Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Letter to My Best Friend

(Written 3/21/2011 en route to Tunis, Tunisia)

Goodbyes are not my strong suit – especially when they’re emotional.  I came to South Africa with very few expectations…to see my best friend and hang out for a month.  I walked away with so much more.  I’ve been welcomed into so many homes and families and it’s hard to walk away now. 

On the way to the airport

I experienced Katie’s village through her eyes, and was blessed with turning my best friend into my best travel buddy as well (Katie says “as well” is a very South African term – I guess I picked that up along the way as well).
Because I’m so rooted in relationships, it’s difficult to feel like I’m leaving part of my family behind.  I remember when my family came to visit me in Chile in 2006 and my dad gave me a quick, unemotional goodbye.  He later told me he had to make it "quick and painless" because it was the first time he had to leave a child somewhere that wasn't home.  I get it now.  When I left Katie as she said goodbye to me at the airport, I walked away and started crying.  I tried to stay strong but it was an emotional moment.  I’m so proud of everything she has already accomplished in the Peace Corps, and I want to share with you "a letter to my best friend.”
Dear Katie,
This letter may get a little sappy/corny but since I know you’re pretty much in love with me I thought the least I could do is return a similar (but not equal) sentiment.  :)
Anyway, despite the ‘thoughts you put in my head’ – mainly men & coffee – I wanted you to know this trip was far greater than I even imagined.  Being able to visit you in your new home and experience your day to day life was incredible.  You are a catalyst for change in Isandlwana and you should be very proud of all you’ve accomplished in just the short time you’ve been there.  Your passion for people and helping others is shining through – and when I look at you with your village as the back drop for your life I see that you are totally in your element.  God has given you these special talents and you are sharing that gift with others.  I’m amazed at your ability to experience such a different culture, but still maintain your same personality and character.  Your blessing to others is truly being yourself.
Now, as your best friend I should be able to both praise you, and come down on you.  And as such… I’m coming down on you for coming down on yourself!!!  KAY-TEE PEE-TER-SEN…are you LISTENING to me?!?!?!  You are doing things that take courage, heart, patience, tolerance, an open-mind, love, caring, charisma, bravery and so much more.  You have all of those things that other people only DREAM to have.  So when you’re doubting yourself or belittling yourself, I want you to remember that not only are you a DREAMER, but you’re also a DOER.  You’re a LEADER and a force to be reckoned with.  I want you to stop, think, and tell yourself “I AM THE SHIT!”  And if you don’t believe what you’re saying to yourself – you need to know that I DO.  And so do a million other people who could only dream about what you’re doing but might not ever do it.  You’re a hero to many.
I’m so happy that you’re surrounded by so many good people in Zulu land and that you’ve let them into your heart and soul.  Learn from them as you give back and you will carry that with you for life.  Just remember in the times of difficulty (when you’re hating washing your clothes, or a fly lands on your butt in the outhouse, etc.) that:
A.    It’s about the journey and not the destination.  “Getting to” Sept. 2012 is not nearly as important as the days leading up to it. [Side note: Katie finishes her Peace Corps duty at this time.]
B.    You should probably call medical before you think you need to.  :)  [Side note: reference infections. ew.]
C.    I’m impressed with you and proud of all your accomplishments.
D.    I’m ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS here for you.  A short SMS away and I’ll dial you from the nearest phone.
I love you so much!

Annie a.k.a. Your best friend

There are so many people in my life who I admire and appreciate.  I don’t know the last time I took time to express my gratitude for those people.  When was the last time you wrote an unsolicited letter or card to somebody?  Not for their birthday, or Christmas, or some event…but just a note to say thanks, or I love you, or "you are so cool because blah blah blah"?
Today I ask you to take the time.  Pick at least one person.  Write a hand written note or card or letter.  And send it to them.  It never hurts to let somebody know how loved they are.
I guarantee they'll appreciate it...and I thank you in advance on their behalf.


  1. Brilliant post Annie. Your friend is lucky to have you as a BFF.

    I can tell, based on this post, you've got the gift for writing/blogging that it takes to succeed. In all honesty, we really do need to plan a skype date soon. My screen name is drmeyers2001. I want to hear more about your amazing experiences traveling the globe :)

  2. $ Meyers - just added you on Skype. We'll try to catch up soon. :) Thanks for the kind words.

    Also went to Atlas....and absolutely loved it. Dave was a great guy and I think I might want to stay in Santorini for a summer working - maybe Oia. Too beautiful for words there.

    Talk to you soon!

  3. Homeslice.

    I love you. Thanks for telling the internet that I think about boys a lot. Ha! Kidding. I really love this note and have picked it up a few times.

    So this is a random spot to post this... but I know your detective skills are pretty strong and you'll find this. The books that we continued to hear about on our journey included: Learning to Breathe, Affluenza, and The Five Love Languages (as well).

    Love you like a fat kid loves cake. And let me tell you, now that I'm quickly approaching the 'fat kid' description, we really love cake.


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