I've decided to do a friends series and part of that is because I tend to believe that friends make some of the best models. Another part of it might also translate to the fact that I think I'll always be a little sentimental towards the way that CEP came about. When I first picked up a camera 4 years ago, I'd style my friends, throw some props in the trunk of my car, and set out for afternoons of staged picnics, balloon releases, and exploring abandoned properties. Now if I'm being completely honest, this hasn't changed one bit, and I'm not mad about it.
Nikki and I met and became housemates all at once in January of 2014. I was coming back from having lived in Budapest for 5 months, she had just transferred into Calvin, and we were living with the sweetest mutual friends who just happened to have room for the both us. We had become friends on Facebook a couple months prior when we first knew we would be living under the same roof, and after some extensive, shameless, profile-creeping, I vividly remember thinking, "Oh, perfect. She will make a GREAT model!" (And you will surely notice she does if you keep scrolling.)
If I think about it too long, I get a little teary, because at the time - Nikki's friendship, housemate-ship (and several nights of roommate-ship) was just what my heart needed. She helped carry my boxes in from my car and while my things sat unopened in the front hall, we were having a heart-to-heart conversation in the kitchen - as if we had been friends for a decade - 15 minutes after exchanging our first, in-person hello's.
Nikki transferred out after that semester but continued to pursue studies in the area. We still say that the real reason she went to Calvin for those 14 weeks was not so she could pursue nursing, but rather so that we could become friends. Nikki's kindness is a testament to the love of Jesus and the timing and consistency of her friendship are proof that, as she words it best, "the Lord just knows."