A Tribute to the Tank

Anyone who teaches English in a foreign country understands the “revolving door” aspect to the job, i.e., old friends leave and new friends arrive each year. A week ago, I said goodbye to one of the most excellent of excellent awesome folks, Ava “the Tank”.

Tank is athletic, Canadian, and dating a dude who loves trees. (Seriously. It's his job.)

Ava lived on my island for two years. We pretty much saw each other every day. She’d often run to my house from hers, then sit on my chairs and get them all sweaty. We bonded over Avatar: the Last Airbender, boys, and Adventure Time, and boys. She was crazy generous with her patience, because I can be really annoying for serious, and she also didn’t seem to mind that I’m incapable of expressing platonic affection. (In fact, she tended to find it amusing.)

The Tank, so called because she is deceptively strong, is also ambitious, motivated, and fiercely protective of her freedom. I spent many-a-time admiring her excitement to do a good job, no matter what that job was, especially when I couldn’t be troubled to get up from my computer. (What?) She’s also game for pretty much anything. “Hey Tank, wanna try skydiving?” “…yeah.” “Hey Tank, wanna go dance crazy in the middle of the day?” “Yeah.”

We're famous on the island now. Our fan dancing routine played every day on the TV for a week.

Ava also has a singular ability to make me laugh, because she's so silly.

Now she’s off improving herself by getting a Masters in Occupational Therapy, and she’s so far away, and I’m a little sad but I think I’m still in denial. At some point that denial has got to end. But I miss her lots.

Folks like Ava get me thinking a lot about the importance of good, solid friends who will deal with you even when you’re being a jackass. My time in Japan has been so amazing not just because of where I live, but because of the people I live with. They’re fabulous, genuine folks who make my life brighter and help me grow as a person. (Look ma, a character arc!)

I can be startingly insensitive without realizing it, and Ava always calls me on it and forgives me, especially because she knows I’ll try to fix it. She supports me when I’m freaking out, and I try to do the same for her–though I’m not as good. (See aforementioned social awkwardness in platonic relationships.) I’m genuinely gonna miss her tons and tons, and I’ll be making a trip to go see her next year. Fingers crossed.

At a temple in the mountains in Korea.

I’m lucky that I got to spend a final week with Ava in Korea. And I’m lucky I’ve been blessed with such amazing, supportive people. My friends from high school and home; my lovey roctastic parents, the writerly community of awesome; and the Nagasaki JET teachers. They are wonderful, and I really ought to let them know how grateful I am more often.

But anyway. Today is about Ava, and how much I’ll miss her. Which is lots.

And lots.

And lots lots lots lots lots.

That just seemed appropriate.

The most epic of goodbye ceremonies for one of the most epic people of all time. Loff you lots, Tank.

Now, minions, go hug your friends, and tell them they’re awesome! And ignore me while I go to this corner and sniffle.