25 years ago I met Jessica Lucille Becker and my life was forever changed. We met first in the first grade but didn’t become friends till several years later, bonding over kicking ice chunks across the playground at recess. We made fast friends after that and were inseparable. In the summers I’d spend a week at a time at her house. We pushed boundaries together, biked in neighborhoods we knew we weren’t allowed in, hiked farther into the woods than permitted, and covered for each other when injured on our illegal escapades. We told each other anything and everything, trusting each other to be truthful and frank, and still do to this day.
She’s my twin, though not born of the same family. To this day we’ll discover we’ve done or bought something identical without talking to the other for several weeks. Most recently we adopted nearly identical kittens 2 weeks apart.
She’s the person you can always depend on, the one that will go on any roller coaster, any challenge/dare, any haunted house. She’s much more than just a friend. She’s aunt to my daughters and sister to me. She’s family.
In junior high her mother moved her to the middle of Nowhere, Indiana and started our adventure in long-distance friendship. She eventually moved back to Ohio, not to Cincinnati but to Dayton, not too far away but still not right next door. It’s because of this experience that I know that being an ocean apart isn’t going to affect our friendship. We’re used to being apart for a time and then coming back together like we were never separated to begin with.
Yesterday, Thursday August 30th, Jessie moved to Paris, France for a year to pursue another master’s degree. She and her two cats (and a friend and her daughter who went with to help) arrived at 1am this morning. She is making her best life and running after her goals at full speed, not letting anything hold her back from molding her life to how she wants it to be. I’m extremely proud of her, though I don’t say it often enough.
From the start of my weight loss journey, fashionista that she is, she promised a new wardrobe to me when I hit my goal weight as a gift/reward. Instead though that promise is being cashed in as a round-trip ticket to visit her in Paris for a week in December for my birthday/the holidays. I’m not the least bit upset about the switch. Not only do I get to see Paris but I get to see it with my best friend. I’m just a tad excited.
Of course we’re planning a jam-packed week, trying to fit in as much as we possibly can. The planning started months ago with a pinterest board and excel spreadsheet, nearly planning us out to the minute. During my entire journey this past year and a half, Jessie has never wavered with her support of my healthier lifestyle. She even ran my first 5K with me last year, so of course she agreed to do something even crazier with me. It was her idea actually. We’re going to climb the stairs to the Eiffel Tower, as high as we’re allowed to go.
From all my research I’ve found that we’re only allowed to go up the stairs to the second level of the observation deck. Then if we want to go to the very top we have to take the elevator from there. The spiral staircase that connected the second level and summit were actually removed and sold in sections to the highest bidder awhile ago. They were in disrepair and would cost too much to fix so they just removed them.
In preparation for this feat I’ve added in the dreaded stairmaster to my workout routine. It is the least favorite part of my workout at the moment. The individual stairs on the machine are very steep, not made for shorties such as myself I suspect.
My current goal is to just make it to 10 minutes. No distance goal, just a time goal. However many steps I can get in that timeframe is just icing on the cake of finishing the 10 minutes. Afterward my legs are definitely like jello, so it’s always the last thing on the docket. I’m averaging about 400 steps so far, which is more than half of the eventual goal of the Eiffel Tower. This makes me a little less apprehensive that the Tower is going to thoroughly kill us. We’re planning on making it the last thing of the day though when we do visit it just in case.
Local to us is Kings Island Amusement park, our playground growing up. It boasts a replica of the Eiffel Tower at 1/3 the size of the real thing. It’s going to be interesting to be able to compare the two.
She’s eventually going to start a blog about her adventures as an expat grad student in Paris. When she gives me the website address I’ll post it for those that are interested in following along. I know I’ll be cyber stalking and living vicariously for sure.
And with that I bid Bon Voyage mon Amie! For now anyway…
I guess instead of “Next year in Israel!’ it’s “This December in Paris!”.