Of all the places I’ve traveled, there’s never been a place that I’ve gone back to.
I’ve vacationed in Mazatlan, Mexico with my family for my first out-of-country trip.
I’ve adventured to South Africa where I slept in a cold, airy cabin for two months; talked with Sesotho people about the love of God; ate wildebeest; pet lion cubs; went on a safari; and made friends from all over the U.S.
I’ve roadtripped through Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois to visit friends from my travels in South Africa.
I’ve taken pictures at the giant bean and took my first taxi ride in Chicago.
I’ve built a house in Tijuana, Mexico with 60 youth from my church.
I’ve laughed and toured my way through the sites and foods of the Midwest in Independence, Missouri.
I’ve flown half way across the world to Sendai, Japan to visit my best friend, Mallory, who has made Japan her home. We went to Tokyo Disney; spent a week’s salary in photo booths; shopped, toured, and ate the best of the best Japanese food.
I’ve hugged best friends in real life for the first time in San Jose, Costa Rica. We adventured to a volcano, to downtown San Jose, to the ocean at Quepos, and I left with more family than I could have ever dreamed.
And I’ve never gone back to one, until now. Today I’m flying back to Independence, Missouri to tackle-hug my best friend in the airport, and laugh and adventure with her for eight glorious days. Mallory and I have always had a long distance friendship. Our friendship stretches to the other side of the world when she is home in Japan, but there is no one who holds my heart closer.
Mallory is the friend who walks with me no matter how many miles are between us. She is the friend who dreams and waits and sometimes even aches with my own dreaming heart. She’s the one whom I talk with about my future husband and the man of my dreams, about my dreams of living in Costa Rica and my broken heart for the world.
She is the friend who prays for me and with me, who writes my prayers on sticky notes until they are answered. Mallory is the one who I talk with about my joys and struggles with God and in life. She is the one who makes me laugh when I’m crying and makes me laugh so hard I cry.
She said it best herself when she said we are heart sisters.
We often think about how we met 3 years ago in South Africa and what an adventure that was and who we are now — two Americans who met in South Africa, one who lives in Japan and another who dreams of living in Costa Rica. South Africa was the beginning of our friendship, but it is just a memory now. There is so much more that holds our friendship together.
Though we live 16 hours and so many miles apart, our friendship is one of the most precious things in my life. We may never have the luxury of living in the same place on this earth, but it’s fantastic that we can share life together all over the world — Washington, Missouri, Chicago, Tokyo, Sendai… our friendship has no bounds.
This summer I am lucky enough to have her here in the States, just two timezones ahead of me. When a friendship survives on care packages, skype conversations and yearly hugs, being two timezones apart feels a lot like being neighbors. For the first time in almost 2 years, I can text and call her whenever I want. We go to bed around the same time and wake up around the same time. We can skype together with our crazy siblings and cats.
Of all the places I’ve ever been, the ones to go back to are those where I’ve left a piece of my heart. Lately I’ve been learning that it’s not so much the place that captures your heart as the people in the place. And when you leave your heart with a person, your heart moves with them. It doesn’t matter where in the world you go or where in the world you stay, you’ll always have a nomadic heart as long as that person is away.
For the next week I’ll be letting my nomadic heart take a rest as I spend some much needed face-to-face, arm-in-arm, close-enough-to-see-you-pitting-out-from-the-Missouri-heat time with my best friend, Mallory; my heart sister.
Do you have a best friend, a heart sister/brother? What great things define your friendship?