Valentine’s Day Special: Sydney Yogi and Erik Shoji

On our last anniversary, I wrote in Erik’s card, “Happy 2 (going on 13) Year Anniversary!” It is a common joke among our close family and friends because of how long we have been inseparable. Although we’ve only been dating for 2 years, our friendship has been 13 years in the making.

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Our first meeting was in 5th grade and very coincidental. I was on a tour of my new school and out of all the classes I could’ve observed, I was placed in his. I developed a little middle school crush, which basically consisted of hiding whenever he was around so he wouldn’t know I liked him. Throughout the next few years we became friends and in 8th grade, we “dated”. Aka: going to the movies in a big group and sitting next to each other, but not talking. Things were really progressing quickly………

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We decided we worked better as friends and it was the best decision we ever made. Through the end of high school our friendship became so strong. We were pretty much the same person, but with just the right amount of differences to challenge each other. We did everything together and everyone knew that Erik and Sydney came as a package deal. Our friendship was the most solid thing in my life, so when we went to separate colleges, it was really tough being away from him.

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Women’s college volleyball starts training in early August, so Erik flew up with me and my family to help get me settled in (I know, I know you’re all probably reading this and saying to your computer, “Really? You guys were just friends?”). When he left, it was really hard to be without my best friend but we found ways to visit each other and kept in touch almost daily.

Then, halfway through college, I started getting these feelings when I thought of him or saw him. I guess distance really does make the heart grow fonder because the next thing I knew, I was blabbing these feelings to him like I was back in middle school. Sadly, nothing came of this [very brave] confession and we decided to finish college as best friends.

Finally we got to that point in our lives when everyone and their mom starts asking that dreaded question, “What are you going to do with your life?” Erik and I were both at a crossroad and decided to reevaluate our relationship. We took the plunge and finally started dating. To anyone out there who has crossed the friend line into relationship zone, you have gained my utmost respect because boy, can it be awkward. Luckily, our friendship was so unshakeable that we were able to work through (most) things pretty easily.

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Today, I look back on our entire relationship since the first day I saw him in 5th grade and can’t help but thank God for bringing us together. We knew when we started dating that life, as well as our relationship, was really taking a dive into the unknown. Since then, both of our lives have taken such different turns so suddenly that I couldn’t imagine doing it without the support of my best friend. Because our friendship really developed long distance when we were in college, it has helped us keep our romantic relationship so strong now that we are a long distance couple. Erik’s volleyball career is just beginning and I am starting Pharmacy School in the fall, so long distance seems to be something we just can’t shake, at least for a couple of years.

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Long distance has helped our relationship in so many ways and we have really learned to make the most of our time that we do get to spend together. Erik has been my biggest supporter of my decision to continue school, but because of that, our time together is limited. It does get so tough at times, but the little things everyday get us through our time apart and help us look forward to the next time we’re together. Thank goodness for technology or else Erik and I wouldn’t be able to Snapchat our double chins, or Facetime while I’m bored in class, or send simple texts composed of only Emojis when we really want to get our feelings across. Though I’m sure the next few years won’t be all sunshine and rainbows, I’m so happy to be going through this next chapter of my life with the love and support of my BFF.


Sydney Yogi
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