Letters from Me, Day 14: Andrea L. Patineau, Detroit, MI

Dear Andi,

How cool was it that we got to pack a bag, pick up and fly into a city of our choice to eat, drink, laugh, relax, stroll, shop and catch up, all in 2 days, before heading back to our normal lives?

Pretty darn awesome.

I count any time I get with you as a lucky strike. We've come so far from our days in Boston. We both have careers, apartments, cars - real grown up lives. You were always the most grown up back then, too, but you did (and still do) know how to cut loose and indulge every now and again. And now, you've picked a path - from PR to medicine - and you've taken each and every deliberate step to succeed, surpass expectations and to do something that matters and has incredible impact and most importantly, makes you happy.

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It's been almost 13 years since we met the fall of our freshman year, at the BU boathouse. I've said it a thousand times, but it never fails to make me laugh when I remember how intimidating I thought you were, with your baggy sweatpants and bandana around your hair. Not only did you look like someone I didn't want to mess with, you were strong and talented at rowing right from the start, you knew how to weightlift and it was clear this wasn't your first sport. You also seemed to befriend everyone, even though you were quiet. I think that's what made you cool. You weren't throwing yourself at every new friend, as many of us were. You weren't pairing up because you were afraid to be alone in this new world. Nah, you were fine on your own. You didn't need anyone. Therefore, we all wanted to hang out with you.

And hangout we did.

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That first year, our crew was huge and we were always roaming the streets, hallways, dining rooms, as a pack of tall girls (and a couple tiny ones for good measure.) We loved eating giant meals, especially after hard practices. I don't know how we managed to pile our trays that high, but we were burning calories like Olympic athletes, so it didn't matter that we were eating for three. We packed girls into dorm rooms for movie nights and mini-pop-up parties. We dressed in our finest tops and jeans and hit up the 18+ nights at the local clubs. We went home early from said clubs because we had to get up at 4:15am. We toured the city for brunch places and made memories in nicer clothes on Sundays - our one day off of rowing per week. We commiserated about COM classes. 

Junior year, we were both blessed to share a public speaking class, where more memories were made...on tape. 

I think we all remember the best speech of the semester - when you were hopped up on pain killers from your ankle and answering questions on a 23 second delay. I remember shuttling you around Commonwealth Avenue, so you didn't have to carry your books too far. And of course, sharing the haul from the convenience store below Warren Towers where we'd buy up the bags of candy and Ben and Jerry's pints because doesn't sugar heal ankles faster? You were a good sport when I did my how-to speech on hip hop and made a sure as day fool of myself. I will always remember you patting me on the back after that class, and telling me "you did your best, and that's what matters." Someone else might have been saying that sarcastically, and sarcastic you are, but it struck me that you actually meant it that time.

BU took us around the country, and eventually around the world - to London, Stockholm, Munich, cities and towns throughout Italy. We found amazing things to eat everywhere we went and learned we could navigate the world on our own, even if we didn't speak the language. And that was before the time of 3G!

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Now, it's 2015 and we're jetsetting to visit each other around the country, planning trips of epic proportion on a smaller scale, gathering our group for a few nights at a time to be together, to be ourselves, to be ridiculous and laugh until we cry and drink dark roast coffee and rosè wine and eat pie and take naps and buy shoes and just enjoy each other. I think we'll be doing this until we are old and grey.

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Where will we see each other next? I'm banking on Detroit. Let's talk soon.

Love,

Amanda