I've mentioned this before, but I met the most amazing group of people when I studied abroad. And luckily enough, a good chunk of us call the New York area home, however part-time that may be. So in the almost three years since we've known each other (side note: guys, WHAT?!?!? THREE YEARS?!), we've been able to organize a handful of reunions. This is something I haven't even been able to accomplish with my college friends yet -- why do flights from Colorado to Miami have to be so freaking expensive?! -- so these get-togethers hold a special place in my heart. And I truly think that friends you meet while traveling are a very special kind of friend. Why, you ask?
+ You know how people say you should travel with someone before you marry them because you don't truly know a person until you're in a new environment together? Well, that's what study abroad is. Every single day is a new environment. Study abroad friends have seen you struggle to convert kroners to dollars (seriously, what the heck). They've seen you when you're limping, hungry and cranky in your fifth city in 15 days. They've been with you when you can't book a damn train ticket out of Paris because it's Easter weekend, and they were there with you in the airport when your flight plans fell through too. And they love you anyway.
+ There's a whole other level of comfort with people after you travel with them. We've already shared all the germs we could possibly share, so we barely have to ask each other for a sip of each other's drinks. We know that we're all totally content just wandering through a city and seeing what we stumble across, so there's no pressure to entertain anyone. I mean, once you've shared a room in a hostel with someone, both washed your clothes in the shower and then hung them up around the room to dry... there's no more trying to impress 'em.
It's been two and a half years and I'm still laughing hysterically at this picture.
+ You know you can trust them. I mean, these are the people that met you where they said they were going to before any of you had foreign cell phones or found each other on Facebook. If anyone had ditched at that point, there'd be no chance of finding them. And you managed to backpack around Europe without losing OR killing each other! These are not the people that are going to flake. If they say they're going to be somewhere, they'll be there. (They might be late -- hey, stuff happens -- but they'll be there!) Their word means something!
+ They're a little piece of Europe at home! Almost every single reunion we've had has involved finding a British pub in New York City and having a pint. And reminiscing. Very, very heavy on the reminiscing! While I obviously miss London and my British friends desperately, having study abroad friends at home is like recreating our own little slice of our London lives... though thankfully without the shoebox dorm rooms and very questionable flatmates. Now there are apartments and real jobs and and masters degrees and student loans, which essentially means we're still that group of broke Americans nursing pints of Strongbow and talking about how amazing London is. Some things never change, right? :)
From Victoria Station to Grand Central Station! :)
In conclusion: they're pretty much the greatest. Study abroad for the travel, but also study abroad for the relationships you'll make!