First up is my best, best friend Bryce Botsford.
At the first orientation for the inbound Swiss exchange students I noticed Bryce because I though he was pretty cute and because he kept taking his shoes off! During one of the lectures (that's how it sounds when rotary preaches the rules to us) Bryce sat next to me and immediately started whispering jokes in my ear. We had just come from the most horrifying lecture of my life! Two old ladies talking about how they still wear thongs and want sex (yes I'm serious) to warn us about sexual harassment. If you can imagine Bryce's jokes had more than a little to do with that.
When I started language course, there he was again! We had both gotten ourselves hopelessly lost on the first day of class and had to be hunted down by one of the worker guys. Next thing I knew Bryce was bailing us out of our placement test and we were sitting next to each other learning the German words for furniture. And that's when our friendship began.
Me, Bryce, Sara, and sometimes Kaitlin goofed off pretty much everyday in language course. Our teacher Michael never caught me and Bryce though, only Sara! We played dots and word scramble and lots of other dumb games. We laughed all the time, drew ugly pictures of each other, and bonded over our zero understanding of German. The worst though was when Bryce would "accidentally" throw his water bottle, pen, whatever (this happened multiple times) in front of our desks and then while retrieving it would bend over and moon us all! Gross!!!
After language course ended our little group of friends broke apart. Kaitlin went home and then eventually Sara did too. I was devastated because I loved them! And I didn't know how it was going to be with just me and Bryce, but it didn't take long for me to figure that things would be just fine, more than fine.
Bryce became my best friend and I'll be honest, I never expected to be so close to this crazy kid from California who teased me constantly. As the year went by though, we just got closer and closer. I told him everything and he did the same, even though sometimes I didn't want to hear it. Bryce was pretty popular with the ladies and that's all I'm going to say about that!
We didn't live very close to one another, but we got in the habit of meeting about once a week in Zurich to eat and hang out and If we couldn't get together than we would at least talk on the phone. I remember our last lunch. I had a pretzel and he had a wiener and some beer, but I'm getting ahead of myself. We did way more things together before goodbye!
We were with each other through the thick and thin, the homesickness, the frustration, the funny, and the happiness. We were there through it all. Every rotary weekend trip we had a new adventure and tons of fun. I almost died from being such a good friend and going to his birthday (If you don't know the story then go back a few posts!). I was super funny and made him laugh all the time and he cracked me up. One time he ran with me for like 8 minutes straight from one end of Zurich to the other just so I would have the motivation to keep running and catch my train. He saved me from a creepy hobo by pretending to be my brother. He went with me to my Church's Christmas program and to the Church's sport day. He respected me for my standards. He always offered me a drink of his beer just so I wouldn't feel left out, even though he knew I'd never drink it. I tried to pierce his ears for him with a safety pin. I went with him to buy earrings in chick stores so he wouldn't feel too awkward. When he was mad I tried my best to be there for him. I gave him my super dark sunglasses. I didn't tease him too much about... well he knows! Best friends, through and through.
One time my friend was watching me and Bryce together and after Bryce walked away she came over to me and told me she just didn't see how we could be such close friends. She thought we were too different to get along so well, and we are different, a lot different! But for some reason that just doesn't seem to matter!
Then there was the Euro Tour. I don't think I have ever had so much fun in my entire life!
Bryce, Jess, and I were together pretty much the whole trip. It was incredible. I wish I could do it all over again! We ghosted, dropped quarters, talked in British accents, butt tickles of course, quarters (or whatever foreign money we used), scramble, and so much more! Man it was a blast.
I spent my last day in Switzerland with him and Jess and it was great. They spent the night and then we went to the airport. I almost missed my plane because I stayed out there so long talking to them and all my other friends and host families that were there. Bryce and Jess walked me to the last possible point and then I crossed through security and a thick glass wall separated us. That's when I started to cry, looking back at them and knowing it was really goodbye.
I can't imagine Switzerland without Bryce. My year would have been so much less without him in the picture. So Bryce I love you and I miss you and I'm so glad that I know you!