First, I want to mention… Wifi here in Dharamsala so far has been painfully slow and I have been unable to load pictures to my blog… I had a bunch I wanted to post from Rishikesh before I moved on to another town, but it’s just not happenin’, unfortunately… So, until wifi gets better, pictures may only post on facebook from my phone… Sorry people…

Ok, back to Soul Sisters…

The afternoon bell rang right on time at 4:00pm… Afternoon chai time… woot woot!! Oh shit, we’re late, no time for chai… Geez, I will not miss that bell! Siggy and I scurried through our rooms, not so systematically shoving everything into our oversized backpacks, and we loaded them up for the trek down the hill… Huge one (about 40 lbs) on our backs, smaller backpacks on our fronts… A stiff breeze would totally blow us down the hill…. Face plant style!! Nah…. We got this!!!

George is there to greet us with chai and cookies before we say goodbye…. What a treat, room delivery!! You’re the best George! And aren’t you looking dapper in your new shirt! We spend a few minutes chatting and sipping tea and take a few final pictures, then we’re off… Gotta catch that rickshaw to make it to the bus on time!

The bus is pretty decent actually… AC and everything! But, Holy… Bummmpppyy… Bus… Ride… And no bathroom… minor detail overlooked… Sigh… Huh, 12 hours on a bus with no bathroom… This is gonna be interesting! We all take our seats and settle in for the long road ahead…

Siggy and I quickly fall into conversation with plenty of belly laughs to pass the time… Topics like where we might travel together and how she’ll probably end up marrying a Mongolian yak herder just so she can extend her visa. But then we decided that wasn’t a good option because there’s probably some crazy tradition that the new bride is pimped out to the sibling brothers in the village and she’d end up contracting a strange STD… LOL… Hey, this kinda feels like a high school field trip… Funny… I can’t really remember when I had this much time to spend with a female friend, crammed in a confined space, and being totally content just laughing and swapping stories… Hmmm, I haven’t even been gone 3 full weeks yet, and already I feel lighter… freer… happier… Ahhhhhh, finally… The real me returns…

WARNING GUYS: This next part has a high female mush factor… And no, sorry to disappoint, the story does not end with a lesbian lingerie pillow fight party (Comment for a specific friend – You know who you are! LOL)

As Siggy drifts off to sleep with the rest of the passengers, the silence gives me space to ponder this new unexpected friendship with my new soul sister – yep, she’s moved up from the previous cousin designation… Although my thoughts start with Siggy, they actually drift back in time to girlfriends past, and to all the complexities of life that brings distance between friends.

I do have a couple of long time girlfriends back in the states, that I’m really close with, but if I look all the way back to high school and before, although I am in contact with a few of them, we lost that deep connection decades ago and I have to confess, it was of my doing…   I won’t bore you with all the gory details, only the highlights… There was a boy… I was in love… I thought… He was very controlling… I was not the strong independent female I am today… I made some sacrifices and some bad decisions over the course of 3 ½ years that pretty much halted several key friendships and altered the course of my life. It didn’t feel right at the time, but I did it anyway. Geez, I wish I could go back and smack some sense into my 16-year-old self!!

Over the years I’ve reconnected with these girls, and they’ve accepted me with open arms, but it doesn’t reconnect the, would have been, ongoing bond of schoolgirl friendships, or bring back the memories that never happened…. The Friday night sleepovers I missed out on, the football games I never attended and the high school dances I stayed home for…   I missed it all… And I missed you… my girls.

So, tonight on this long bus ride, with my new soul sister, I am thinking a lot about my old schoolgirl soul sisters… You are with me here tonight Robyn, Beth and especially Mindy, my oldest friend ever – we actually laid in cribs next to each other! Like, seriously, Eryn, you couldn’t have picked something cooler to include them in on? Maybe trekking a mountain or monkey watching or something? Really, a bus ride?

I am thankful to have my new soul sister here with me and to be given the gift of feeling like I’m in high school again… Even if it’s temporary… Because I missed out on that the first go around with my old soul sisters and I have always regretted it… I know it’s all just a part of my story and there surely was a lesson in it. And maybe it was all meant so I fully appreciate the new soul sister in my life… and the few others I’ve been fortunate enough to find along the way, post high school… Either way, I am thankful for all of you and you are here with me tonight… Here’s to you Soul Sisters!!!! Much love…. xoxo   

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