Ok well not actually Oklahoma. Well sort of. What am I trying to say? This week our wanderer Nicola hits on a topic that I have experienced too: the friend who travels.
I had a good friend in high school and we would do everything together. After graduation, though, rather than mundane we managed to see each other around the world. From Denver, Colorado to Aix-en-Provence! Where is Nicola going this week? Well read and see:
Oklahoma. OKC. OK. Have you ever been? I have, twice. And hopefully again.
In fact, it was one of the most exciting holiday destinations of my life!
Does that strike you as odd?
Where the heck IS that state?
Let me explain.
If you are familiar with Dr. Seuss children’s book, it all begins with the mischievous yet lovable Thing One & Thing Two…
Things One & Thing Two met in kindergarten in Bermuda. They became not just friends, but BFF’s. Thing One & Thing Two earned their nicknames because they were just as naughty as the duo in Dr. Seuss: sneaky, giggly and artfully troublesome. One sideways smirk at the other, and both would collapse in a fit of laughter. They had sleepovers, watched Indiana Jones, went rollerskating, annoyed their older sisters, laughed at the “green man” in Beauty & the Beast, frolicked in the waves on play-dates at the beach, and burnt grass outside Thing One’s house – just to see what would happen!
It gets better. Thing One lived on the American Base in Bermuda, which was a highly controlled area. Thing Two was ecstatic that her best friend lived on on exclusive part of the island, as she was granted permission to visit her friend. On the Base, there were all sorts of cool American things: instead of Cadbury’s chocolates, the Thing One ate Hershey’s chocolates like Almond Joy and Mounds. There was a McDonald’s fast-food restaurant, and down the street there was an all-American baseball field! There were even private beaches for the Base residents.
Two classic stories come from those beaches!
First was the bathroom breakout, when Thing One & Thing Two were in the bathroom on a (rather deserted) beach. They were stuck inside and the door would not open. Thing One and Thing Two were worried they ere stuck forever, in a toilet.
So, Thing Two wrapped toilet paper around her hand and smashed the glass window panes out of the high window. The girls jumped out of the window and landed in a thorny bush, but lived to tell the tale.
Second, was Thing One’s birthday abandonment. A handful of friends were invited for a beach bash, and back to the house afterwards for cake & ice cream. On the short car ride from the beach to the house, Thing One’s mother realized that they had left the birthday girl at the beach by mistake!! Which is scary when you are 8yrs old, and even WORSE when it’s your birthday…
Then, everything changed. The summer before Grade 4, the American Base closed and Thing One’s family relocated to Oklahoma, USA. Where? Why? NOOOO… Who would Thing Two play with at school? How would they keep in touch? How can you survive without your best friend? Initially, they wrote letter, cards and notes on a monthly basis. They both had childhood dogs, so they mailed each other their dog’s fur in Ziploc bags. Thing One had a pool at her house in Oklahoma, and she sent Thing Two pool water in a small container (who kept it in her freezer for years!).
For Thing Two’s birthday in October, she received a cereal box. How disappointing! But, digging inside, she received a great surprise: two airplane tickets for her and her dad to Oklahoma for November break. Life was good, friendships were rekindled! The following summer during school holidays, Thing Two went on a family vacation to New Mexico, Texas… and Oklahoma! Both families played catch-up, with Thing One’s family showing the visitors the wild & wonderful Oklahoma: Braum’s ice cream, Sonic drive-in food, Men in Black at the drive-in movies, Frontier City amusement park, the musical Oklahoma! at an outdoor theater, and the National Cowboy Museum. Not to mentioned kayaking on the river and collecting Beanie Babies…
Then… the inevitable happened. The girls grew apart, middle school consumed their lives. They found new friends, and their memories were just that – memories. High school brought along computers, and they slowly & hesitantly began to email each other and use AOL instant messenger. In fact, Thing One taught Thing Two how to do the sideways smiley face )
They saw each other once, as teenagers, when Thing One visited Bermuda with her mother. Add in the glasses & braces – and it was enjoyable yet awkward.
Fast forward to university: In the January-April 2007 semester, both girls were going on exchanges to Europe – Thing One to Rome and Thing Two to Paris. The universe was conspiring to bring them together again! What were the odds they’d be in capital cities in Europe, same semesters? They planned to visit each other in Rome and Paris. Sadly, Thing Two attempted her first solo, weekend getaway a month into her Parisian adventure, and it was a fiasco – inclement weather, cancelled flight, hysterical call home to her parents at 5am their time… needless to say, Rome was axed. Luckily, Thing One had better luck arriving in Paris in March 2007. Despite being a gloomy, rainy weekend, the girls had an absolute ball: nipping in to the Louvre for free on Friday, taking in the view from the Eiffel Tower, and feasting on crepes and espresso in between downpours. The only thing better than an American exploring Paris is an American exploring Paris with her Bermudian best friend!
Since Europe, Thing One and Thing Two have reunited. With the help of technology, the long-distance relationship is not quite so long. With the click of a button, they can do what they do best: share their wild & crazy stories and prepare for their next adventures! And they have been adventuring in Bermuda. Thing Two came to visit for a week in summer 2008, where the girls were up to their old tricks once again. Just mention Limoncello or 445 boys, and Thing One & Thing Two will burst into laughter. A wonderful Christmas visit to the island in 2009 led to Thing Two dragging Thing One to a school reunion to see her long-lost classmates. Most recently, on Thing One’s family cruise from New York to Bermuda in summer 2010, both families were reunited after a whole decade.
Why write this now? Well, it was Thing One’s golden birthday recently, 25 years old on November 25th.
Happy Birthday, Thing One! Love, Roadkill )
Categories : Nicola Arnold's Columns, Uncategorized