My very first roommate was my best friend from eighth grade, Elly. I don’t even remember how we met. I felt like we spontaneously began hanging out, and something clicked. All of a sudden we were at each other’s houses every weekend, she was coming over after school, and we would talk for hours on the phone. It felt like I had known her forever, I could tell her anything, and everything was funny, no matter how stupid it was.
Our friendship continued to grow as we entered high school and faced the many challenges of being angsty teens.
We whispered about our crushes, we gushed over first kisses and boyfriends, and we got into and out of trouble together. We prepared for homecomings and proms, we experienced first loves and heartbreaks, and we had endless and ridiculous inside jokes. She was my El and I was her Whittr, and for a long period of time, we were inseparable.
As we entered our senior year of high school we opened to a new chapter. We discovered new, lifelong friends, new boys to crush on, and had many new experiences, but through it all we experienced it together, even if it was through secondhand storytelling. We applied to colleges, eagerly awaited acceptances and denials, and soon we found out we would both be attending the University of Georgia in the fall.
It was a no-brainer, we had to live together, and we were destined to be at UGA together. After all we had already closed out middle school and gone through the entirety of high school side by side, adding college to that list seemed natural. We spent the entire summer planning our dorm room. Comforters, rugs, curtains, posters, a refrigerator, a futon, and everything in between were purchased, packed, and ready to make the move to Athens, GA.
For five years, post-high school, Elly and I were roommates. We moved from a tiny dorm room to a tiny apartment, to an adorable house. We lived with four different girls in five years, but the two of us were always consistent. We went through roommate drama, long-term boyfriend breakups, new boys, new friends, and a lot of growing up together.
Suddenly the tiny, former, silly middle school girls were about to graduate from college and enter into the real world. Suddenly, topics of conversation were being directed toward our career, paying bills, future engagements, and marriages. Long gone were our giggling talks of which boy we wanted to say hi to in the hall, here we were college graduates, and soon-to-be workforce members, discussing the real possibilities of our grown-up lives.
It felt like the past ten years had flown by in a blink. One minute we were whispering in our basement, the next we were standing in our empty house in Athens, GA ready to move to the big city of Atlanta. For the first time in five years, we were going our separate ways, living with different people. Shortly after our “separation” Elly began throwing the word “LA” around. We already had two friends out there, and Elly was ready to pursue her dream of acting.
I brushed it off, yes it would happen eventually, but I assumed it wasn’t in the near future. A few months passed with no new updates, and suddenly Elly announced she would be leaving. Come spring she would be making her way to Los Angeles. I was excited for her. She was finally going after her dream, finally putting her drama degree to use. I wished her all the happiness and prosperity in the world.
We made a point to hang out often in the last few weeks, and before we knew it the day before her departure had arrived. We agreed to meet at a pizza place in Buckhead, I was sad, but knew her move was for the best. I don’t think I realized how sad I was until our final goodbye. I couldn’t hold it in any longer, tears streamed down my face. It finally hit me, she was actually moving, she was about to be 3,000 miles away. After over ten years of friendship and five years of living in close quarters, she was putting a lot of distance between us.
It was a happy, sad goodbye. Elly was about to start an adventure and get on with the rest of her life. I knew I would visit her and she would be back when her budget allowed, but she was still leaving. There would be no more spontaneous brunches at “The Biscuit”, no hangouts in the park. Now our hangouts had to be pre-planned and budgeted.
Despite the distance and time that has passed, I am happy to report we talk regularly. Some days it feels like she is right down the street, rather than across the country. In a sense, our conversations have become more meaningful, as we update each other on big events in our lives, rather than small, daily occurrences. I feel just as close to her on the other side of the country as I did when she was just across the hall. Although it feels like she lives in a different world, she is in fact only a short plane ride away.
- Visual journal
- Rubber cement
- Blue watercolor
- Book page
- Paintbrush and water
As the day approached for Elly’s departure I began to plan out her page. I couldn’t let her leave without acknowledging her in my book, creating a memorial to our friendship and this first big step away from each other. After some thought, I decided it needed to be a reminder to me that even though she is far away, we can still visit each other.
I found two maps, one of California and one of Georgia. I decided to cut them in circle shapes, with our respectable cities in the center. The circular shape hinted towards the feeling of us being in separate worlds. To further push that idea I added rings around the “planet” shapes. The first set of rings was cut from a larger North American map. The next set of rings was cut from a blue and green page from a magazine. I added a few other green pieces behind the Los Angeles world and blue splatters behind the Atlanta world.
To finish off the page I glued down an airplane cut-out and added the words with a sharpie. If I could do this page over again I would put the LA words in a different space, they are a little too hard to read in the crease of the book.
Create a page about a move that somehow impacted you.
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