Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lasting Impressions 23

This weeks Lasting Impressions comes from one of my all time favorite Chicago bloggers, Nilsa from SoMi Speaks, who composes some of the most thought provoking posts in my Reader.

Growing up, lots of kids I knew were born and raised in the exact same town. I, on the other hand, moved a number of times. I wasn't a military brat, but I moved enough times that I quickly learned how to make friends almost anywhere I went. Those skills carried over into adulthood. Whether it's through work, mutual friends, my hair stylist, that kid living across the street or even the crazy world of the blogosphere, I'm always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt.

That's why, it was no surprise to me that I befriended my bestie through running almost ten years ago. We were both training for the San Diego Marathon through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Though we ran different paces and only saw each other in passing during our training runs every Saturday morning, we would catch up at the end while stretching. Which turned into meeting up with a group of runners for drinks. Which eventually turned into exchanging numbers and considering one another friends.

Chandra is the girl with a small town upbringing and a big city spirit. She's the girl always ready to try a new restaurant and least prepared to stay out drinking until the wee hours. She's the girl who will spend an hour on the phone with you every Sunday night as you watch The Amazing Race together. And the girl who, despite visiting her long-distance boyfriend, will spend hours on the phone with you on New Year's Eve as you weep about a boy.

Chandra is the girl who lets me be me. She puts up with my sense of humor, even when it's slightly askew. She encourages my endeavors, even when the thought of them tires her out. She lets me rant about everything from important to completely mundane issues. And then calmly, in a way only my Lil C' knows how, inserts her opinion. Without hurting and without judging. She takes a few short moments to share her thoughts. Which, sometimes carry more weight than my thesis-length arguments.

Chandra is the girl who has adopted my family as her own after countless trips to the East Coast with me to see them. Shacking up in my brother's messy, one-bedroom on a trip to New York where we found a dirty spoon between the pillows on the couch. Using walkie-talkies on a road trip with my brother to suggest to him, "SHOW ME YOUR TITS." Holding onto SoMi at rest stops while I run to the bathroom. Surprising my parents for New Years at the beach. And so many other countless memories. I call Chandra the daughter my parents never had. Not because they don't love me (believe me, they do). But, because they love her that much, too.

Chandra is the girl who was the only contender to be my maid of honor when I got married. She spent that year leading up to the wedding checking in on me, even when nothing was wrong. Clearing her calendar to support me on dress-shopping excursions. Planning my wedding shower like a pro (what? event planning is part of her real-life job!). And taking things off my plate during the wedding weekend to make it go that much more seamlessly. What an honor it was to have her by my side.

Chandra is the girl who is celebrated through the little things. We don't take big trips to Vegas or the islands together. We don't lavish each other with extravagant gifts (minus my wedding - and the favor will be returned when it's her turn). We don't go to black-tie fundraisers for needy children in Africa.

No, I celebrate Lil C through the everyday, through that macro lens on my camera. She comes to my house to use my in-unit washer and dryer when she has none. Drives to Chinatown for frozen bubble teas. Eat ourselves sick through handmade tortillas, the kind her dad used to sell when she was a child, wrapped around local Mexican fare. Encapsulate our hands around warm cups of tea and chat about nothing and everything all at once.

To this day, I consider Chandra my go-to girl. She's one of the few people who really knows me inside and out. And though there have been countless friendships before and after I met Chandra, most of them pale in comparison to the connection I feel to my Lil C.