It was hard for me to come up with a word for Alexxa. Because when I think of her, I think of what she means to me and not necessarily what she could mean to other people.
Shortly after I met her, she began to remind me of someone, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Then one day, she was jamming out to some serious 90's tunes (it was probably O.A.R. or Boyz II Men or Blue's Traveler), and it hit me: she was just like my oldest sister and kindred spirit, Katie. The way she conducted herself in professional situations but couldn't help from giggling at inappropriate jokes were so reminiscent of the days I worked with Katie at my dad's office. I made it my personal mission to befriend her.
So I did. After many coffee runs to "The Buck," many Thursday mornings sharing cinnamon rolls, and our year-long conquest to find the best sandwich in Denver, Alexxa became a friend and (she'll hate me for this) a mentor.
I didn't use the word mentor for her, because friend is so much more accurate, and she will think mentor makes her sound old. But you better believe I thesaurused the word mentor to come up with tipster. I know what you're thinking. Tipster has a whole lot of implications. But no, Alexxa isn't a lush. Tipster means, "someone who gives special information; an informer." And I love that for Alexxa! Her advice is always special and different.
The information she gives isn't always direct advice. I've learned a lot just from watching her. She has a calm and even way of approaching stress, usually with a sarcastic remark and not a second thought. She gets over things. Quickly. Katie has told me the same thing all the time growing up, "Rachel, if you hold everyone around you to the same expectations you hold yourself, you will constantly be disappointed." It's not that I have ridiculously high standards for myself, it's just that I am human, therefore unique, therefore my priorities are different than my neighbor's. And Alexxa lives this way. She doesn't get frustrated if people operate differently than her. She simply finds a common ground and learns how to work around it.
Because I work with her, a lot of what I've learned from her is about work. But she's also taught me about marriage, about joyful compromise, about friendship, and about self-sacrifice. She takes the time to make everyone feel comfortable and cared for but won't look you in the eye and tell you what you want to hear. She is honest, bold and loving and I can't imagine living this life in Colorado without her.
(So far, the best sandwich in Denver is the Panza from Mangiamo Pronto.)