Happy Birthday Mallory

This post is very different than normal, as today, (in Indonesia time at least), is Mallory's birthday! Mallory is currently in Indonesia on the same program as me, and she has been such a huge part in this process, and my exchange in general.

Just about 8 months ago… I met Mal.  I had just arrived at the national 4H conference center for the YES Abroad In Person Selection Event. It was in DC that year so I just drove there after school, unlike most of the others who had to fly in from other states. I checked in and went to my room, but I was the only one there. I remember going on twitter and seeing that Mallory had arrived, so I messaged her and she sent me her number. Moments later I stepped out of my room and saw a group of people congregated in the hallway. I saw Mal and we both just ran and hugged each other. We’d never even met before, but there we were hugging like we’d known each other our whole lives.

For the next 3 days, Mal and I were literally inseparable. You’d never had though that it was our first time meeting. I became the 5th roommate and only went back to my own room to sleep. We bonded over Barcelona, carrots, stinky socks, and of course the ice cream machine. We went home after that weekend knowing that we'd see each other again, even if we didn't get in.

On April 12th, Mal and I were frantically texting each other all day. Finalist notifications were to come out that very day, and we were excited/nervous/terrified beyond compare. I remember finding out I had gotten Morocco right after track practice, then rushing home to shower before heading out to take Jadon's senior pictures. The second she heard about Morocco, she called and left me the sweetest message, even though she still hadn't found out herself. Just minutes later, she called again crying from happiness. She had gotten Indonesia. 

Then on June 20th, I was at Reagan National by  11 o’clock pm waiting at the gate for Mal. She came for a week to visit before our YES Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation. From Segway accidents, to river adventures; the 6 days flew by and we had the time of our lives. She became part of my family, and a true sister to me. On the 26th, we drove out to the PDO and two days later I quickly rushed out of a lecture in order to make my flight to Uganda, and barely had a chance to say goodbye to Mallory.
Then it was August and time for Mal to leave. She boarded that plane and headed off to Indonesia,  9 days later, it was my turn. Now both of us are on exchange, both of us going through similar struggles. Every single vlog she posts on our channel makes me cry because I'm just that proud of her. It took a matter of minutes for us to become best friends, but no distance could ever tear us apart. 

Everyone who knows Mallory could agree that she's an amazing, outgoing, all around friendly person. I asked a couple of Mal's other close friends on program to say a little blurb about her for her birthday: 

"Mallory is just a pretty awesome person. Out going and everything nice. I talked to her on fb quite a while before meeting her at the IPSE where I, and I'm pretty sure everyone else who had formed fb friendships, hugged the living lights out of her. Anyways, I hope that my negari neighbor has the best birthday ever. SELAMAT HARI JADI, CANTIK LADY. I hope you enjoy being 18 in a pretty darn awesome country  keep loving it and I wish you the best!" - Carmen, Malaysia (http://amalaysing.blogspot.com/)

"Happy birthday to the girl who I've had so many sketchy adventures with on this tropical island we now call home. Here's to the time we wandered in to a store that was closed, twinned as those two bules at that doctor convention, took sketchy public transportation alone at night and didn't get lost, got hit in the head with a soccer ball (ok that was just me), had sketchy but delicious mango juice, spoke three languages in one conversation, and bought some amazing batik scarves. There is no one else i would have rather shared these adventures with, you're an amazing friend/partner in crime/ exchange student. Keep carrying on being you mal, and have an amazing 18th birthday, you deserve it" Sarah, Indonesia (http://www.sarahtakesindonesia.blogspot.com)

"Mallory McEwen, where do I begin? You are a very honest person and I like that about you. I can’t exactly remember the first time I met you in DC, but I will always remember how you and Charis were waiting for me outside of my interview room. Even after all of that we spoke a lot over text and Facebook. And now I want to go to Montana. Seriously, I really want to go to Montana now! I know you are having an awesome time in Indonesia. And I know that many Indonesians have also noticed that warm personality of yours." -Christian, Turkey (http://iteradasiaminor.blogspot.com)

So Mal,
Thanks for being such an absolutely amazing friend. I’m so proud of everything you’re doing in Indonesia right now, and I couldn’t be happier that we’re going through our exchanges together.  It’s rare to have the kind of friendship that we do and I couldn’t be more thankful. So Mallory, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I can't believe you're an adult!

Follow Mallory's Blog at http://ayearinthelifeofmallory.blogspot.com/
 and our joint youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLvPD-hGp8pSPGnmAQUW_-g


  1. Oh lady I love how you use your energy to lift up others.

    My close friends who did my program "with" me, even though we were in different countries, are still some of my most closests.

    Mallory sounds awesome and she is also lucky to have YOU as a friend!

    I love you!


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