Caroline and I became best friends when her family moved to California from Paris when we were in 4th grade.
At the time, Caroline spoke mostly French and I spoke only English. My mom used to tell a story about the way Caroline and I communicated during those early days (For the record, I think Caroline’s English is probably better than mine now). When we bumped up against a language barrier, we would gesture what we were trying to say. I don’t recall exactly what those things were — how I wish my mom were here to ask her. However, I was a Pepsi girl then *gasp*, so I’m sure I gestured for that. I know what you’re thinking: Yes, I’m my mom’s kid and I’m pretty sure I was drinking soda by then. #dontjudgeme.
Caroline and I were inseparable until her family moved back to Paris in junior high. We remained BFFs, and sent handwritten letters on “Par Avion” stationary and she came to stay with my family for few weeks during the summers until we went to college. We would later sip wine on the streets of Paris and tour the streets of Philadelphia. I traveled to France for her wedding, making the drive with her mom and dad from Paris to the South of France. (The French know how to throw an amazing party. Picture a castle. And wine from Bordeaux. And handsome French men. And dancing until daylight. The whole trip ranks in my top five). Caroline got her her PhD in Marine Biology, and is now a working mom with two sweet kids, living with her husband in Norway. And she’s a survivor.
The Wicked Witch of the Breast came after her in 2010. You know the drill — six months of chemo, surgery and radiation. The Cancer Fairy, bitchbag that she is, does not follow Santa’s lead and distinguish between naughty and nice. Her dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor not long after Caroline was diagnosed. Caroline went into surgery in Norway the same day Caroline’s dad went into surgery in Paris. Caroline is now in remission, but she continues her journey without her dad, who lost his battle in December.
I love you, Caroline. And I live strong for you and your amazing dad. And if the cheese and the baguette freeze on my way up the mountain, I will eat it anyway.