ELF-BFF!

by Tabitha Kidwell

One reason my second year in Indonesia was so amazing was the people I got to spend it with – the 19 other English Language Fellows in the program were some of the most creative, intelligent, thoughtful, and FUN people I’ve ever met! Though we were spread all over the archipelago, we came together for conferences, workshops, camps, and – oh, yeah – vacations pretty often over the course of our 10-month fellowship. More than anything else, they are what made my second year so wonderful!

That is not to say that the fellows my first year were not wonderful – they were great, actually, and it really isn’t fair to compare them to the lightening-only-strikes-once, one-in-a-million-odds, i-love-these-people-so-much kind of group like we had this past year! Everyone got along, and everyone brought something different and valuable to our group dynamic. I think I freaked the new fellows out at our orientation in DC, because I kept saying things like “How is it possible that you guys are all so cool?” So, I guess the “something different” I brought was awkward conversation, but everyone still seemed to appreciate me. Whenever we got together, it was sure to be a blast, so we were all sad when it had to come to an end.

Luckily, some of us got to have one last hurrah! About half of the fellows had other plans to get to right away – elaborate travel plans across the Trans-Siberian Railroad, for example – but nine of us were able to get together in Bali one last time! This was made all the more fun by the fact that almost all the ladies could make it (we missed you, Autumn, Christy, Liz, and Lori!). People came and went at different times, but I (and my friend Debbie who was visiting from Ohio) got to hang out with these amazing women for over a week! We did lots of fun things:

We had great conversations over lots of delicious meals!

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We chilled at the pool…

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…and at the bar…

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…and at the beach!

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We made furry friends…

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…and some furry enemies.

Our hotel may have been a little too close to the monkey forest - this guy came in the hotel room and ate our crackers one morning!

Our hotel may have been a little too close to the monkey forest – this guy came in the hotel room and ate our crackers one morning!

Some of us did the Bali marathon/half-marathon/10k.

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And Jackie & Jess killed it at the Bali Triathlon!

Age group 1st place!

Age group 1st place!

Age group 3rd place!

Age group 3rd place!

Okay, she may have taken the phrase "killed it" too literally.

Okay, she may have taken the phrase “killed it” too literally.

But the truth is, it didn’t matter what we did, because we had so much fun just being together. The friends you make from an experience like this are a special kind of friend – you have been on adventures together, you understand and appreciate each other like family, and you share memories that are so unique and crazy and wonderful that you need to stay friends so you can reassure each other that yes, that actually happened. I’m lucky to have friends like that from many different points in my life, and I feel so blessed to now have a few more.

Friends forever!

Friends forever!

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2 Comments to “ELF-BFF!”

  1. That pool looks really familiar! 😀 Glad to hear that you had such a great time your second year. Hope we’ll get to visit now that we’re much closer to each other again. Maybe a Jackie, Tabs & Megan road trip somewhere close!

  2. Love this post! It’s so true what you say about the friends you make during your ELF fellowship being a special kind of forever friend. One of us got married last December and it was a great excuse for a reunion of fabulous women now living all over the world – Virgina, Philly, Ecuador, and Korea! And next month I’ll be going to my ETA’s wedding in Wisconsin.

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