Thinking back on the week I spent in Alabama, I can't even pinpoint one event that stood out the most because everything I experienced was either brand new or genuinely FUN. And to be quite frank, for once I didn't have to worry about what anyone thought about me. I didn't have to worry about what I was going to do for the day or even IF I would feel like hanging out with someone. I didn't have to worry about going to bed too late or having to wake up too early in order to get chores done. I didn't have to worry about putting makeup on if I went out in public and I didn't have to worry about making myself lunch or dinner. I was with my best friend, and my second family, in a town that I had never heard of before Ari moved there, and I was surrounded by friendly strangers of whom knew nothing about me. Plus the food was just what I had been waiting for (Mrs. K's hotdogs, pizza rolls, and my favorite - choco covered peanut butter pretzels)! It's a good feeling... a true vacation.
We planned Friday to be a "skating day" where we'd go to the local skating rink with the family and skate around knowing that on Sunday, we'd have plans to go to Kangaroo 's (a giant bouncy house warehouse similar to BounceU in NH). That plan suddenly got shot down... In a good way because we ended up going to the rink to skate 3 times! Well as an FYI, skating rinks are incredibly fun! I had never been to one so I wasn't sure what to expect... although thank god I semi-knew how to skate. The rink is nothing like anything we have back home. Kids can skate to good music and stop to get food or hangout and take a break. They have games and an authentic disco style which makes the atmosphere very flavorful. Ari and I met a new friend there as well, who we ended up spending my last few days in AL with. He took us around for sightseeing and to eat at the good restaurants around town. We went to different towns, got stuck in the downpour showers, and managed to have some good laughs along the way. He also came over swimming a lot which was really fun except for the part where I got dropped on my back when Ari and Aaron decided to try and swing me into the water. No big deal! The thing I liked most about meeting new people was the fact that it showed me how life DOES exist beyond little old Bow. I learned that I shouldn't have to push to have friends or try to be anything I'm not. Honey catches more flies than vinegar. I learned that some people aren't worth it; they're not meant to be in your life for a reason. And others make multiple appearances, or remind you of others even in the slightest and most ironic ways. I suddenly see the good in people unlike my old ways of picking out the flaws. I let go of things that have bothered me for so long in the confident notion that I deserve better than to have to worry or be upset or put myself down. I can see the world a little bit better and understand how young I truly am. My whole life is ahead of me, and for a while I got so caught up in the immaturity of people who think they see the world (although they see nothing) and the petty drama that is totally frivolous. And with all that I learned and realized, I also discovered the feeling of being "home" again. I forgot how much I love being with the Kaminski's and how welcomed I always feel. I truly love the family and they will always be very special to me. Ari and I have been through a lot, but it has made us closer as friends. Even if we're separated by miles, by different customs, by different schools, and by different friends, it changes absolutely nothing in our friendship. Every day spent together is as if nothing has happened and she's still my neighbor, despite the different states we live in. She will always be my sister, and she gives me something to look forward to. I have my friends in Bow, but I have my sister in Alabama, and that's all I need to get through the day. I appreciate everything... all of Mrs. Kaminski's life lessons (and food!), Mr. Kaminski's lectures about plausible things that we should beware of, Alex's love for fishing and nature, Indy's spunk and diva attitude, and of course, the sisterhood me and Ari share. Even if she does take embarrassing pictures/videos of me dancing, even if we do fight over blankets when we're sleeping, and even if she yells at me for putting too much makeup or too much perfume on, I love her. I wholeheartedly love her and her family and the hospitality they have always given me right from the get-go. And I thank all of them for the best trip and one of the greatest life experiences I have had so far in my 15 years of living.
Now, saying goodbye is never easy. But for some reason, this time it was especially difficult. I was talking with Mrs. K and we both agreed how hard it is for all of us because it's like, "what now?" What do we have to look forward to? Do we plan a visit to come up and ski? Do we find a way to fit in a four day weekend in November (after i get my license of course)? Do we find ways to make money so we can do this all over again in one year? Who knows, but one thing IS for certain...
We will see each other as soon as possible and until then, we'll resort to skype and texts and phone conversations. It sucks, but I'm grateful that I can be this close with her and I wouldn't trade the bond we have for the world. It's the most reassuring feeling to know that I have my family in New Hampshire, and a whole different one in Alabama. Nothing will ever change that