A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in a back alley somewhere in Toronto, waiting as my friend, Candice said her goodbyes to her roommate. While she finished up, I admired our handiwork – like a real life game of Tetris, we had spent the previous 45 minutes packing the last of her personal belongings into my little red Pontiac and we had done a fairly impressive job of it, if I do say so myself.
I was all set to move her (temporarily) and her stuff (more permanently) back from Toronto to the Quinte area and, as she climbed into the passenger seat, the enormity of what was (finally) happening really hit me.
“It’s kind of an interesting experience,” I told her as I put the car into drive, “Being an accessory to a major moment in someone else’s life.”
Fast forward two weeks to this morning. I woke up and, like always, I checked out Facebook while I struggled to gain full consciousness.
And there it was:
“I’m about to board the plane and officially leave Canada, which means no more cell phone. I’m going wifi only from here on out!”
When Candice finally finishes her 35+ hours of insane travel, she’ll be in the Japanese city of Kobe, the place she’ll be calling her home base for the next year. I am one part jealous, two parts crushed and an unfathomable amount of parts just plain elated about this, and I will tell you why:
Candice is one of my dearest, bestest and oldest friends. We met in the first couple of weeks of the ninth grade and have, clearly, been friends ever since. We went to different universities after graduation (although we both wound up studying anthropology, decisions that were made completely independent of one another. Crazy!) and even both took the same post-grad PR program at Loyalist College (she was actually the one who helped me make up my mind to take it in the first place, a decision that turned out to be one of the best I’ve ever made).
She’s been as much as a professional advisor over the years as she has been an amazing friend. We’ve wrestled through our quarter life crises together and engaged in many a memorable escapade over the past decade and then some.
We have the type of friendship in which we can go months without seeing each other and then, when we’re finally able to connect again, we can pick up without missing a beat. No bitterness required, which, considering how busy both of our lives can get, has always been a really great element to our friendship. I don’t suppose it will ever matter as much as it does now though…
As long as I’ve known her, Candice has bee in love with Japan. She got the opportunity to spend a study abroad semester there in university and made no secret of wanting to go back. Now she’s getting to live that dream, quite possibly in the coolest way ever.
Rather than having to go back as a student or, as is the solution for most people, as an English teacher, Candice is just going for the sake of being there. She’s worked hard over the past few years, saving and planning meticulously. Jealous as I and others may be, there’s no denying that this girl has earned this.
I’m jealous, there’s no question. She is embarking on such a cool adventure in a place that she loves, but that’s also why I’m thrilled for her. It’s a great experience, being this legitimately happy over someone else’s incredible fortune.
But damn, am I ever going to miss her.
Candice is blogging her adventures over at Kansai Kyandi and the blog is already full of some handy info for anyone (especially under-30 Canadians) looking to embark on a similar journey. If you’re dreaming of spending an extended period of time overseas and totally lost as to how to make it happen, this could be a good place to start.
Miss you already, Candice! I’m sending safe travel vibes in your general direction and I can’t wait for our first Skype coffee date!