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Roadtrip for a life
July 22, 2021 17:54

It wasn’t easy to write about a friendship created through YFU – I feel I can’t choose just one. I have to say I have been very fortunate in meeting many people through YFU. Be it volunteering for YFU Flanders or even more - through volunteering at the YES. More than one of them I consider a friend or even family. Even though our meetups are far and in between or we currently don’t have contact I’m happy all of you have been part of my YFU journey. So a little shoutout to some of them: Nina, Johanne, Kubbu, Ieva, Hanna, Christian, Fiete, Valts and Anne.

But then I thought that I have one YFU friend that has been with me since 1999. Yes, we have known each other for over 22 years now. Wow, time flies. Anyway, her name is Lina De Groe. We met at the YES 1999 which was held in Flanders. She was freshly returned from her exchange and I was helping out at the event. We kept crossing paths because both of us became very active as volunteers for YFU Flanders, also because I was studying in her home town of Leuven.

She by far is the more adventurous out of the two of us which means she is up to almost everything I propose. Be it a last-minute trip to NYC because I wasn’t feeling like going alone, a day travelling to Paris because I wanted to see an American In Paris but was too scared to drive in such a big city or taking a road trip in Normandie. Actually, that was her idea. Because I was borrowing my parent’s car it meant I was driving and you guessed it right – it was very stressful, but having Lina with me was enough to do it anyway.

To me, she is not only my favourite travel buddy but someone I can count on to celebrate each other’s successes and to have each other’s backs. Lina is one of the people I trust most and I know 100% that I can call her in the middle of the night if I need to. I hope she knows that works both ways. Sometimes people think we are sisters which I don’t mind at all since that is what I consider her anyway.

Author: Hilde Stouten, YFU Belgium-Flanders
An Exchange student who YFU USA. 1996-1997 and her friend Lina De Groe who went on exchange to France 1998-1999

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