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. aya's soiree .

  Thursday, 4.10.08

our friendship began in the first grade. her name was Ayako, or as most will know her now as Aya. she was the first real friend i had & even at such a young age, i knew she genuinely was my friend & liked me, artsy-fartsy & all.

come the third grade, however, Ayako moved back to Japan & i was beyond sad to see my friend go. this was when our friendship turned into a looooong-distance "penpal-ship". we kept in contact through letters until our late teen years when Aya moved back to the States.

it is amazing to me how two people who met in the first grade & pretty much grew up with each other through nothing but Sanrio letters, stickers & drawings (we both looooove to draw... i always envied/admired her perfect characters that she would so effortlessly belt out) .... could one day, meet up as young adults & click as if it was just yesterday that we shared laughter on the school playground.

...and it was just months ago that Ayako found this note that i wrote her before she left way back in 1987 & gave it to me:

as i stood there & read the letter, as simple and misspelled as it was, it held SO much significance to me --- to be able to visually trace back into time through what i wrote as a child to a friend that meant sooo much to me is a most beautiful, wonderful thing.

and my dear friend Aya, is such an extraordinary friend. she always knows how to make your heart smile & when you talk, she is the person who really listens. she is one of the most bubbly & bright, unique & talented, smart & sassy, hands-down fashion diva, incredibly loving people that i know. ooooh... & i must not forget to mention that she loves hot pink & hearts --- it sure is a wonder how the two of us ever hit it off! it is quite obvious to say, i her big time!!

she also happens to throw "annual Valentine's Day afternoon soiree's".... yes... i know, "who does that?!" ... Aya does & that is exactly why she is so extraordinary. this last one happened in March & it is a great get-together of all the females in her life that mean the world to her. she has us over to her home, cooks a most fabulous meal (because on top of everything mentioned above, Aya is also a most exceptional chef in the kitchen!!!), decorates everything in the most classy-cute Valentine's inspired way, plays the best music....

all because why? to honor "us" & express her gratitude to us. yes. i know -- she is unbelievable.

the true beauty of this annual soiree is that although i may not see most of these wonderful people more than once a year, we all are able to naturally pick up where we left off. & for those of us that had not met before, we feel open and comfortable with each other -- all because of the connection with Aya. it is "simple" moments like these where one realizes the power of one individual --- Aya invited us to an afternoon of great conversation, laughter, food, even a few tears... a true celebration of life, love & being alive! without even saying a word, she reminded us of how grateful we all are.

thank you, my dear friend. all my gratitude & love to you!

yes, she even had heart-shaped cucumber slices... one of the many reasons of why i love her so :

i adore aya's entire home... especially her kitchen! everything looks like it is straight out of a magazine :

i wasn't joking about the food!!

here i caught Aya in a moment of conversation...

something about the snap of the camera made her laugh outloud!

the master chef in action!

my plate. i made sure all the food went to the "party in my tummy" :

some of the gorgeous ladies that afternoon!

i was even able to get their friendly neighbor to snap a pic with me in it! he did a great job :

i mean, seriously... could she have any more sass? is it even possible?!!!

the one, the only, Aya :

i you, Aya!!! thank you for being a most wonderful, passionate, inspiring, true & incredibly loving friend.

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