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Brindley...Present.

Brindley...Present.

I've been gone a lot lately, taking little weekend trips that have been nothing but life-giving. I went home, to see my family and my babies (not my actual babies). I went to New Orleans, to celebrate life with the big guy. I took mini-trips to the mountains. I had a weekend with my girls.

It just felt right to end it all with Portland. Somehow, it was new and nostalgic all at the same time. It's also fall, and fall is best spent with National Champions...

Let's rewind. That girl up there? That's Brindley. Fate placed us in the same dorm room more than nine years ago. Simply put, she was my best friend in college. We made it through four pre-seasons, four six-minute miles (well, I ran four, Brin somehow got to skip one for something called "bronchitis"), a few boyfriends, lots of hard classes and papers, four Final Fours, and count-em, TWO National Championships.

(Not pictured and an integral part of this trip and all activities mentioned above: Kacie. But relax...she's going to be featured in the next blog post. It should also be noted that Kacie  faked bronchitis as well to get out of the six-minute mile. I win.)

We rode the bench together (me and Brin...not Kacie. Kacie always played because she's Kacie) for a few years and then got to actually play together during our last two years. You learn a lot about someone when you play with them. It's four hours, daily, of concentrated time. You see them struggle and persevere, compete and lose, compete and win. You see them overcome themselves and external obstacles. 

It's been six years since I lived with Brin and/or played soccer with her. But I've watched her do all those same things in real life since we left that idyllic campus. We've both made some big moves, big decisions. And I needed this trip to Portland to end my whirlwind fall season with someone that just knows, ya know? You have those friends that you don't have to explain anything to - they just know. That's Brin. (And Kacie, duh.)

Another thing about all these trips? I've taken my big girl camera everywhere. Which I love. It allows me to document everything that's going on and makes better photos than my phone. But it's also kinda tiring. With that thing in my hand, I can't help but stop at every turn, grabbing moments. This was also the case in Portland, but...

Brin is a farmer. I'm not making it up. Just check out #farmerbrindley on Instagram. My last couple hours in Portland, I went to visit the beautiful farm where she works. I was snapping away with my camera and then looked at the gigantic pile of beets she had to wash before we could leave. I said, "Hey, you got some gear for me?" I put down the camera and pulled on some rubber boots and gloves.

And we washed beets for a couple hours. And we talked: about our families, our old friends, some old memories, and most importantly, about where we wanna go in life. We talked about our dreams and the things that stand in the way. We talked about how cool it was to see ideas come to fruition...we talked about how six years ago, we had no idea that we would both leave the east coast and be washing beets together in Portland. 

Brin is by FAR the most "present" person I know. She is always plugged in, never checking her phone or looking past you. She looks you in the eye when she talks to you and listens with the same intensity. She barely has a cell phone and doesn't use social media. She is the most boomer millennial that I know.

Those precious hours washing beets reminded me of life before social media which can-you-believe-it was less than a decade ago? Brin reminded me of:

a) simpler times.
b) 
why I love her so much.
c) 
the sad fact that I only get to see her about once a year.

Thank you, Brin, for slowing me down and making me put down my camera and reminding me of all that is good in the world. Love you!

 
The Smiths...Through the woods.

The Smiths...Through the woods.

The Holsteins...Family photos!

The Holsteins...Family photos!

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