I met Amanda on the second Magic Cruise, while we were out on the Pub (not public) crawl of Key West. It did not take long for us to hit it off, because we had an excellent time bar-hopping, visiting and conversing (rather than playing Magic) many nights while on the boat. Amanda’s the kind of person who you can just as easily to talk to about any subject as you can just sit next to and remain happily silent just people-watching or listening. She and I and Mick and Patrick ran around late laughing our heads off, trespassing in various restricted sections and generally having a wonderful time making mischief – a tradition that to this day is accompanied with fingers up like horns next to the head and a “Pirates!” exclamation.

Amanda and I had a great talk or two on that cruise, about various subjects – Magic in the classroom, making friends, balancing work with going out – and then I had the opportunity to see her at a number of events throughout the year thus far, in San Diego, San Juan and U.S. Nationals. Amanda is a good person, who cares so much about the well-being and disposition of her friends, her family and her wards in the classroom that she often stresses herself out – and that’s just my observation from the small amount of time she and I have had chats together online! Honestly, she is a wonderful, caring, beautiful person, who is currently at the top of the list of my friends who can easily convince me to go out and do crazy things because it means I’ll have more time to hang out with said friends. (I even finally made a real weekend visit to the Midwest to see her, Steve and Lindsey, Danner, Alayna, Lems and a host of other awesome folks – which was as much them as her, but her awesomeness as part of this group cannot be denied!)

Despite getting to know each other so recently, Amanda and I get along so well that I count her among my closer friends. It helps that we think so alike in many ways, and that she’s smart, sassy and hilarious. :)

One more thing: I can’t talk about Amanda without talking about her laugh. It is unfortunate that I don’t have a recording I could embed here to share its majesty with the world, so my poor words will have to do the best they can to describe it. You know when you are near powerful speakers and the pressure of the sound they produce can make you feel like your heart is syncing up with the beat? Amanda’s laugh is like that – it doesn’t matter how I feel or what’s going on, when I hear it, the humor-pressure-wave rolls over me and I can’t help but smile!