My very close friend in DC told me that he knew Stephanie well. She lived just 2 hours from Geneva and he said that I should try to connect with her.  I emailed Steph out of the blue, and I asked if I could see her for a day.  She quickly responded, "Sure!"  I took a train from Geneva to Lyon.  Her boyfriend at the time, now husband,  her 5 year old son and Steph all met me and quickly whisked me away to a small, but very scenic French town.  Something that I would not have done on my own.  We had a delightful day, the 4 of us.  So much so, that we lost track of time, and I missed the train back to Geneva.  

So, we all jumped into the car and sped, and thankfully we didn't get a speeding ticket, with the goal of taking me to the next train station.  I made the train and was able to return to Geneva (where my suitcase lived!). That was the start of a great friendship. I have since been to her house outside of Lyon many times and stayed with the family.  I've met her parents and in-laws.  Her second son knows me well and talks to me in French excitedly when I arrive (I can't speak French, so this always amuses me.)  When I was sad after my mother died suddenly, Steph quickly invited me to escape DC to stay with her and her family.  I've spent my Christmas with her, too. 

Even though we are far apart, I consider her a dear friend. She is hospitable, fun, and loving.  I truly got lucky!

Melis Mull, Washington, DC 2016