I’ve been living in Florida interning for a non-profit that works to provide hope to those struggling with mental health. The last four months have been so special, and the main reason is that I’ve shared this experience with five other girls, so this week I want to honour each of them.
To the Girl Gand of Spring 2018, thank you for teaching me so much about how big this world is. About what it looks like to love people, and for reminding me daily how strong and smart and incredible women are. Thank you for the late night ice cream, for laughing till we cry, eating raw cookie dough too frequently, for beach days, for opening up and being real and having, sometimes hard, honest conversations for the sake of developing deep, honest relationships.
When we first arrived we were given the advice don’t cry with people you can’t laugh with – because building relationships and trust takes time. We quickly learned to laugh together, usually until we ended up crying. I’m so thankful for each of you – I’ve been stretched and grown for the better because of the opportunity to know you and live with you all.
Alex, you are a queen. I love that you’re always down to go to the beach and the effort you put unto making people feel seen and heard. From decorating the house for valentines day to the little things everyday you make people feel so special. Thank you for always being encouraging, thoughtful, and someone I know I can talk to. I appreciate you so much and admire you in so many different ways.
Emily, I’m thankful for you and it’s so much more than being thankful for having another Canadian by my side on this adventure (though that’s huge and I’m glad someone here understands what I mean when I talk in celsius). I’ve loved getting to bond over a mutual love of coffee, malls, and seeing you grow to love the beach. You remind me that it is great to be excited and enthusiastic about the things people are passionate about and you show me the strength in honesty.
Hannah, I am endlessly thankful Bex put us in the same room. From being willing to offer a hug and get on my level when I needed to sit on the ground and feel my feelings, you have been so thoughtful and caring. Thank you for the pep talks, the laughs, the sweet notes of encouragement and being generous with your time. I’ll always laugh when I remember our life chats from our bunks when we are getting ready for bed.
Lori, I admire you so much. I always forget that you’re younger than me because you have a confidence and determination. You are so strong and able to just get shit done. We relate on a lot of things; you’re my go-to girl to listen to Sam Smith with, fawning over pretty buildings, and I know can count on you to for a laugh, a hug, or to hold my elbow. Also I love that you say bless you with the same intensity as the sneeze.
Montana, you are a magnificent friend. You never cease to make me laugh. Thank you for always being a shoulder to cry on and inspiring me to think deeply. You’ve helped me grow and think about what is really important in life. You also make great music recommendations and introduced me to tacos and queso – and honestly I think my biggest area of personal development since I moved to Florida is my love of tacos so thank you.
Bex, our fearless leader. If it weren’t for you, none of us would be here at all. Thank you for always seeing the best in each of us, and encouraging us to see the world that way. You are a great listener and oh so patient with us as we navigate this adventure. I will miss hanging out in your office with you and Annie Jo, bonding over Sugar Shack donuts, and your regular high fives. Also, thank you for providing me with a Back Street Boys education.
I’ll be processing and growing from the last few months for a while, but what feels most relevant right now is this: we are all people. We are all living stories, and it is a privilege to hear the stories of those around us. Each moment in life is so precious, it’s fragile – so live these moments fully, tell people you love them, be honest about what you think and you feel.
Living in community isn’t always easy, I’m sure there were my share of days I got on people’s nerves – but if you assume the best and remember that no-one is perfect you’ll learn a lot.
We can waste time getting stuck on differences- but if you take time to appreciate them you can learn so much from the people around you. It has been an honour to do that these past months and have my perspective of the world grow. I’ve tried new things and heard about places I’ve never been (but hope to see). I’m so grateful for all that I’ve experienced and learned the past few months, I feel so full of hope and love and light, and I will be endlessly thankful I got picked to live with each of these amazing girls.