when i started work at abercrombie for my last summer in tokyo, i enjoyed the international mix of coworkers who made my transition into full time work, well as fun as full time work could be. as i introduced myself to everyone, stating i was originally from toronto, many people informed me there were a couple other coworkers who would be attending the university of toronto at the start of the fall semester. as i often experience in the international community, it was a huge coincidence and i was both glad and astonished i would have new friends from my current asian lifestyle, to accompany me in the transition back into my former north american home. i eventually met these fellow future uoft-ers (it took a while as not only is the music incredibly loud and lights incredibly dim, but the flagship store is 11 FLOORS!!!) as i met my soon to be amazing tomodachi, i remembered seeing her while i was having my interview, a few weeks prior. she had mentioned living in mississauga, a quick drive from toronto. we didn’t see each other too much at work due to different schedules, but our brief encounter in my interview made me less nervous to work there.

a few months later , both back in toronto, we met up in to explore the campus and see what life would be like as students in the downtown core. we walked up and down bloor street, excited that our campus was so close to all our favourite stores. she was the type where you could just talk casually with for hours and the conversation wouldn’t feel forced or awkward. she asked you a bunch of questions and was truly interested in what you had to say.

we started our time at uoft together in two of the same classes, which is pretty rare considering there are roughly 60,000 uoft undergrads. naturally, we were both interested in east asian studies, and took sociology as well to fulfill our breadth requirement. what was amazing about having her as a friend in toronto was that she understood the experience of japan-something that’s hard to convey to people who haven’t been. we would talk about tokyo and how much we missed it and being half japanese, i was excited i could say “gomen”, “azasuuu”, “sou nano kan ke neee” “onaka ga suita”, etc, and be understood. another bonus was being able to talk about how “sono hito wa kakkoii desu ne???” and not being understood by the surrounding english students.

we would also always go to the gym together too. it’s great to find a really good gym buddy. you could motivate each other, have someone to go into the weight room and look at hot guys with, etc… (a lot of our friendship revolved around our love for good looking guys… ((just to clarify josh and i weren’t an item yet..love you josh:P!!))

but besides our similar likings for the male population, one of my absolute favourite qualities about her was how fearless she was. she would constantly talk about wanting to sky dive, bungee jump, and similar activities. but she would actually do them! in this respect, she reminded me a bit of my mom. both my mom and her love to live in the moment, something that i believe all of us can take after. another small, yet just as meaningful an example was instead of thinking someone was good looking, she went up and told him directly. in sociology class, with our other good friend kaora, the three of us would try and find the best looking guy in the room (there were 1500 students in our class) to pass time. we all settled on one guy and would occasionally stare off when bryms lectures got long. (which fortunately for us, happened nearly every class). this ended up being her boyfriend before she passed.

besides her fearlessness, she was one of the kindest people you would ever meet. when she eventually did meet josh, she didn’t just say hi and awkwardly scatter off, worried about third wheeling. she stopped, complimented him on his outfit, and asked how his day was going. she smiled from ear to ear, happy for us and our relationship and then left to pursue her day. needless to say i think josh was really impressed with her personality-his liking of my friends was comforting at the early stage of our relationship.

not only impressing my boyfriend, she met my step dad when he was in town from tokyo for a couple days. (side note, this could quite possibly be one of my favourite memories). we were hanging out in craig’s hotel room in between classes and he stopped by to quickly pick something up. she immediately jumped up off the bed, introduced herself while bowing and was SO excited to meet mr. bromley, as she referred to him as. she not only asked how his day was, or complimented him on his outfit. but she asked about manulife and what he did, how he enjoyed living in japan, what his plans were for after japan and how he was enjoying his visit in toronto. i could tell craig was incredibly impressed by her interest in his life. i remember he looked pretty shocked at first, wondering how one of my friends could be interested in life insurance and his experience in japan. but she was genuine and respectful, her mannerisms being another thing i believe a lot of society lacks.

one of my biggest pet peeves is when you have a friend come over and not thank your parents when they leave. it’s insignificant really, but i always feel so awkward when they leave, and your parent is kind of standing there saying goodbye, and all they get is a mediocre, uninterested wave. well definitely not from her. again, i was proud to show off my new friend and excited that craig and josh had enjoyed meeting her as well.

i miss so much hanging out in east asian together, writing notes to each other back and forth. i miss running into class at the last minute and seeing her there saving me a seat, smiling. i miss her her baseball hat she would always wear that looked SO good on her (a trend i currently do as an attempt to make it look as good as she did). i miss our japanese dinner we made where she taught me and kaora how to make okonomiyaki as we laughed and gossiped the night away, with our cheap wine and delicious japanese pancakes. her kindness, her fearlessness, her interest in life are all things i aspire to live by. she did not deserve to be taken from the world at such a young age. no one does. but there was something so special about her, a quality that makes losing her all the more difficult. we lost touch after i moved to new york, only talking every once in a while. but she was one of those friends where conversation picked up exactly where it left off. i always knew she would be there for me, as i hoped i could always be there for her. i love to think back about all the memories we made in toronto. the texts, the old facebook messages and pictures still make me laugh. somethings that thankfully can’t be taken away from me. i’m blessed to have been friends with her and wanted to share a bit of our time together in remembrance.