Five Thousand One Hundred and Thirty-Five

Five thousand one hundred and thirty-five: that is the number of miles between Auburn, Alabama, and Ariccia, Italy. It is so crazy that I had to travel so many miles across the ocean to a completely different country to become so close to someone who sat one table away from me in class at Auburn.

We have only been in Ariccia for three weeks, but we all seem to find one degree of separation between us and a friend at Auburn. You hear the saying “small world” all the time, but it took me leaving my bubble with people who were a part of that same bubble to even begin to come to this conclusion. I understand we all go to the same school and are primarily in the same college, but it is hard to think of my life not as an independent entity. Finding all these “crossover episode” moments has made this transition comforting. I am no longer in my Auburn routine, but I am reminded of the joy that Auburn fills me with by these small connections made in passing conversations. Now for the person it took me five thousand one hundred and thirty-five miles to find, Kenzie.

Kenzie and I are both Juniors in Interior design. There are only 40 people in our cohort, and we have at least one class a semester with all forty of us. Like any situation, there are small friend groups within the whole, but still, we all rant about the same projects and sit in Spidle until the sun comes up, waiting for a 3D rendering to process. Through all those moments, one would think Kenzie and I would have had a conversation, but we hadn’t. The first time I talked to Kenzie, I was sitting in the international terminal of the Atlanta airport waiting to board our flight to Rome. Once the jet lag wore off, we have not been apart since. I call her my travel agent because she books the trips, and I just Venmo. We text each other on WhatsApp when it’s time to brush our teeth so we can be together. I know in a single look what she is thinking. Nine times out of ten, that look turns into us bursting out laughing.

We have already traveled to numerous cities together, and I can’t wait for the adventures Europe still has waiting for us.

With love and War Eagle!

Mary Morgan Smith

Kenzie and I in Rome on our first weekend trip!