Just as beautiful as the countryside of England, castles of Scotland, and landmarks of London is the group of people I am traveling with. Before departing, I did not know all of the women I would travel with. Some I knew well, some I knew barely by name because we are Facebook friends. Some I was not even Facebook friends with, which means I really didn’t know them. Because of this, I would probably not have arranged this particular group of people to travel across the ocean and countries with. But if I had the choice again, I think I would go anywhere with this group. These are the little stories, the personalities that make history. And I have been privileged to share a small part of a story with eleven other girls.
Ashlee has the most beautiful laughter. It is the laughter that just flows and sings. Like hearing a rare bird, I want to quiet everything else and investigate the sound. The song is not over sung, so when it rings, the one who said something funny feels as if they have won a marathon. Her personality is giving. She does not complain when technology fails her, her hopes are left unsatisfied by the sway of the group, her alarms fail her, and things just go horribly for her. She happily blends in and serves. She thinks of others and puts the needs and wants of others quietly above herself, while taking in so much with her window eyes.
Mandy is marked by a source of strength. Her mind is secure. She will do anything for the ones she loves. She stares at life from behind her glasses with eyes that appreciate more than most. And she has a fantastic sense of humor. It comes out like the sun; giving everything that she does a great sense of light. Her discernment is rare, she is beautiful. And I stole this post on traveling buddies from her; the idea and essence all belong to her. She gets all the credit.
“A dwarf” Ashley whispered, inserting the perfect amount of humor into a rather awkward situation. Ashley can switch from southern sassy to southern sweet in a heartbeat. Her personality reminds me of the ancient queens we have studied (minus the whole kill your cousins and hunger for power thing) She combines strength and kindness in a way that is admirable. Those listening can’t help but laugh with her. Ashley pulls us into her stories and life with kind ease. And when you are her friend, you feel like a true friend.
Dani represents everything that I long to emulate. Her sense for adventure is not halted by sheep parts, blistered feet, or lack of sleep. She is willing to jump up and do anything to help. And she loves God. Her love for the Lord is subtle but definitely present. It is not overwhelming. She gracefully lives the love that has been planted within her, and it is easy to tell where her source of energy and strength comes from. Whether we are excited over seeing a baguette or exploring a bookstore as old as America, Dani’s enthusiasm is stunning.
Jennifer is one of my favorite people. Her sense of humor, her sense of life, is absolutely spontaneous and brilliant. I cannot type for laughing over the antics we have enjoyed over the last year and the last few days. Whether she is killing me in mafia or suddenly saying “Sarah Geil” because she is locked out of her room since the ancient European lock broke and the hall warden had to kick it in, life with Jen just feels a little bit more alive (even without her coffee). Her strength is built on a firm foundation. Her interests are as beautiful in variety as a buffet; she is a great at appreciating everything with a true sense of wonder. And oh, her beauty. As we weave through these museums, I often look at paintings and carvings with her. But she is the most beautiful creature in the room. Jennifer’s classic beauty also stems from a firm foundation, one of Jesus Christ. She is a sister I cherish.
Magical cascading ringlets, the most gorgeous figure, a fantastic sense of style—everything about Elle is confidant. She walks with a knowledge that belies her age. Nothing can stop her. In her few weaknesses, she is strong. Elle makes a deliberate effort to individually ask about other people. Her mind is an amazing creation. She stores wisdom by making history and philosophy personal. She will achieve great things, she already has.
Courtney is a lovely surprise. She adds an element that would otherwise be missing from the group. She appreciates things in a way that is difficult for others to achieve. Her stories, the stories that have made her, and the stories she will one day write are fascinating. I enjoyed walking down an ancient Edinburgh street, getting to know her story a little bit better. And she has pretty hair.
Becca is a delight. Her fun approach to life makes you not stand back and watch, but jump right in and enjoy it with her. Like so many other girls on this trip, her source of strength runs deep. She laughs and the world laughs with her. When Becca encourages, she truly infuses people with courage. Her well timed compliments are so genuine. She smiles, and those around can’t help but feel as if they have won something and the prize is a moment of delight with Becca.
Haley has been a fantastic roommate. I share a glance with her and just feel so blessed. Her caring and determined nature will make her excel at whichever path she selects. And she could be anything. People would struggle to map her mind and the deep wells of information that it holds. She delivers the information in a humble, well timed way. Haley is the best “Googler” I have ever known. I will always remember our laughs over ducks with great fondness. I have gained a great friend.
We are led by the most wonderful women. Dr. Vosevich’s frankness combined with a sense of nurturing is absolutely astounding. Both professors are wise in the most humble of ways. Dr. O’Neal exemplifies the type of woman I want to be when I grow up. Her quiet grace is beautiful.
We are not perfect. Everyone one of us has moments less pleasing than others. We are twelve females; feelings and emotions are involved. We almost are like one of the tapestries we have seen. Together little strands make up a masterpiece. The strands are silver and fine. Alone, they are stunning. Together, they stand through the ages.
As I write about the dear friends I have acquired on this trip, I cannot help but consider the tapestries we are a part of at home. In the different world that we came from, in the worlds to which we will return very shortly, we are part of many more tapestries. My church community, my family, my high school friends, my college friends—I could go on and on about the beautiful strands of silver thread I know at home. But for a few weeks, I have been woven with such tight bonds to a group of girls, and my life has been altered by knowing them. I am thrilled they are my traveling companions. So as they say here, cheers, my friends. Cheers.