The friends you meet on the road are a special breed- they see you at your most uncomfortable, your most scrappy and sometimes desperate because of the extremeness of living life abroad. While we were living together, Jen got her backpack stolen and I got painfully sick; we experienced each other at more overwhelming points that not even our own mothers would have known how to handle.
When you are abroad, you open yourself up to the curveballs of the world-testing your resourcefulness and perseverance. You don’t even know who you are in these situations or how you will respond. So, when you make friends who witness you at this simultaneously euphoric and tumultuous point in your life- and they still like you afterward- it is a bond like no other. These microwave moments weather your relationship because of experiencing each other in extremes. She understands a part of me that my oldest friends don’t.
Our life in Arequipa was simple and wild, and soft pink. The city is made of beautiful stones harvested from the surrounding volcanoes which are so monumental and close to the city that they remind you every day of their magnitude, and of your minuteness.
The community that Jen and I became a part of was everything I was looking for. After breaking up with my boyfriend at the beginning of the trip and traveling alone for such a long time, I was looking for a family and I feel like my whole journey was leading me to this place and these people. Jen, in tandem with Rachel from Italy and Michelle from Canada, who are the following episodes, provided me with such a sense of security, at such a precarious time.
Jen was one of the few I was able to become very close with, we woke each other up, baked together, inspired each other, brought food to the other when they were working late, exchanged small gifts, and helped each other get out of sticky situations.
Jen came to my rescue more than once, the most vivid is coming back home at 4am after having too much fun with some British boys (who happened to work for the mayor of London), and realizing that the house was locked. Not wanting to wake Tia or Javie, I decided maybe I would just stay outside until morning for the next three hours, then a car pulls up.
I thought the taxi driver was going to harass me or worse when Jen comes bounding out of it. “Holy shit,” she said, how long have you been here? “No more than 5 minutes.” As we rang the doorbell I thought about how there are some sisters who have a clairvoyance about accidentally wearing the same clothes, buying each other the same gift, or period cycling together, and I think Jen and I were tapping into that.
Since we last spoke, Jen has docked onto land and continued the chocolate path, currently killin’ it at one of the top chocolate shops in Toronto- but still has some plane tickets burning in her pocket.