as close as we've always been, despite the 10 hour time difference and her frequent travels with beautiful men with accents (also known as kiwis)!

There is one specific instance with Allie which stands out in my mind. All of my friends were out traveling for the week, and my trip didn't start until a few days later, so I was on my own in Madrid for a couple days. One of the nights when I was feeling lonely and sorry for myself, I went on Facebook and mesaged Allie, explaining that all of my and the world's problems would be solved if only I could see her pretty face. Within fifteen minutes, she was on Skype and had me cracking up about her adventures in New Zealand, telling of all of the crazy, wonderful things she was doing and people she had met.

A few months later at Recruitment, we were all sitting in a circle together, and each girl went around sharing a special story they have had with a friend in Alpha Phi. Brittany talked about how many times Allie was there for her during our abroad experience, and that even when Allie couldn't be on Skype, she found other ways to be there for us. Brittany told us about one day in particular- she had grown extremely homesick, and emailed Allie that she was upset and needed someone to be there for her. Allie was off traveling for the weekend, but managed to get on a computer for a few minutes to help Brittany out.

All she wrote was, "Sorry Brit, wish I could be there for you. Go take a walk, and listen to 'Keep it Loose Keep it Tight' by Amos Lee." That small phrase and kind suggestion was all Brittany needed to get her day going; all she needed was Allie's reminder that there was someone out there in the universe who cared.

This story epitomizes Allie. She doesn't just go out of her way to be there for one or two people-she is there for anybody, whenever and wherever they need her. She has a million friends, and she gives her whole heart to every single one of them. She'll drop whatever it is that she's doing to share a cup of coffee or take a walk on the beach, and getting to know Allie has been one of the best things that has happened to me at USD.

On the phone the other day, my mom called Allie a special "star." Resisting my tempation to bash her totally predictable cliche, I laughed and agreed with her. The funny thing is, Mom is completely wrong, because actually, Allie shines brighter than all of the stars combined.

Love you baby kiwi...xx