Jennifer and I have been friends for almost 12 years. We met our freshman year of college and became fast friends. We quickly discovered that our birthdays were exactly 1 day apart (although Jen is a year older), so for exactly one day each year, we are the same age. We lived in the same hall, on the same floor. We shared the same dress size and love of music. We shared a birthday party that first fall. And then, halfway through our freshman year, we found ourselves sharing a room. There have been periods when we have not kept in touch as well as others. We have made different friends and have had different experiences. I moved to Arizona while she stayed here. But through it all, Jennifer has been one of those friends who I knew I could always count on. Even when months went by with little or no contact, I always knew that the second I needed her, she would be there for me.Last year, Jennifer met Sungti Hsu and married him about a month after I moved back to Utah. It was fun to reconnect and be able to spend time with Jen and get to know her wonderful new husband. He really is amazing. We have spent lots of nights together since I moved back, eating and laughing and playing and tonight was another one of those nights. However, tonight was different. Tonight was the last night I will spend with the Hsu’s for a while. On Saturday they are leaving for graduate school in Kansas. I didn’t realize just how terribly I would miss them until tonight, as we were hugging goodbye (you know I like someone if I hug them) and I began to get a little teary eyed.
Don’t get me wrong. I know I’m a crier, but I was not expecting such waterworks…especially since there is a good chance I will see them one last time. But, as I watched them leave, I realized what an integral part Jen has played in my life. She has been a part of so many of my major life experiences and has been what only Jen could be. She was the one there with me when I got the phone call that my mom had died. She was the one who told me that I turned into a total brat when I spent time with a certain boy. She was the one who listened to my cry when my heart broke for the first time. She was there with me as I entered the MTC to leave on my my mission. She was the one friend that was at my college graduation. She was with me as I made the move to Arizona…literally driving that long drive. She helped me paint the walls in my first house. She was there, on the other end of the phone, when I fell in and out of like numerous times. She was here when I moved back to Utah with a broken heart and no clue how to pick up the pieces of my life.
Through these last 12 years, she has been this little beacon through the storms, always there, always shining, always pointing in the right direction, making sure that somehow, through the pain and grief and trials of life, I kept laughing. Of course, Jen’s leaving is not the end of our friendship or her role in my life. This has happened before, but I was the one who left last time. It’s much harder being the one left behind. It just hit me tonight, as the group of us were sitting at dinner and later on playing games, how much I will miss her as a regular, physical presence in my life.
Jen has taught me so many things and I’m sure she is unaware of most of them as they were lessons of example rather than theory. And while this is definitely not the end of anything, it is a good opportunity for me to reflect on our years as friends and realize just how blessed I am to have such a wonderful friend. My wish for anyone would be that they could have their own beautiful, kind, compassionate, optimistic, hilarious and extremely photogenic Hsu! A Hsu that always fits, no matter how much life changes.
Here are some songs that will forever make me think of my darling friend Jen and our freshman year…I am a huge Shawn Colvin fan and she was my artist of choice at the time, so we spent lots of time listening to her…along with Alanis’ “Head Over Feet” on repeat down in the laundry room for hours at a time. We have enjoyed/shared lots of music likes and dislikes since then, but this was the soundtrack that started it all. Enjoy!
climb on – shawn colvin
polaroids – shawn colvin
round of blues – shawn colvin
object of my affection – shawn colvin
steady on – shawn colvin
another long one – shawn colvin
the dead of the night – shawn colvin
tenderness on the block – shawn colvin
head over feet – alanis morissette