I will go ahead and say that this blog post is more for me than it is for readers.
I don’t remember much about my freshman year of college. It often comes to me in the smallest of ways, no more than a snippet of a memory–an inside joke or a sweet note. I kept a blog on Tumblr of my entire college career. I was a lot more dedicated about updating it the first three years and a little lazier about it towards the end, but I have them nonetheless. They are mine and I am very thankful for the gift of social media. I may not remember it myself, but I can scroll through my Tumblr and see the moments that shaped my experience at Gardner-Webb. I can see when I became friends with people and, sadly, when I stopped being friends with people. But that is a post for another day…
Today I want to talk about one particular memory, taken from my own mind and not the blog. I can quite vividly remember the moment I met Adel.
At Gardner-Webb University they have this torturous program called University 111. It is a requirement for all freshman. Perhaps it wouldn’t have been quite as terrible if I wasn’t such an anxious introvert. Anyway, it’s more or less a class where you learn how to be a college student. They teach you so much, and also absolutely nothing. They don’t warn you about how much you’ll grow to hate CAF food. They don’t tell you how hard it is to make it to that 8 am and not just stay in bed. They don’t tell you that you’ll definitely spend more time watching Netflix than you will studying for any of your classes. They don’t tell you that most of the people you meet freshman year probably won’t stay your friends. And they make certain to leave out any and all information regarding what to do when you eventually fall in love with college life and have to leave. What University 111 does is put you in a room with ten to fifteen complete strangers and make you pretend to get along and like each other until you actually do. Now, I will go ahead and say that I did not stay friends with anyone that was in my University 111 class, in fact, I can’t remember any of their names. But, it I met one of my best friends through one of the group building events that University 111 forces you to do.
I remember sitting cross-legged on the floor of Marissa’s dorm room watching her paint. Marissa would become my roommate the following year, but at this point, we were just new friends. She is incredibly artistic and was busy preparing for her University groups activity at October Fest (an indoor Halloween festival that Gardner-Webb hosts every year). They had to run a booth and give out candy to the hundreds of kids that would be coming for the festival. Their theme had to do with princesses and they were giving out paper crowns.
There was a knock at the door and in came a girl who I’d never seen before. I don’t remember if she introduced herself or not, all I remember is that she had the thickest accent I’d ever heard in my life. Hungarian–although I didn’t know this at the time.
Adel looked down at Marissa and I and said, “Ayeneegum.”
It was clearly meant to be English but she’d said it with such force that it was almost frightening. Her thick accent made the words blend together until it sounded like one long sound. Naturally, we were confused, Marissa, less so than myself since she seemed to know this girl and I most certainly did not.
She was asked to repeat herself and again she forcefully said, “Ayeneegum.” When this was met with blank stares, she spoke again, “Ayeneegum.” This time she snapped her teeth together for added effect. Marissa and I exchanged an uncomfortable look.
One of us asked, “You mean gum? Like chewing gum?”
Adel rolled her eyes as if we were complete idiots and said, “No, gum.”
“It’s like a candy…”
“No.” Adel grabbed the waistband of her athletic shorts, pulled the fabric taut before letting it snap back against her hip. “Gum.”
I remember putting the dots together and grinning. “Oh! You mean elastic?”
Turns out, that is exactly what she meant.
And that is the story of how I met Adel.
I could go on and on about her and how funny, and sweet, our friendship is. Of the people I met freshman year, Marissa and Adel are the only two friends who have remained with me. They are, perhaps, some of the friends I hold most dear to my heart because I have known they the longest. They have known me since I was still learning who me was. It’s crazy how much has changed since that day in Marissa’s room. I don’t know how the heart decides to love someone or why it does, but I most certainly love my friends.
On Tuesday morning Adel will fly back to Hungary and I may never see her again. I don’t want to think about it, but I don’t know how I can avoid it. It is happening whether I want it to or not. For four years I have had a clock on my phone set to Budapest time so I know when I can message her. For four years I have read every text message she sends me in her accent. I have been her teacher, her editor, and her mom. She calls me “mum” and has for as long as I have known her.
And she is getting on a plane and leaving. I know that my heart is going to break in a whole new way on Tuesday. Adel has always wanted to know why I haven’t included her in any of my books. I have a tendency to write people in, or their idiosyncrasies, unintentionally. She wants to be in a book and I want to write her in, but I know that I cannot do her justice. I can’t explain who she is on a page–I’m trying right now and failing, I can already tell. I don’t know how to express the kind of person that she is. I can’t perfectly capture her accent or her odd way of speaking. I can’t describe to you just how easy it has become to understand her. The way she talks is natural, normal and I love it. I love her. She is one of my best friends in the entire world. And I always want to tell her that I can’t write her in because no one will believe me. An agent or beta reader would accuse me of being stereotypical or misrepresenting a group of people. But Adel is just that unbelievable. She is not ever Hungarian. She is absolutely insane.
She is often more naked than she is clothed.
She eats mayonnaise on her pizza.
She always swaps out her middle finger for her pointer finger whenever I do something she doesn’t like.
She’s never eaten at a Tacobell.
Her American alter ego is named “Elizabeth Happy” and she calls herself that whenever she wears makeup.
She can’t say the Hungarian alphabet because it is too long.
At Christmas, we play Santa Claus and leave candy in her shoes.
Her laugh is always forced, then turns real.
American curse words never really sound as harsh when she says them.
She taught me how to say “hide and go seek” in Hungarian and I would tell you what it is but I actually have no idea how to spell it.
She loves the One Direction song, “Steal My Girl” because she usually can’t remember the words to American songs and instead sings, “Na Na Na” to the tune. It actually works for this song.
She once rode around campus hanging out of the passenger side window of Katie Pie’s car.
She cries whenever she hears the song “I Lived” by OneRepublic.
She is currently road tripping across American and by the time she leaves on Tuesday she will have seen more of my country than I have.
Our group of friends often joke about how she is a mythical creature. She isn’t real. She doesn’t exist. But she does–and I am so incredibly blessed to have known her.
Also, I don’t think she ever did find the elastic she was looking for. 🙂
Hello! My name is Brianna Joy Crump and I am a twenty-two-year-old writer from Raleigh. North Carolina. I am a recent graduate from Gardner-Webb University where I received my BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing. While in college, I wrote nine and a half novels, as well as multiple short stories and a handful of poems. I am currently rewriting one of my novels and hoping to pursue agents and publishing come the fall. For more information, feel free to contact me on social media or check out my website.