By Isabella Brady

I am incredibly lucky to have met my best friend in kindergarten. After a brief exchange of timid “hello’s” our friendship transformed into countless inside jokes and boisterous laughter. Joining dance together I began my six year journey in tap, jazz and ballet classes with her at my side. Together we kicked off our ballet shoes and tore our tights running through her yard and attempting (and failing) to climb the looming trees. She joined me on various soccer teams (I’m at 13 years and counting) and Girls on the Run,  and despite her change in schools we continued having limitless fun. 

By middle school we were attached at the hip, mistaken more often as sisters than really good friends. When she moved back to New Zealand for a couple of years we continued to stay in touch, and in her absence, and to my mother’s great disdain, I promised to look after her pet corn snake. But when she returned, everything fell into place as if no time had passed. She spent many nights at my house and we drove her to class in the morning and soccer practices in the afternoon. When she moved to the sierras we once again made the distance feel short with visits, and adventures. 

Despite being separated so frequently for so long, I am so proud that our relationship has remained so strong. Right now, we are again separated—she has returned back to live in New Zealand and is graduated and adult-ing with a full time job. Across the ocean in a different time zone—she’s literally always in my ‘tomorrow’ — I can feel our bond growing stronger. Whether it’s facetimes, phone calls, or 3 am DMs when I can’t sleep she is always there for me. She is my fearless friend, who took goofy selfies with me all through junior prom, who adopted a mustang, who never fails to make me laugh, who makes elaborate travel plans for trips we will someday take together, who isn’t afraid to rest on the fallen trees towering over rushing streams, and catches crawdads with me; she makes me smile shamelessly and forget that other people are watching. Thanks for being my best friend, I can’t wait until I see you next.

Kaelah Jade Dondero, KJ, you are without a doubt the best thing to ever happen to me.