I met Karissa on the swings at the park near both of our houses when we were ten years old. We lived 5 blocks apart. I didn't see her again until a couple of years later in junior high school, but we were in different grades so we really didn't hang out. Even in high school we were kind of in different crowds. But after high school, and then really after college we became close.
Summer of 2001 was our summer. We had both graduated college a year before that (she graduated from UCSD and I from Chico State), and in the interim she'd moved to Berkeley, and I'd been living in Hawaii. We both ended up back in Sac that summer and all we did all summer was have fun. We somehow had both managed to save enough to take the summer off, and all we did was get iced coffees every day, and went to see live music practically every night. We also laid by the pool a lot at the house where she was house-sitting for the summer. It was pretty nice.
At the end of the summer she left for the Peace Corps in Paraguay, where she spent the next three years. When she returned I was in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, (just north of San Diego) and she joined me there. We lived there together for a year and a half before I moved back to Sacramento.
I moved home because both my maternal grandmother "Mum," and my biological father "Danny" had both died unexpectedly in six months. I had a job I hated as a loan processor for a shady mortgage company, in fact their business practices were so unethical that they were later shut down. I felt out at sea and just really lost so I moved home.
Between the two deaths in the family, a job I hated, and no love life to speak of (except for occasional internet dates that were so bad I still cringe to think of them) I felt like maybe things just weren't working out for me down south. It's been four and a half years since I've moved home, but the one thing I've missed practically every day since I left was living near Karissa.
We did everything together: cooked together, drank wine together, walked on the beach together, watched sunsets together, surfed together, went out for drinks or live music or whatever. She was and still is the person I tell everything to: the good, the bad, and everything in between. If I have great news, she's the person I want to call. If there's bad news, she's still the person I want to call. It's great to have someone you love to talk about everything with. We talk about new wines we tried and love, or new recipes, or places that we want to travel to.
We both love to travel and she's traveled a ton throughout Central & South America, among other places. We went to Cuba together and it was truly a trip of a lifetime. I look forward to traveling together a lot more. We are taking a road trip down the Central Coast this coming week to look at my wedding site, and do some wine tasting, then heading up to Santa Cruz for the bachelorette party. I can't wait! Some of the very best moments in my life have been with her. She's also been with me through some of the worst parts of my life, and I can honestly say that she's one of the few people that didn't walk away when my life was feeling like a bad dream. But things have turned around and now I just look forward to all of the good times ahead. We want to take cooking classes in Italy together, and go to Portugal and Greece, and see Starfish Beach in Panama together, and I forget the rest but there are many more dreams on that list.
I've heard that if you're lucky, you can count your close friends on one hand. Surprisingly, some of the closest friendships I've had in my life, friendship I thought would never change, have, and some of those people I rarely talk to anymore. Not because of a big argument, but just over time and distance, we've grown apart. This will never happen with us. We are like family. We'd do anything for each other. I feel so lucky to have met a friend like this in my life. Our friendship is one of my greatest blessings.