A Letter To My Exchange Student Friends

Dear Exchange Student Friends,
It seems like only yesterday we ran into one another. I remember the first time I met each of you…
Sunny, I met you on the way to Chow. We walked out of our rooms at the same time and realized we were neighbors! Stephanie and I walked down to Chow with you and we talked about Survival Daze. After lunch, we all walked down to the square. You took pictures of everything. But I understood perfectly. You wanted to remember everything. Every smile, every trip, every experience. Then, we invited you to come make sugar cookies and cheesecake brownies with us. That is something I will never forget. Having you there brightened up the whole kitchen. Your name fits you well. You really are a ray of sunshine. I can’t tell you how many times I passed you on the way to class and saw you smile and wave. That always made my day. Getting to know you has been such a pleasure. Thank you for your continual kindness and generosity. You hold a special place in my heart. I am really going to miss you.
Grace, I met you in the Dayroom on our hall. I saw Sunny, and went in to talk. All of you were eating those spicy ramen-noodle-type things (the name escapes me at the moment), and I sat down with you. I tried those noodles for the first time (they were both spicy and incredibly delicious) because of all of you. From that point on, every time you saw me you would wave. The fact that you recognized me and would say hi, even after just briefly meeting me, spoke volumes. You are by far one of the sweetest people I have ever met. I absolutely love talking with you. You speak very eloquently, and your words are always encouraging and uplifting. I admire your compassion for others and your calm, gentle attitude. Keep making a difference in the world, one person at a time. Thank you for friendship. I am going to miss you so much!
Lily, I met you in the Dayroom also. I saw you sitting there by yourself and felt that I should talk to you. And talk we did! You invited your friend to come and talk to me in Spanish because I said I had taken Spanish in high school. It turned into one of the most interesting and hilarious conversations I had all semester. We spent at least an hour or two trying to master the words to “Happy Birthday” in French and Spanish. You make me laugh! I walk away with a smile every time I talk to you. Your enthusiasm is so infectious. I wish I had the kind of exuberance and excitement about everything that you possess. Never let that die. You have the rare ability to make people laugh and smile even when times are tough and stressful. I will miss that next semester.
From laughing in Starbucks until it closed, to taking pictures and dancing at SnowBall, to learning Chinese and Korean- I have so many memories I will never forget. All of you mean so much to me. I refuse to accept that this is good-bye. Someday, our paths will cross again. In the meantime, keep looking at the world in wide-eyed wonder. Never stop taking pictures of what captivates you- whether it be friendship, the sunset, or a perfectly placed cup of coffee. Don’t miss a moment. See the little things and be grateful for them. Laugh, smile, and make friends wherever you go. Love people to the fullest, make memories, and leave a legacy. Know that I will always be here for you.
This isn’t goodbye. It’s more like “to be continued”. I can’t wait for our next adventure! I love you all very much. 
Sincerely, your friend from America,
Mackenzie
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