Friday, October 24, 2008

Jen and Kyle

When I lived in New Zealand, I used to do a bit where every few blogs, I would post about the people I loved the most. I even created a sub category on my blog page for all of these people so that they could be referenced both quickly and efficiently. Now, though, for no reason whatsoever, I find that my writing in that area is lacking, which of course, needs to be fixed immediately.

William James once said: 'Wherever you are, it's your friends who make your world.' He couldn't be more correct. And, to do justice to those who, here in Japan, really do make my world, I am going to attempt to introduce my greatest friends and companions to you, one (or two) cool person(s) at a time.

It's only fitting that, after this week, I am inspired to put my good friends Jen and Kyle first. But, where, oh where, do I start?

Well ok. it's actually pretty easy. I'll just start off by saying that my friend Jen is a real bitch. A self-proclaimed (and she would endorse me for saying it) bitch, no less.

Strong-willed, tempermental, and used to getting her way, it's no wonder we're really good friends. Jen currently lives in the amazing, but less-than-ideal-for-her, world of the military spouse. As I realized quickly during my time on the bases in Okinawa, the military pays little attention to the needs of spouses, who often quickly lose their identities and lives (and careers, and profiles, and autonomy, and independence, etc...). For a strong woman like Jen, a woman who has always fended for herself, this is difficult to swallow. Although being a 'military wife' is not on Jen's high list, she accepts is as what it is, and 'appreciates' the challenges that come with, like fighting for what she believes in, keeping her brain sharp and strong, and helping others with the planning of their post-military lives. Now maybe she doesn't do it with quite as much effort as when she was a high-flying career woman in Ames, Iowa, but it is what it is, and she is Jen, doing the best she can, in a man's world.

For all her toughness, though, Jen's heart is like gold. Rachel and I both noticed it, I especially more than I ever had. The qualities that make her hard are complimented by her ability to put people at ease, be kind at all (most) times, and her killer sense of humor.

Now, don't get me wrong, Jen is an AMAZING person on her own. But for the last year, she has had something else that has complimented her better than anything I have ever seen: Kyle.

At first, I wasn't sure what I would think of Kyle. When I first heard about him, the summer before I headed to New Zealand, Jen and Kyle (whom I had never heard about, let alone met) had just split, and she talked to me about him when I had no prior knowledge, face, or personality to attach the information with. He was a republican in the military dating my friend Democrat Jen, and I was sure that they would never work out anyway. But, after moving abroad and losing that ever-important contact with those you love, I found out that Kyle and Jen made it back together, and, after some time, were eventually married.

By some scattered twist of fate, 6 months later they were stationed in Okinawa, Japan, a mere two-hour flight from me. To think, Jen and I, friends for almost 15 years, were now on the same continent, living a short flight away from each other, without having planned or tempted fate to put us there.

When I arrived in Okinawa this week to meet Jen and spend a week with her during my autumn break, I, of course, was to meet Kyle for the first time too. Boy, was I amazed. My friend Jen, the real bitch, has a husband whose heart is as golden as hers is, if not more. I have never seen a man so adoring, complimenting, and loving towards any woman in my generation (and I only say that because my grandparents, equally as amazing, are a different subset completely!). Jen, deep down knows it, and loves him equally. They truly are the odd couple, not likely, but very much right together.

Kyle bent over backwards for us all week. When we (including Jen) needed something, he got it, made it, fixed it, bought it, called for it, or planned it. He took time off to take us places, play golf, hang out, eat dinner, and was very generous with his house, his time, and his life. At the end of the week, he made us feel like we had done them the favor by coming over, and to this day, I am not sure who benefited from the holiday more. Always the perfect gentleman, Kyle regularly opened doors, spoke with courtesy, complimented his wife, and chewed with his mouth closed. He is good, good people. The kind you'd be proud to take home to Mom and Dad. He and Jen go together like peanut butter and jelly. Like milk and cookies. Like Japanese Military Police and attitude problems.

As I write this, nearing to my finish, a tear comes to my eye. I am sitting on a plane, just having left paradise, as the happiest girl in the world, and flooded with emotions. If nothing else in this confusing world, I wish for myself, and others, to love and care for each other (whether you're friends of lovers) as Jen and Kyle do, with a deep respect, understanding, and appreciation of each other. As all good couples, and things that work together well in this world, do.

So, in the end, to Jen and Kyle - I say 'compai'. And thanks.


Jen in Japan said...

Wow. I just read this blog aloud to Kyle. We both have a tear in our eye. You are such a great write and such a great friend.

Jen in Japan said...

Okay, editing my comment. You are such a great writeR! Thanks so much for the entry. I will save it in my most important memories forever!

Can't wait to plan the March trip.

Kyle really is the best man in the world. . .but he did forget to pick up the baguette last night. ;-)

Love you, miss you, can't wait to see you again!