Childhood Friends on an Adventure

During the summer of 2014 I reconnected with a few friends I had known during my childhood, one of the most important reconnections was my friend Katherine. Katherine-Jenn_tubesKatherine and I grew up together at our parent’s summer homes on Vashon Island, WA. My Grandmother had originally enjoyed her summers on the Island as a young girl, and my Grandfather had built her a larger home just across the little dirt road and closer to the water. Katherine’s family had bought the cabin two doors down from that home. When I was young, my Father had the opportunity to buy the home that was in-between Katherine’s home and my Grandmother, which made Katherine and I neighbors. I met Katherine when she was three years old. We spent the 80’s wandering the beach looking for Crustaceans and Eumetazoa, throwing rocks into the water for the dogs to try to find, fishing off the bulkhead, and trying to see who can keep the straightest face when bearing the 45° that is Puget Sound.

Katherine and I had lost touch when her parents divorced and I didn’t see her around as much as she was before. We did see each other here and there as she would have friends over to her family’s Island home, or when she would visit with her Dad or Brother when they were staying in the home. But it wasn’t until the summer of 2014 (over 30 years after we first met) that Katherine and I became close again. Katherine was living in West Seattle and I was staying in the original cabin my Grandmother (and Mother) had spent their summers in as I recovered from my short few months of life’s challenges. We reconnected over kayaking up the North end of the Island, then some drinks at the local favorite hang out in town, and many lunches, hikes, and drinks watching the sun set on the front porch. Katherine had gone through a lot herself and we both seemed to find a common sense of “life sucks sometimes but I’m getting through it” together. Katherine has been working with an organization called “Orphans to Ambassadors” in which they raise money to work with other organizations on special projects that provide sustainability that benefit children in other countries. Katherine had traveled to Africa, and was working on a trek to India and Nepal for the following year.

I had been wanting to visit India as many of my former colleagues are from different parts of the country. I spent many hours picking their minds and hearing stories about the various villages and cities they were from, the culture, and the Hindu religion. Nepal was something my ex-Husband talked about wanting to visit, though not as much on my desire as India and Africa. My biggest influence was the work they were planning for the orphans in India and the solar panels in Nepal. I asked Katherine if they needed volunteers to help out, and she reluctantly said “yes” with the caveat that the organization couldn’t afford to send me. I told her that I was able to pay my own way, to which she was happy I was offering to volunteer.

So here we are, the day before I leave for my trek with Katherine to India and Nepal. I have been reading up on the cultures, the wildlife (which I do with every trip) and working with the group to plan for any unknown that could come our way. I have been so busy with my consulting and preparing for this trip that I haven’t even had a chance for it to sink in. The girls and I have been texting each other throughout each day as we get closer and closer to our flight out. I am just getting to know Barb and Kara, and am already liking the dynamic of the group. Katherine has only rolled her eyes a few times each time we meet, and I’ve only gotten as far as “We can snuggle, but you can’t talk” with her. I’m sure my pushing her buttons will wear thin before we hit the ground in India, so I’ll try not to get a rise out of her too much for the sake of all our sanity.

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