To my dear friend Joanna,
I didn't get to make a toast at your wedding, but I have been thinking for weeks of what I would have wanted to say if the opportunity had arisen. I even went as far as writing it all out on paper and then practicing it in the car on my way to Seattle that weekend... just in case :) After the rehearsal and wedding were over and you were off on your honeymoon to BC, I thought I would just write it in a card to you. But as I was sitting here ready to post a bit about the wedding and show some of the lovely Kate's photos, I thought - why not just write to you here! Then everyone else can see why I love ya.
I remember (vagely) meeting you during the first week of novice crew practice. I remember you had on boxer pj's and a t-shirt for workout clothes - super casual - my kind of gal. At the time I was still thinking I might row and hadn't swung over to the coxswain train yet, so we didn't get to talking a whole lot those first few weeks. Well the year flew by, and by the end of it we were fellow coxswains, friends, and looking forward to seeing each other next season when I returned for my 3rd year with SPU crew, and you returned for your second.
That second year we became "workout buddies" for erging (I kicked your butt), running (you kicked my butt) and lifting (we were STRONG for our size!). Sometimes we skipped workouts (don't tell coach) and just had coffee in the SUB and talked. And talked... and talked... and became fast friends. I always think it is crazy how similar we were (are) and how awesome it was that we had the chance to experience this part of our lives together!
You know you have made a good friend when she's the first person you call when your boyfriend breaks up with you (thanks Steve) because you know she'll know just what to say, when you need retail therapy (and HELP with fashion advice), when you want to go climbing at the gym (Yay Stone Gardens!), go for a run or walk through Fremont, Wallingford, or Queen Anne, hit up Trader Joe's... Maybe mix a few drinks :) That was my Joanna. We made became FAST friends that year at school, and decided the next two years - hey, we should be roommates!
You know you have a good friend when you can co-exist in a room the size of a walk-in closet and survive. Not only that, we actually enjoyed one another's company! Enjoyed sharing clothes, chats, meals... enjoying life together.
Joanna - we have been asked if we were sisters how many times? 10? No. 20? No. I don't know, but my guess is somewhere around 75 times. Actually, I got asked a few times at your wedding if I was your sister! What a compliment. Perhaps because of our shared petiteness (though I sometimes feel like a giant around you)... but I like to think that it was because people can see that we share a special bond, like the ones that sisters share!
I remember chatting about the boys we wanted to someday marry -- you had such a high standard for this man -- someone who could match wits and energy with you, keep up in an argument or discussion (not easy), obviously a very good looking man, kind, intelligent, motivated, with shared interest such as running/hiking/boating and of course a love of dogs. And honestly Jo, I had to wonder -- did this man even exist?
And then I got this call after you were in Sarah's wedding... About this boy you met who was a groomsman... who was SO cute. Nice. Funny. Smart. Good looking. the list went on. It was Lee! And it was so fun to hear about your friendship over the next few years. Which turned into a relationship. Vacations and traveling, marathon phone calls, shared interests... love. Plain and simple. And I LOVED hearing about it. So of course when I FINALLY got to meet Lee, I had super high expectations... and luckily he was awesome. I felt at ease at once with him! (Could be because we are both a little nerdy... civil engineering and all...) What a blessing. I am SO glad that you went from "we'll see..." to "we're engaged!"
I felt so blessed and priveledged to be one of your Matrons of Honor and get to share your special day with you. Jo -- I know we both have wonderful sisters who we love and cherish dearly (Kirsten, Kendra, Gina) but I want you to know that I think of you as another sister of mine because of the bond we share. And I am so happy to welcome Lee as a brother. You two are fantastic together. I can't WAIT to visit you in Las Vegas!
Love you dear Joanna.
P.S. I had to post a few of your lovely pictures -- you are SO BEAUTIFUL!!! Thanks to the lovely Kate McElwee for letting me take these off her website and post here. Also you should check out the slideshow... it is amazing... not gonna lie - I cried. Again.