Letters from Me, Day 9: Jenny Hays Daughterty, Chicago, IL

Dear Jenny,

Can you believe how much has changed since we first met in rowing practice at the BU Boathouse almost 13 years ago? We were kids then, new to the world outside our hometowns for the most part, and wanting to find a home at our new school. Luckily, it didn't take us long to find that home - we found each other!

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Our tribe of friends has brought me so much joy over the years. As freshmen, we got to know our new city. We hiked the streets and bridges to find parties. We woke up early every weekday and marveled at the sunrise over the skyline while we paddled along the Charles River. We founded a loose knit brunch club, and indoctrinated everyone from our dorm mates to Anya's parents, as we toured the city for the best eggs benedict.

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Sophomore year, we elected to stay at our dorm, but move a couple of floors up and live....together! The adventures continued, and got bigger and better. We decorated. We shopped. We wore sweatpants to our 8am classes because we just worked out for 2 hours. We scarfed late night pizza deliveries. And made up for it by eating vegan the next day. We found out what it was like to live with a friend...not just a roommate.

Junior year brought a move to Shelton Hall, shenanigans galore (can you say "stick shift road trip?") and plans to go abroad the following year. And abroad we went.

August of 2005 sent us east to London, a second floor flat in the Kensington neighborhood, which in retrospect was way nicer that other study abroad housing. (Lucky ducks.) We got to live with Andi and Anya and basically did a tour of Europe. I took innumerable photographs of everyone's behinds as we walked around England, Sweden, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. We ate as much as we possibly could on any given day, but still managed to get our butts to that health club up the street to run, lift weights, swim and - gasp - weigh ourselves in STONES! You were my best workout buddy, and I loved our leisurely walks back as we strolled through shops or picked up groceries at Sainsbury's.

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I especially love the memory of Andi, you and me winding our way down the Amalfi coast from Sorrento to Positano, which may have been the most beautiful day of my life at the time. (It still ranks highly.) You were an old pro, having ridden motorcycles before, so my initial instinct to lead the pack was replaced with dutiful follower status to your trailblazing bravery. I remember stopping for lunch shortly after we left because we were hungry, it was Italy and MAYBE we needed a break? And in Positano, I remember walking the streets and picking tiny flowers and imagining a life where we could live here and fall in love and go to the beach all day.

Well, life didn't turn out quite like that. We did move away from Boston. We did fall in love. And we HAVE been going to the beach now and then (Southeast Asia, perhaps?) But life had plans in store for us we didn't know yet.

When you graduated and moved back to Chicago, I grew sad. But that fall, you guys descended on Boston like a bad ass girl gang and we tore it up for the Head of the Charles. And again the following Patriot's Day (Marathon Monday!) I knew then that our proximity had changed, but our friendship would only grow and get stronger.

Soon after we had all moved on from Boston...we met Mark. And from the moment we met him, we saw what you saw - a kind, funny, brilliant soul who was handsome and TALL to boot! It didn't take long for him to win us over and we were delighted (but not surprised) when we heard the wedding bells in the distance. And for god's sake, you got engaged on a ferris wheel. Could you two BE more perfect for each other?

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I was so honored and proud to be in your wedding, at the gorgeous Salvage One. It was fitting that I brought Bob, since he had known you basically as long as I had! The ceremony brought tears to my eyes, as I watched the girl who I'd carried down the hall on my back (until we collapsed into laughter) starting a brand new life with the man she loves.

And now, almost 3 years after that day, I've gotten to visit you in your new house, to Google chat with you about our jobs (yes, we've both managed to use those COM degrees after all!), to learn all about what makes Jenny...Jenny circa 2015. And now, in just a few days, we will embark on a trip to Charleston to eat and drink our way through a new city, talk for a thousand hours (somehow, in the span of 48) and make more memories that will last us until we're old and grey.

Here's to getting old and grey, J Bing.

Love,

Amanda