Janet and I first met at our university’s preview week– we were both searching for a bathroom in the same maze of hallways, and we bemoaned that girl’s restrooms were on every other floor only, remnants of a tech school that was once predominantly male. It made for a funny first meeting story, and so I’ll always recount that moment, despite our later meeting in more meaningful ways. We’d go on to be in the same pre-freshman summer program where we built soccer robots, and then in the same dorm where we’d bemoan awful campus food and cook Friday night dinners together. As freshman, we were a good pair– back then I was way more shy, but Janet would fearlessly march up to talk to people, or non-chalantly walk into buildings that we may or may not have been allowed to have been in, and we had many grand adventures this way.
We lived in an all-girls dorm, the only one on campus. Growing up as a girl interested in mathy and sciencey things, who didn’t wear makeup and couldn’t stand teen magazines, I felt closer to boys in lots of ways. My previous experience was that girls were gossipy and catty and awful, I was uninterested in forming close friendships with them– I was scared to, even. Janet, it turned out, felt the same way growing up, and it wasn’t until living in McCormick that we formed what would turn out to be lifelong friendships with strong, smart girls who would also rather talk about which primates have opposable thumbs and which don’t, and the state of healthcare in Africa (ok and sometimes boybands). It was really a beautiful thing.
I mentioned that Janet loves to cook, yes? We formed a Friday night cooking group, where we’d alternate picking a recipe and getting ingredients (and everyone always helped prepare and cook). And this was actually how I learned to cook for the first time. Janet is also the most amazing baker, baking the best cream puffs I’ve ever had. Her cooking and baking is as fearless as becomes her– she’s eager to try new and daunting recipes, and excited about improvising. And she was generous with her results. One winter, she was done with exams before most of the rest of our group of friends, and she delivered each of us an elaborate homemade meal, dessert included. Given that they were an oasis of happiness amidst the stress of finals, I don’t know that I’ve ever enjoyed a meal more.
I was sad to say goodbye to her at the end of college, as she went off to medical school and I stayed on for more grad school. But we found ourselves together again in San Francisco, and it was like no time had passed. It wasn’t that she was exactly the same, and I wasn’t either, and of course there’s nothing wrong with people changing and growing. But the tie of friendship, that was still same.
Now after her residency here, Janet is off to Boston again, for her fellowship. I felt so lucky and spoiled to get to spend a few years with her again. To commemorate, we booked an Airbnb hut on the beach in Bolinas, and spent a weekend hiking, exploring tide pools, taking lots of photos. And of course cooking– starting a fire ourselves, roasting marshmallows, and grilling burgers. But, it being Janet, we couldn’t have possibly had standard burgers. One of the bags that Janet packed was filled only with fancy condiments and the burgers had red pepper puree, chipotle mustard, monterey jack cheese, among other things. Despite it being a (super charming and rustic) hut, there was no skimping on gourmet food to celebrate our decade-long friendship.
Posted by amy on Mon 17 Jun n 2013 | 1 Comment »