We promised each other that there would be no emotional goodbyes. That we weren't actually saying "goodbye" to one another... but were simply saying "see you later" instead. So after a quick hug, I left Ronalyn in the hotel room and headed down to my last class of WPPI, knowing it would be the last time I got to see her before she boarded her plane to head back home to Alaska. And so, even with our promise in mind... as soon as the door closed behind me and I left down that hallway, I started to cry just a little. Ronalyn is one of the main reasons I was able to launch my own photography business. She not only gave me the technical information I needed to get started, but also became my cheerleader and gave me the final "oomph" I needed to just DO it. She became my mentor. And through our many emailed conversations, she also became my friend. So even though we met online a few years ago, it wasn't until this past weekend that we'd actually had the opportunity to meet in person.
I hoped that we'd hit it off in person. We definitely did. And during one of our late-night girl-talks, Ronalyn suddenly cut off what she had been saying and stated, "Wow. It's kinda weird how it feels like we've been friends forever. And how it doesn't feel like we'll be leaving each other soon to go back to our own homes. It's just like we're hanging out here... and then we'll just go back and hang out again in a few days."
And that's exactly how it was. From wandering the WPPI trade show floor, to wandering the streets of Vegas, and even getting "chocolate wasted" over at Max Brenner... it all seemed so simple. We were so much in sync, like we'd been hanging out together for years. Like we'd be hanging out together for years to come.
And so, as I walked down that hallway and left her behind... I wiped away the fallen tears and smiled to myself. Because I knew without a doubt that this definitely wasn't "goodbye." It was simply "see you later."
(Note: WPPI was absolutely amazing this year, and I'll have a full recap coming soon.)