Saturday, I hopped on a bus to Philadelphia to visit my best friend Priya.
First, a little background on what this means. Priya and I go way back. We have known each other since fourth grade and have been best friends since somewhere around sixth/seventh grade. We saw each other almost every day for eight years. However, seeing each other in the hallways and sleepovers a few times a month wasn’t the kind of casual friendship we wanted. Priya called me every afternoon after school. If she didn’t, I would call her after dinner. We just had a system worked out. I was never as faithful to her as she was to me. In fact, I don’t know if I have ever met a more faithful person.
So when she (and her family) moved to Pennsylvania after high school graduation, we learned to adapt. When we both started college, time and stress made us focus on other things and people. Still, we agreed that, for as long as we can, we will try to see each other at least once a year. Communication has gotten more difficult as she has started med school and I have given much of my life to student publications, but we still talk when we can and stay in touch. The first summer after we went to college, she came back to Clovis and helped me housesit. The second year, I came to visit her before heading off to Oxford for the summer. This year, we were afraid it wouldn’t happen because I was considering internships all over the country and she is heavily involved with med school (naturally) so we were kind of sad… until I decided to go on the Washington program and we discovered we would only be a few hours apart!
So back to my trip. A few days beforehand, we talked about the possibility of taking a bus to Philly. The charter buses are pretty nice and relatively cheap ($28 round-trip) and it had to be this weekend or next. So I looked up directions to the bus stop and got on board Saturday at noon. About two hours and 45 minutes later, I was hugging my beautiful friend for the first time in a year. In between much catching up on our lives, we went to see Iron Man 2 (we saw the first one together years ago) and she took me on a tour of evening Philly, with all the skyscrapers lit up and nice parks with couples in fancy evening attire, strolling arm-in-arm. The next day, I headed back after a lovely crepe brunch with her friends.
It was a refreshingly disaster-free trip. No flights to be delayed, no cars to worry about directions, no trains with stops to count. Though I’m sure on a bad day, the bus could break down, like the one we had to stop and help on our way back to D.C., but I would definitely recommend it in the future.