Michelle: A Chapter of Our Long Distance Relationship

It’s been over a year since I last saw Michelle, despite her being one of my best friends. This might be a problem in a normal friendship, but what M and I have is nothing close to normal.

< Related: This Kid I Know: Michelle >

In the cyber-digital age, when LDRs have gone largely online, the two of us have somehow managed to keep in touch despite not having conversations every day, every week, or even every month.

Maybe you’re expecting us to be #1 Snapchat friends or write old-fashioned letters to each other, when in reality we use something very similar to this very blog to stay in touch. I’ll be the first to say it:

I have a private Tumblr reserved for uncensored rants and late night thoughts and only M has the password. It is here that lots of blog posts for Never Stationary are conceived and refined.

photo 1 (7)

The view from my seat…

This summer, I decided I needed a change of scenery and headed to Overland Park, Kansas. Conversations with other people prior to the trip normally went something like this:

Person: So what else are you doing this summer?

C: I’m going to Kansas!

Person: What’s in Kansas?

…which leads me to my first observation…

Observation 1: Kansas isn’t just one big field of sunflowers.

While I can understand why that might be the immediate impression, this is just a misconception. Think: long winding roads and farms a plenty, but our itinerary reveals that Kansas, if anything, is just like many other suburbs.The question is: what will you make of it?photo 2 (8)

If you’re ever in the top right corner of Kansas, you might want to visit Worlds of Fun/Oceans of Fun, a terrific amusement park/water park where we spent a whole day.

Kansas is also known for its BBQ, so we visited a large barbecue restaurant called Fiorella’s Jack Stack. Try their baked beans and their burnt ends!

And of course, we jumped in her pool and ate at her favorite sushi place and walked all the way to a frozen custard shop and went shopping and had lunch at Chipotle and dinner at Panera and visited an animal farm and sat on a swinging bench together reminiscing about high school. Things you’d be able to do anywhere else, but it’s less about the place than the people you’re with while there.

Observation 2: Heart to hearts are sacred.

Michelle and I have some of the best heart to hearts. It’s rare to find people that will not pass judgment about the things you might be most embarrassed to admit, so I believe that when you do, you should just bare all.

We talk about anything and everything…the past, the near future, the distant future, our parents, friends, boys, music, life…there’s no topic off-limits and we tend to say what we feel, even if we aren’t proud to admit it.

But what I sometimes enjoy more than the talks are the silences that come in between. You know, for lots of people, in order to maintain a sense of comfort or easiness, there has to be constant conversation (Passion Pit!) but M and I spend lots of our time together lost in thought, in a silence that’s really never awkward or dragging.

Observation 3: Status evaluations are a must.

When M came to ATL last summer, we went on college visits to Emory and Tech; I distinctly remember one of our conversations about our shared excitement regarding the future but the subsequent worry about the college process.

Just think, I told her, this time next year we’ll know where we’re both going to college, and the future will still be open and hazy, but a bit more clear. At least we’ll have a background with which we can place our daydreams. 

And a whole year has passed and gone, and here we are, wondering now how college will be and what we’ll do, who we’ll meet, etc.

Whenever we meet up, we’ll both have changed and we’ll probably host another status evaluation, critical for keeping things in perspective.

Observation 4: Long drives have the capacity to be epic.

photo 4 (4)

That beautiful sunset with those cotton candy clouds!

As relatively open-minded individuals, M and I have music tastes that overlap to an extent, and after my visit, I think we both discovered lots of new songs.

Pro-tip: if you ever have to share the same air-space for playing music, have person A with a music device take artist suggestions from person B. If person A has X artist on their music device, they should play songs by that artist, and I promise you two will find some common ground.


But there is something therapeutic about driving for long lengths of time, especially if you have nowhere to go, if the windows are down, and if the sun is just starting to dip low into the horizon.

There’s something about a silence filled with nothing but music…long drives can be epic, provided that you spend them with the right people.

Long story short, my visit with Michelle was intensely refreshing, and I love you.



  1. Pingback: Life hack: Watch the sunrise | Catherine Zhang
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