It was the first day of school. College, actually. I had been living in the dorms for barely 3 days, and it was time for classes to begin. I arrived in the quiet classroom below Elam bright and early for my advanced Spanish class. Turns out, I wasn't as advanced at Spanish as I thought. It was mostly upper classmen in the room, and they all looked like they knew some kind of secret. I felt intimidated, to say the least. As I scanned the room for a seat, I found a face that seemed younger than the others, so I sat down next to the only other freshman in the room and introduced myself. Then class started, and for the next hour I didn't hear a single word in English. I promptly dropped the class and never thought twice about what I might be missing. I did, however, remember my new friend. We ran into each other occasionally around the dorms and in social settings, and then at the start of my sophomore year, we moved into the same suite. And now, 7 years later, I'm heading to her surprise birthday party. We've been through thick and thin in the time since that first hello, there to share triumphs, failures, happiness, heartbreaks, and our lunch. She's my roommate, my model, my proof reader. My best friend. Happy birthday, JoEllen.


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