Ever since I've known Andy, he's held a special place in my heart. We met at a high school football game and afterwards walked to Jewel with mutual friends. Andy ended up spilling fruit all over the ground and I couldn't stop laughing; it was the beginning of the truest friendship I know. If our moms are reading this, yes we cleaned it up. Don't worry.
Throughout high school, Andy and I became extremely close friends and would constantly be together in our free time and at work during the summer. We were always on adventures like midnight runs to IHOP, building toilet paper forts in Walmart, singing in the car as loud as we could, and everything in between. If there's anything we're known for, it's probably going over to each others houses randomly and laying on the floor doing absolutely nothing together. Those are some of my favorite memories.
With going off to college, there's the fear that everyone has of which friendships or relationships will be the same at Thanksgiving or even survive. Don't pretend you haven't heard of the Turkey Drop. Naturally, spending an entire year apart was going to bring it's challenges. No more going to lay on Andy's floor and vent when I needed to.
Would we be the same people in a year? No, of course not. In all honesty, we grow so much independently and have so many stories to tell that it has only made our time together this summer so much more valuable. We get to share so many laughs and truly listen to each other; gaining perspective and understanding from each other's experiences.
We don't sit around talking about the what if's of the future anymore because right now, we're living that future. We might not be together every single day like we used to be, but we get to come together and share all that this life has brought us. Don't get me wrong, we still hang out and have a lot of fun too. Deep down we'll always be those kids laughing in the fruit section of Jewel.
I cannot tell you how grateful I feel to have someone like Andy, who all the way from Germany, knew more about my life than some of my other best friends only a few hours away. That alone showed me that when people truly want to maintain contact with you, they will. They won't get wrapped up with everything going on in their own life, but they'll set aside a moment to catch up with what you're doing or return your call.
That was a gift that I am so thankful to have received. Since truly figuring this out, I've evaluated friendships and relationships to see where I stand with people. That moment of clarity is one that is so freeing. There's no more questions, no more maybes, and only the belief that you are worth someone who will give a friendship so pure that no distance matters.
Andy has been a light in the dark for me. He's been there for the best and the worst of times. Standing the row behind me and holding my hand as we graduated high school together, that's a moment I will never forget. When I was in the ER one time, I woke up to Andy sitting there next to me. I wasn't even sure how he found me. The car rides filled with horrible vocals, from Andy of course, and so much laughter. While gap year was a trial, I still remember every time I would get a postcard from a different country and I'd stand in the dorm lobby reading it. I was usually crying but for now, I have my best friend home with me and I couldn't be happier.
There's the clear image in my head of me standing in Andy's driveway and sobbing saying goodbye last June. Now there's also the one of me running, crying, and hugging him when he returned home this June. All of that fear, was for nothing. For this year, did nothing but bring us closer in so many ways. Getting to see Andy grow and spread his wings across the world is all you could ever hope for your best friend.
If you were wondering, Andy Wang is a pretty frickin cool best friend to have. He just completed his gap year with CBYXV (Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange) in Germany. In that time duration, he visited 18 different countries throughout Europe. This fall, Andy will begin studying pre-law at Harvard with the class of 2023.
Love you longtime, Andy Wang.