Oregon, Ireland, and Boobies.

My grandmother says I still haven’t learned life’s lesson in patience, and that’s why my carefully drawn up plans never work out.

In Spring 2015 I’d been obsessively organizing our move to Ireland for the summer. After 6 years country-hopping we were supposed to be “settling down,” or something to that effect.

I was walking somewhere between Passeig de Gracia and the university when I got the phone call that threw those plans out the window…

When you teach abroad, you wind up with little bits of your heart strewn haphazardly around the world. Today my closest friends live scattered around the world. These are kindred spirits that came crashing into my life in Seville, in Ho Chi Minh City, in Buenos Aires, and in Barcelona. And my life is enriched for knowing them.

But the phone call had to with some girls that I’ve known far longer than that.

Over twenty years ago three girls came into my life who shaped my childhood and adolescence. These girls are now strong, beautiful women, and somehow we’ve remained as close as always despite my inability to stay in one place.

Most people don’t understand how or why the four of us have remained so close. Sometimes I don’t think I understand it myself.

…So, let’s get back to the phone call.

I sat down on the steps of the college as I learned that one of these unbelievable women had been diagnosed with breast cancer. We didn’t know any of the details of the prognosis – and I had questions about everything.

What I did know is that my Master’s was finishing soon, I was going to be in-between jobs anyway, and Ireland would have to wait.

The strangest thing of all is that people kept applauding me for this decision, as if it even was a decision at all. If I said “my sister has cancer,” people would have understood. For some reason, the lack of a biological link with my friend leads people to believe that I did something above-and-beyond.

They may not be biological family, but they are sisters all the same, and we have always been stronger together.

The good news? Her prognosis was fantastic. A few months later and we had left that scary time behind us. 

And I still moved to Ireland….just a little later than expected. 

Now go fondle your boobies – and encourage your sisters, biological or not, to do the same. Every second counts.

Originally published in part on TEFL Adventures.

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