Wedding Party


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The Girls Casey, Omi, Christin, Dhara, and Annel have been friends for nearly two decades. Pictured here is the first recorded photo of just the five of them, taken at the International Buffet in Bergenfield, NJ on April 21, 2007, during the approximately 6-month period where Casey had brown hair and an edgy haircut in her junior year of high school.
Omi Casey first met Omi (pictured, left, on the day of our 8th grade cruise in the spring of 2004) in 1998, in Mrs. Tartini's 3rd grade classroom. Always supporters of vaccinations and public health, they were first in line to receive their cootie shots from their fellow classmates at lunchtime. Omi would go on to get her Masters of Public Health from Columbia. But first, Casey and Omi spent their pre-teen years squished together on the same office chair at Omi's house listening to nü-metal on Yahoo Music, their teenage years sprawled together on Omi's bed listening to nü-metal on K-ROCK before it went off the air the first time, their college years a bit more spread out while listening to a wider variety of music in a large bedroom they shared at their off-campus house at the College of New Jersey, and the latter half of their 20s living less than a mile apart in Hudson County, listening mostly to EDM as per Omi and her husband Piotr's tastes. Casey met Piotr on one of, if not the first, dates that Omi and Piotr went on in late winter 2007 and gave her early approval. Now, in their early 30s, the trend continues as Casey and Rob recently purchased a home roughly five miles from the home Omi and Piotr purchased a year ago.
Christin Christin (pictured left on the same day in 2004) was also in Mrs. Tartini's class, but Casey did not get to know Christin well until 6th grade, when they arbitrarily sat at the same lunch table during 6th grade orientation. As with many childhood friendships, this random seating arrangement led to a deep and long-lasting friendship through the decades. Casey and Christin (and the rest of the girls) spent most of middle school passing notes that outlined elaborate nicknames for their crushes. Those notes migrated to text messages once we all started carrying cell phones in high school; then to Facebook Messenger in college; and finally, to Google Hangouts, where our group chats remain to this day. Christin and her fiance Chase are world travelers, having visited at least 17 countries. Christin is also responsible for finally getting to get the girls to go on a vacation together that required a trip via plane - in February 2020, after more than 16 years of group friendship - and Casey is deeply grateful that she got to go to unwind in Miami for Christin's 30th birthday, before the pandemic set in.
Dhara While Casey knew of Dhara in 5th grade, they were not especially close. But in 6th grade, Dhara was in most of our classes together (not to brag, but we were honors kids), and so we naturally became best friends too. While Dhara did not sit at our lunch table because she was in a different homeroom, we would often wave to her from across the cafeteria, dispatching notes in hurried meetings near the snack line. This friendship blossomed even further in high school, when Dhara, Casey, and Christin were all in the same section of the Bergenfield High School Marching Band. As members of "the Pit," Casey, Christin, and Dhara didn't actually have to march, and instead remained at the front of the field with their cumbersome instruments; they can all play the xylophone and related instruments like the vibraphone and the marimba, but Dhara can also play the timpani. Dhara got her PharmD from Rutgers and now lives in Maryland with her husband Ashay. (Be nice to retail pharmacists, like the ones you speak with at CVS and Walgreens. They are so smart and work so hard.) Casey will forever hold fond memories of the taste of the simple yet delicious vegetable sandwich Dhara's mom would prepare for long marching band trips.
Annel Annel likes to remind us that she was around us during middle school, but we did not become best friends until high school - where, as with the rest of our friendships, we became friends because we happened to sit at the same table at lunch. Annel was also in marching band, where she played clarinet. We were lucky enough to travel to Disney with marching band not once, but twice - both freshman year and senior year - where we all spent nearly 24 hours crammed together on a bus as we drove down to Florida. Can you imagine what a bus of 14- through 17-year-olds who are going on spring break to Disney with all of their best friends is like? As an adult my heart breaks for the chaperones, but as a former young person, it was awesome. But I digress. Casey, Annel, and Dhara took a forensics class (like the TV show CSI) in high school together, and Casey warmly remembers the cold winter day when they spent the afternoon trying to locate an uncooked pork chop Casey had buried in a ziploc bag in her parents' backyard, to study decomposition for a class project that never actually got assigned. Annel took this learning to study forensic psychology at John Jay College; the scholar of our group, Annel now has 3.7 bachelors' and masters' degrees (by her own count). She is a font of wisdom and guidance, and we all turn to Annel for advice on any subject. Pictured here in 2005 in the French class she and Casey were in together.

My friends and I have shared so many life experiences together, and I am glad that they will be by my side in this next stage of life.

Casey, in her greatest Halloween costume of all time, with Omi and Dhara, Halloween 2000


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