To my forever best friend, I Wouldn't Trade Our Friendship For ANYTHING

To my forever best friend, I Wouldn't Trade Our Friendship For ANYTHING

When I need a friend, you are always there

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To my forever friend,

There are no words that I could say in order to explain the impact you have had on my life. I am eternally grateful for the bond we have created. Thank you for always going above and beyond to always be the greatest friend I could ever ask for.

All of my most treasured memories involve you, because you are always there by my side.

When I need to rant, you always listen. When I need a hug, you open your arms, when I need advice, you always tell me what I need to hear but most importantly, when I need a friend you are always there. No one in this world understands me the way you do, just a simple look and you know what I am thinking.

We accept each other for all of our weird habits and embarrassing moments and laugh them off instead of letting them bother us. We have gone through practically every phase of life together, making us both grow as individuals and as best friends. We hardly have to keep each other updated on one another's lives, because we do practically everything together. There is no better feeling than never having to explain yourself to someone, because they totally understand you.

It is very rare to find someone who is happy for your happiness, and sad for your sadness, but when you do that person breaks all barriers of friendships and becomes family. You truly are more of a sister to me than a best friend. No matter what we bicker about or what disagreements we have, nothing can make us stop loving each other. You truly are a part of my family, and I know I am yours too. My mother loves you as her own and will forever hold a special place in her heart for you and the friendship we share. It is totally normal for me to come home, and you're already at my house, hanging with my family while waiting for me to come home. You know how to joke around with my siblings and they are comfortable enough with you to throw jokes right back at you.

We tend to laugh every second we are together and have more inside jokes than I could ever think of.

We constantly text each other "OMG REMEMBER WHEN…" and they always make us relive some of the funniest days we've shared. Even the simplest things, like running errands, we make an adventure. There is nothing in this world that I would ever trade for our friendship. You're stuck with me for the long run, girlfriend!

Thank you for being my partner in crime, my person, my best friend and the closest thing I have ever had to a sister.

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A Thank You Letter To My Parents

Because I truly don't say thank you enough.
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Dear Mom and Dad,

There are not enough words to describe how thankful I am to the both of you. I know I don't show how grateful I am enough, but I really am. You both have taught me so much, and going away to college and being apart from you has made me realize how much you both mean to me.

Thank you for your endless amounts of love, even when I probably don't deserve it.

Thank you for all your support, no matter what.

Thank you for listening to me cry on the phone, no matter what time of day, and no matter what reason.

Thank you for listening to me rant, ramble, or just talk at you over the phone.

Thank you for editing my papers (even though I'm old enough to do that on my own).

Thank you for making me laugh when I'm sad.

Thank you for knocking some sense into me when I'm acting rash.

Thank you for the meals, the birthday parties, and everything in between.

Thank you for all the advice, even when I don't take it. You guys are always right.

Thank you for the "I love you" texts. They truly make my day.

Thank you for making me so happy.

Thank you for working so, so, so hard to be able to send me to college. That means the absolute world to me, and for that, I will never be able to repay you.

Thank you for giving me the life every child deserves, and being such wonderful parents. When I have children, I want to be just like you.

Thank you for always being there for me. Without the two of you, I don't know where I would be. I realize I do not thank you enough for everything. And for that, I apologize. If I have learned anything while being away from you, it is that you are the most important people in my life, and I love you both more than anything.

So, mom and dad... Thank you. For everything. I promise I will work hard to make you proud.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=777079192352180&set=pb.100001503195533.-2207520000.1444613187.&type=3&theater

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A Word of Advice: Treasure The People and Places That Feel Like Home

Norfolk is somewhere I always look forward to visiting, no matter what time of year. It is one of a few places where I can truly relax.

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My family and I have been vacationing in Norfolk, Virginia for almost a week. I have been going to our house there ever since I was young. Norfolk is one of a few places where I can truly relax. I don't have to worry about school, jobs, appointments, or social obligations. My family and I try to make it to Virginia at least twice a year: once at Christmas and once during the summer. This year, due to my sister's knee surgery, we couldn't spend Christmas in Virginia so we decided to go for spring break instead. I am so happy we did.

Virginia is the place where my mom grew up. In fact, we bought her childhood home from my grandparents and stay there every time we visit. My mom's high school bedroom is now my bedroom. The yearbooks and photographs are all still neatly stacked on the bookshelf, and her art portfolio is wrapped in plastic underneath my bed. The windows are old and rattle when a storm hits. At night, you can hear the tug boats bringing the ships in at Lambert's Point. During the day, the birdsong is happy and you can see the whole West Ghent neighborhood walking their dogs or running on the Elizabeth River trail.

Norfolk is a beautiful part of the world. Our neighborhood in particular is an especially wonderful place to grow up. My mom spent her high school years here after moving around frequently due to my grandfather's career in the Navy. My grandmother built her small business in Norfolk: Rowena's Jam and Jelly Factory, which soon became Virginia-famous. We still visit with my mom's high school friends who all live in the area. We go to Smartmouth Brewery on Orapax Street and drive to Taste Unlimited for the best sandwiches you'll ever have.


Virginia BeachGrace Bellman

There is a lot of history in Tidewater. Even better, there is a lot of family history in Tidewater. If I have learned anything from coming to this area my entire life, it is the importance of maintaining a connection with your roots, with home. I, like my mother, moved around a lot as a child due to my father's job. If I wanted to, I could easily claim to have three or more "hometowns." But it is much easier to just say my most recent home: Dallas. I know deep down that London, Hong Kong, and Norfolk, Virginia mean just as much to me as my home in Texas.

Traveling home is so special. You are surrounded by people who have watched you mature and develop. They have witnessed all your weird and awkward stages, your not-so-graceful moments, and your most impressive achievements. Some of my favorite memories are with family and friends in our backyard in Norfolk on late summer evenings. The mosquitoes are annoying and the humidity is a little brutal but the childhood stories and laugh-until-you-cry tales are worth it.

The Elizabeth River TrailGrace Bellman

As a college student, I have found balancing my connections with home and making friendships at school challenging. I love all the people I have met at college and I know that I have found some future bridesmaids in my sorority sisters, brothers in my guy friends, and mentors in those older than me. But there will always be that tug home, whether that home is London, Hong Kong, Dallas, or Norfolk/Virginia Beach.

Right now, I am spending the week in Virginia. I am trying my best to live in the present and worry less about the future. We have walked along the trail at First Landing State Park, dipped our toes in the ice cold ocean at Virginia Beach, and eaten over half of my grandfather's almond pound cake in just two days. I feel blessed to have a place like this. Norfolk is somewhere I always look forward to visiting, no matter what time of year. Wherever it might be, I think everyone has their own form of Virginia. And it doesn't have to be a place. It could be home in the form of a house, person, or memory. Whatever it might be, I urge you to treasure it. Keep that connection strong and present no matter where your current circumstance takes you. I feel so fortunate that Norfolk will always be that place for me.

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