My daughter's friend Henri, the young woman in black, is back on the American continent after a summer internship and then a semester in France, after which she traveled to Portugal, Spain and Ireland to see long lost family. Henri is from Hawaii and Botswana, and she is a true citizen of the world, a brainy intrepid traveler brimming with curiosity and light. She has been abroad for the past six months, and she's had adventures; we have followed along on Instagram. But now she is happy to come back home; she says she missed her friends more than she ever thought possible. I told her what she must already know, that her friends missed her just as much. She arrived from Ireland this afternoon, and when she came though the door the three girls fell into each other's arms and wrapped themselves around each other in squealing, excited hugs, and I refrained from taking a picture even though it was a moment to behold.
Henri will stay with us till she and my daughter go back the school next week. Their other friend, the one in the red jacket, will be heading off to Prague for her semester abroad. My daughter has no desire to do a semester abroad. She says college is happening so lightening fast she wants to be there on campus and just experience it. She is, however, considering a creative writing program in Rome this summer. She's already applied and things look promising. Oh, to be young and footloose!
Travel of this sort does require some resilience, though. Henri confessed that she was often lonely, and at each new stage of her program she had to get used to a new set of people and start all over again to make friends. She says that now she is home she can really begin to enjoy all that she has done and seen, because while she was in the midst of it there had been no time to process, just schedules and schoolwork and itineraries and figuring things out and nothing left over to take in the magic of who and what and where. But now she says she can look back at her experiences of the past six months and marvel that she actually did all that. She is herself a marvel.