I have talked a lot about the blessings of JVC, but I mean it when I say that this was the highlight; this is the best gift I received:
the love and support of these four wonderful women,
who became my Boston family, some of my best friends, and my support system.
What these women know, what they saw, and what they experienced with me is something that no one else will ever quite be able to understand. While others were incredibly instrumental in my year, no one was there in the same way, day in and day out.
Community is it's own kind of love. It's different than friendship or family or a business relationship--probably because it's a strange mixture of all of the above. I'm still floored by the love that these women showed me. They laughed with me on my best days and took care of me on my worst. They challenged me, and as cheesy as this sounds, they also inspired me. They held me accountable, called me out on the things I didn't want to admit, were always concerned for my well-being, and asked the hard questions.
It meant everything to know that on my worst days, when I felt like my personal life was a mess and my performance at work was terrible, I knew I would come home to my community and a meal on the table that night. Somehow that always made things better.
Another of my "defining moments" of JVC was at Orientation while we were discussing our needs for the year, and Abby said very simply that we needed each other. And we did. I couldn't have made it through last year without community; I know that without a doubt.
And I guess that's when I realize that we still need each other, even now that we are far apart. Perhaps we need each other more than we did before--just in very different ways--because they understand the beautiful chaos of last year more than anyone else. When I get caught up in the business of my daily life, I need someone to remind me of the lessons, the challenges, and the beauty of JVC.
We had to learn to live with each other, and now I am slowly learning how to live without them. They were my hardest goodbyes, and I am counting down the days until we are reunited.
So, ladies, thank you, thank you, thank you, for the most beautiful year and experience of community that I ever could have asked for. Abby, Cristina, Kateleigh, and Maggie, I'm better off from knowing you.
P.S. This post is very delayed. I started writing it before I even left Boston, and somehow it took me almost six months to get around to finishing/posting it. But somehow that makes it more meaningful because I think I mean it all more now than I did even then.