Most of you know a while ago I wrote a goodbye post to a friend who was leaving on study abroad for a year. Today I write another one, this one a bit more final, but not permanent. We’ve graduated and my brilliant friend Estelle leaves for grad school at Sciences PO and I don’t know when I’m going to see her next. So here is a little piece about us.
I met Estelle my first or second week at Northeastern and honestly I didn’t like her at first. I thought she was snooty and stuck up. And she was *french* so it seemed to add up to me. It took me a while to realize that she just takes a bit of time to warm up to people but once she does she is one of the most loyal friends you could ever have. And after having seen Estelle multiple times eat an entire pizza by herself after a night out, I can confirm that she is most definitely not snooty.
And now four years later, we’ve been through a lot. 3 summers and one semester spent apart. One year living together. Bad relationships, bad choices but beautiful times and memories. From the first Groupmuse we went to our freshman year, drinking wine and pretending we knew stuff about classical music, to commiserating about the lack of female professors and progressivity in the Econ department to our trip to Montreal where I almost had to leave Estelle at the Canadian border. We have seen each other at our worst and at our best.
She was the first person I told about my mental illness, and she never asked how she could make me feel better or suggested ways I could cheer myself up, she just listened with love and acceptance. There was the afternoon in Montreal, where we sat on a park bench overlooking the water and just talked for a few hours, about ourselves, what we wanted from this life, everything and then some. The three double dates we went on (which we will never speak of again). The promises we made to not let each drunk text or order pizza, but usually still doing the latter. Our deep, shared love of Thai food. Complaining about our dads sending unsolicited life advice via email.
In most friendships at this age, if you argue, you fight about something inconsequential and then kiss and makeup and by the next morning it’s forgotten. I’m not going to lie, Estelle and I have had some rough spots, where I wasn’t sure if our relationship would make it come morning. But she’s made me realize that our friendships are no longer effortless, or ones of convenience. You have to fight to keep people in your lives, make an effort to make them feel loved and appreciated, and be open when you’ve been hurt. I admit I have taken a lot of my friendships for granted, but Estelle taught me how to be a better friend, and therefore a better person. She’s one of the few people that have forced me to look at where I was falling short in my friendships, and she is one of the reasons I have worked to make up for that.
When I was younger I had a book on how to become the quintessential French woman. How to eat and dress and shop, what perfume to wear. Estelle was the first French woman I got to know, but she didn’t fit into the Amelie-esque ideal that I had dreamed up. She’s far far more than that. Amelie *wishes* she could be her. Estelle is brilliant and works harder than nearly everyone I’ve ever met. She is generous and caring and is one of those people that you are always learning something new about. Estelle has been through a lot over the past few years, but she has navigated life with grace, courage, and consistently perfect hair. The quintessential French woman can’t hold a candle to Estelle. If she ever decides to write a book on how to be exactly like her, I will be the first customer in line.
My birthday is in 6 days and it will the be the first one I am celebrating without Estelle in 3 years. I know you’re not supposed to tell people your wish because it won’t come true, but I’m about to be 22 and am above such superstitions. One of my wishes (because, duh, I have like 47), is that this friendship lasts. I know the tides of time are strong, stronger when there are thousands of miles between people, but aren’t we stronger than that?
So, Estelle, here’s to 4 years of friendship and 400 more because I’m counting on Elon Musk to have invented immortality then. I know you will be the brightest star at Sciences Po and that you will change the world for the better. It is a privilege to be your friend. I will miss you.