Friends #34 and 40: Andrea and Mark

Be sure to check out the post I re-posted on Beth and James.  Didn’t realize I’d only posted a picture.  AND, the car was repaired for a minimal fee, since the battery was under warranty at Sears.  Thanks to my big brother who taught me way back when to always get a battery at Sears so I could occupy myself by walking around the mall while it was being worked on, and to Kelley and the other guys at Sears in Kenosha, Wisconsin for doing a great job for little money in no time at all!  Onward!

Back to posting: Mark and Andrea are my good friends from Los Angeles.  I was in grad school with Mark, and one day Andrea showed up to our internship, and I remember instantly liking her.  They got married during grad school, and then Andrea was my manager during my stint at Starbucks after grad school.  One of our former coworkers said she was the best manager he’d had in any job.  The last time I saw them was at their going away party in Los Angeles.  They moved to Chicago for a new job for Mark.  But they haven’t yet found permanent housing in Chicago and Mark has been getting trained and traveling and working a lot, so I saw Andrea in Blaine, Minnesota where she was visiting her family.  I was supposed to meet Mark north of Chicago on my way into town and his way out of town, but instead he came to my rescue in Kenosha, Wisconsin when my car died.

While we were in Los Angeles, Mark and Andrea were pretty significant friends of mine, people I could rely on during a struggle or crisis.  Mark helped me move. I picked up Andrea’s mom at the airport right after she’d given birth to their son Evan.  I’ve babysat Evan on various occasions and got to watch him grow.  So it was rather perfect, actually, when Andrea was having a tough day when we met over coffee, and I was stranded on the side of the road when I was supposed to meet with Mark.  It was the continuation of what our relationship had been in Los Angeles, only transferred to the context of this trip.  An intersection of us just living life and showing up in each other’s days.

I have always loved Andrea’s intuition and insight.  She has often helped me to hone in my overly-analytical tendencies.  When we sat down, she said to me, “You seem more at peace.”  And some of it is definitely this trip, and some of it is how at ease I am with her, what she brings out in me.  We navigate a path from deep conversation to belly laughter together.  She talked about what the transition out of LA had been like for them, and it really has been a great big 2-month long transition, some of the joys and struggles of spending time with family.  Mark echoed a lot of the same sentiments about enduring this transition period, along with the steep learning curve he has at his new job.  This was when we had finally gotten the car taken care of and got to sit down at The Brat Stop in Kenosha, which apparently is quite the local attraction.  One piece of thrilling news they shared is that they have gotten approved to adopt a child!

It wasn’t until I was saying goodbye to Mark in the parking lot at The Brat Stop that I realized this really was a significant goodbye, something I didn’t realize with Andrea, probably because I still had yet to see Mark.  I have pretty much been in denial that Mark and Andrea will now be halfway across the country.  It had gotten to the point in LA due to geography and work schedules, I was only seeing them every few months.  And that’s what it felt like, that I would see them again soon.  I’ve been meaning to write them both letters to tell them how much their friendship has meant to me, and I just haven’t been able to bring myself to do it. I haven’t been able to really say goodbye to them.

So Mark and Andrea (and Evan, and global baby to be), I’ll just say see you later.

In all the chaos of the car and getting picked up by my Chicago friend and her 2-month old at The Brat Stop, I neglected to get a picture with Mark. 😦

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