this one time, my best friend cousin and i got really excited to take my sister to college. a college we didn’t attend, and had never been too. we were sooooo excited. possibly more excited than my sister. it was also on that trip that everyone thought we were checking my cousin in to school as well.
rachel and i landed an hour apart in salt lake. i waited at her gate for every. last. person. to exit. i started to worry she had missed the flight. or maybe i was at the wrong gate. but everyone who deplaned was tan and wearing shorts. it had to be the right plane. and then she came around the corner, blocked by the woman being helped in the wheelchair.
becky picked us up and north we drove making necessary stops on our way to rexburg. deseret industries for dishes. bed, bath and beyond for baking supplies. the idaho falls super walmart swallowed us for at least two hours.
we taught rachel many life lessons in that overrun walmart:
on frugality, “that laundry soap is probably exactly the same, and it’s $2 less.”
on studying, “do you have any highlighters? you need highlighters. get several colors.”
on sharing a refrigerator, “you have to have sharpies, trust us! get the 4-pack. anything that is yours, initial it!”
on menu planning, “what do you like to eat? now, what will you actually make?” we stood in a daze in front of the empty chicken flavored ramen noodle shelf, and forced ourselves to find the peanut butter, tuna, salsa and tortillas.
tired and hungry, we drove in to rexburg at night following the glow of the temple. my friend’s loving family was there to welcome us. the cannons fed us well and answered our questions. they shared their love of byu-idaho and their community. they eased my anxious nerves.
it took four tries to get sleepy head rachel up in the morning. becky and i loaded the car while she sluggishly showered, chose her outfit and fixed her hair. with a delicious breakfast in our bellies we made our way to the swarming campus. it would take several trips from the car to her dorm. students with orange polo shirts gave us directions and took bags spilling out from our arms. (more than twice those helpful kids asked becky which dorm was hers.)
rachel, in her skinny jeans, quirky t-shirt and converse matched the other kids on campus. it was a far different landscape then when i was moving in to heritage halls in 1996 with wide legged jeans and baggy shirts.
being the seasoned college girls that we were, becky went straight to the bathroom to stake out rachel’s shelf. i found the sharpies and started writing an ‘rt‘ on every piece of anything that was hers in the kitchen. rachel began setting up her room.
on campus we picked up her books and waited in line for her student i.d. her student i.d. that looks amazing. i was a little jealous – in my freshman i.d. i look like a 35-year old soccer mom which surprisingly looks nothing like my current almost 35 year old self.
we only had two hours before rachel would meet up with her i-group and start freshman orientation. broulim’s supermarket was our next stop. we puzzled over the entire section dedicated to fresh salsa and homemade tortillas but did not complain. rachel stocked up on milk, bread, cheese, butter and yogurt. with just a little time to spare we hit up a taco bus and rachel flirted with the cook.
back to her cute dorm to eat our lunches and finish initialling her food. and then it was 3pm. rachel was frantically brushing her teeth and grabbing her apartment key and name tag. before i knew it she was running away from me with cute roommie liz. “rachel!” i called after her. “i won’t be here when you get back.”
she ran back for one last hug. i tried to wish everything good on her in that instant. good roommates. good teachers. good classes. good experiences. a good ward. a good job. good friends. good grades. good decisions. a good life.
becky and i drove away from that small campus that belongs to my sister now. i was only a little bit sad, but mostly happy.