Golden Friends

I only had one prayer while I prepared for Italy.
Lord, I can spend a semester by myself. I’m independent and I would really be able to focus on You, but I’d really like one good friend. I don’t have to connect with anyone else, they can all be wild partiers, but please, give me one companion that I am totally comfortable with. Who will pray and laugh and travel and eat with me.
Jesus loves to give good gifts to His children, and time and again, I have experienced His blessings. This request was no exception.  The very first night, before we even moved into our apartments, I announced I was going on a walk and invited anyone to come along. They declined, having just returned from their own exploration. Very well, then. I can go alone, I thought, and I set off through the parking lot. “Hey wait! I’d like to come with you!” She told me her name, but I couldn’t remember it. As we walked, it didn’t take ten minutes before she began one of my favorite pastimes: the question game – describing our perfect day, as I recall. She casually mentioned she was in a Christian sorority back at Boulder. She didn’t seem to be conforming to any stereotypes, and I liked that. This girl, Alea, became my first friend.
God! Thank you. That was quite prompt. You are so good to me.
He didn’t stop there.
Lugging two massive pieces of luggage into my room on the second day, I met my roommate.  Aside from the horrendous procrastination habits she is successfully teaching me, I love everything else about this girl. We are different; she takes “chilling” to a new level, and I’m a little more extroverted. But as we learned more about each other the first few days, I was astounded by our similarities. What?! You have two sisters and a brother? You like to hike? You listen to the Avett Brothers? Your best friend is from South Carolina? She feels like another sister; with a steady and even-keeled temperament, she is the perfect constant companion. She makes me laugh, her thoughts are insightful, and our cooking is improving together.
I guess I feared making friends because that was difficult for me freshman year of college. Here, it hasn’t been the case. Friendships just keep happening, almost effortlessly.  Mariah identifies and illuminates the beauty in others. Tracey is a hip-hop dancing joy. Kristina, Danielle, Kevin, Joe, Holly.
This past weekend, there was a pasta dinner, a burger night, an American breakfast (we like food, okay?), and a crazy Italian soccer game. It all happened with people I really enjoyed spending time with, people who make me laugh and share similar values. After dinner Friday night, we all sat around the table sharing stories, listening to music, and at times laughing until we were gasping for breath. As we walked back, Abby and I both agreed that it felt like a night with our friends at home. When we day-tripped to overcast Cortona, it wasn’t really about the Under the Tuscan Sun destination or museums at all. Rick Steves still provided great restaurant advice, but I spent the day aimlessly wandering around a charming town with friends I love. It’s true; already, I really do love them.
Abby, Tracey, and Mariah

Chocolate Chip Pancakes an friends. Not much better.
The deeper I dig into my time here the more treasure boxes of friendships I find. I feel more than pirate’s luck at striking this gold; I am greatly blessed by a loving God. He understands good relationships, and He desires them for His children.
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