I know I fell behind, but if I do nothing better in life, it is procrastination. So, I will continue my thank-fest.
I am immensely thankful for the friends I have met while traveling the past couple years. Some amazing people crossed my path and I know they will stay a part of my lives forever.
It started with my two month excursion to Minocqua, Wisconsin. I was traveling to the Northwoods to intern at the Northwoods Wildlife Center. The internship was only two months, but in that time I made some lasting friendships. Beth, the executive director of the center is by far the most awesome woman on the planet. I was immediately drawn to her quirky nature. She is insightful, caring, and the the coolest witch I know. She is also the only person I know who can successfully house a herd of cats and not come off as some kind of creepy hoarder. Seriously, her cats are the coolest pets by far.
Once I had arrived at the wildlife center, I was concerned about living for two months with strangers. After my first week there and having to survive living with the summer interns, I was sure I had made a mistake. However, they were all leaving at the end of my first week and I was left living with only two other interns. Lucky for me, one of them was Hnue Yang. Hnue is a phenomenon, pure and simple, most often referred to by her first and last name because she is that special. I honestly think it is impossible for Hnue to have an enemy. She is so much fun, and will always put a smile on your face. I couldn't have asked for a better roommate.
The third person I forged lasting ties with in Minocqua, is Sarah. I met her at the cheese shop where we got to talking about Alaska. I instantly felt like we had a connection. She is super sweet and I felt so comfortable talking with her. We both have a love for all things tea and Harry Potter! I was taken back that she would offer to take me, a complete stranger, on a little trip to Lake Superior. It was great! I am pretty sure we made the local gossip in Joe's Famous Pasty shop in Ironwood, MI. Since then we have toured Chicago together and made the crazy long drive back to Minocqua. Well, she made the drive...Sarah is hardcore, a goddess! I want her to stay a part of my life forever.
This summer I made the trek from Fairbanks to Clarion, PA. I was excited about the field job I would be doing, but I had no idea that I would love the volunteer work and the people I met in the community even more. I had gotten in contact with Leo at the Creature Program before I even left for PA. I wanted to volunteer in his exotic pet rescue program. I had no idea that him and his wife would be the most fun, genuine people I have never met. They opened their home to me, fed me great food, and taught me all sorts of art techniques. I even got roped into making a few music videos, which were great fun. Leo and Hillary are the coolest thing about PA and the only reason that would bring me back to PA.
I also found a kindred spirit in Clarion, in Holly. She was also a staple at Leo and Hillary's place and I enjoyed spending time with her so much. It is so refreshing for me to find people who I feel like I can completely be myself around and not feel judged, and Holly fits that bill to a 'T'. We geeked out over x-files and hamsters. I really, really wished we lived closer. Holly is a wonderful woman, loyal and fun. I miss her!
Even if I never meet anyone else in my future travels, the people I have met so far more than fill up a lifetime worth of friendship. I feel so lucky and thankful for these people in my life. I hope we they all continue to be a part of my life for many years to follow.