One of the places we stayed on our trip was with Carol, a golden friend I've know since 2006 when we got slapped onto the same short-term mission trip to Guadalajara, Mexico. We were there for 4 weeks together, and she quickly became my mother figure on the trip; she watched out for me, had my back. We shared a crammed room with 5 other girls in a little village, climbed roof-tops, then stayed in a proverbial mansion, squished into hot, humid Mexican buses, stayed in a giant pink room on mattresses on the floor, sang in banks, and shared a bed in a place called "La Cucaracha", a sea-side hotel literally infested with its name-sake.
After that trip, I flew down to see her in San Diego about 6 months later, and spent a lovely 3 days together, seeing her beautiful city - and falling in love with it myself.
I never thought the next time we would see each other would be on my West-bound roadtrip. Even though our lives have changed, and circumstances have shifted, and we've grown, she's still the same sweet, caring, sassy-beautiful girl I met 7 years ago.