Posted from Hong Kong, China
When I first met Alan almost 8 years ago, we had an awkward lunch with another lieutenant at the Chinese restaurant which would come to be known as "Chickenbutt North" a few years later. Later that day, he showed up at the house I was staying at and crashed on the couch for 10 days. Then he was put up in the room next to me in Biloxi. And for the next few years, not counting deployments and visits from girlfriends, we were nearly inseparable.
Since those early days, it's been a few years and a few thousand miles. Alan lives in Germany, and I keep moving from state to state, as if I'd never left the Air Force. We stay in touch, but not nearly as much as we should. But then again, as soon as we reconnect, it's like no time has passed at all.
The other night Lizzi and I were watching an episode of Friends, one in which Monica and Chandler are still keeping their relationship a secret. Monica comes over to Chandler and Joey's apartment in the middle of the night for a bit of nooky. Of course, Joey wakes up and interrupts them. They play it off by telling him that it's actually 9AM instead of 3AM. And Joey heads off to the bathroom to wash up, where he promptly falls asleep with a toothbrush in his mouth.
I'm not saying that Alan and I have shared any moments similar to this one, but when I saw it, I immediately thought of him. Because Alan is the Joey to my Chandler, the Watson to my Holmes, the Barney to my Fred. He's a wonderful guy with a huge heart. So on his 30th birthday I wanted him to know that I was thinking of him in Nepal. And even though we are continents apart and I won't see him again until this winter, I couldn't be happier that we pushed through that awkward lunch and the 10 cramped days at Packler's house. I am honored to count him among my best friends.
Alan, Happy 30th Birthday!!