That feels like long enough for a cliffhanger.
So, way back in August 2007, I met a young woman named Renée (most of my friends get code names on here, but Renée blogs under her own name and I'm about to link to it, so what would be the point?). One of our close mutual friends (you may recall him as my favorite Adirondackian from the Plattsburgh saga) informed me that we should be friends. I was going to be working with her for a week, so I didn't have a lot of time to get to know her, but we were friendly, and that was nice.
At some point, when I got on Facebook, we became Facebook friends, and I got to vaguely keep up with her college life, her commitment to education, her politics. Again, it was nice.
In August 2012, after graduating from college, Renée joined the Peace Corps and started a blog about her life in Namibia. And her blog, which I read, was amazing. She was such a great combination of young-and-idealistic and wise-beyond-her-years. She addressed the ambivalence I have myself about the Peace Corps, and was clearly doing all the right things for all the right reasons. At some point, I was hanging out with a mutual friend (you may recall Bread Truck Grrl from the moving story), and we were discussing Renée, and BTG suggested I should send an Renée e-mail. And I did, which began a very fun and rewarding long-distance friendship.
I'll let her tell you what comes next at her blog. But a couple of additions: Renée told only two people back in the U.S. — her dad and me — when she was coming home, and she stayed with me off-and-on for three weeks. It. Was. Awesome. We had a blast. And, of course, since virtually no one knew we were close friends (including BTG, including MFA), no one suspected she'd be here.
And because I cannot mind my own business, I helped her plan a little. And every single surprise (at least the ones I witnessed and saw later on video) was incredible. This girl lights up lives when she shows up and you think she's in Namibia. When she snuck up on BTG in my house, they rolled around on the floor like puppies for easily fifteen minutes. MFA just stared agape at the screen as we Skyped from my living room. Many more people had many more delicious reactions.
And all those people kept her secret, did not post about it on Facebook, did not post about it here on CMC, did not spill the beans to the one friend she wanted to surprise most of all. And so obviously, that was the best one.
(I am sure the hijinks continue, because that's what Renée's like, but she hasn't been staying with me for a couple of weeks, so my life is less hijinky. Neither of us is pregnant.)