9-18 sister sister (Kaitlyn Johnson) (1 of 1)
(Kaitlyn Johnson/ The Signpost)

Steph Konchar was born 15 months and 19 days after me. We are close, both in age and in heart. We shared a bedroom for the first 17 years of Steph’s life, splitting a queen bed, two twin beds or a bunk bed.

When I graduated high school, I decided to move from Pittsburgh to Ogden, an act that separated the two of us for the first time. She was going into her last year of high school, and I wanted to move away from the bubble of our hometown. I eventually acclimated to a new city, a new culture, all on my own, without the familiar comfort of my little sister.

It took only four years, but I finally persuaded Steph to move to Utah with me. In the typical Steph style, she made up her mind to transfer and instantly followed through. On the Thursday before the first week of school, she began the 1,800-mile drive, arrived on Saturday and began school with the rest of campus Monday morning. Four days of preparation to begin the four classes ahead of her.

As I helped her unpack her bedroom, schedule her classes and figure out her financial aid, I felt proud to take on the big sister role again. We drove around in her car that had once belonged to our family in Pennsylvania. By bringing the car along with her, she brought part of home back to me.

Along with that, the four years of missing our inside jokes and reminiscing about our childhood came flooding back to me. My sister is as much a part of me as I am of myself. When she returned to me, even in a new setting, the yearning I felt for something more ceased.

The old is returning to me in a new way, and the new is becoming even newer. I loved giving her a tour of campus, because I saw Weber State in a fresh light. After attending this school for four years, I had gotten used to it. When I walked her around campus, I saw her face light up at the sight of the colossal mountains, the peaceful sitting areas and the art building she would now consider her own.

I was able to introduce her to all the people I’ve been spending my time with and have come to call my friends, and I could tell right away that they love her almost as much as I do. She is legit, people, and I’m so glad I get to share that with everyone.

This past weekend, we celebrated her 21st birthday. To me, it was less of a celebration of her age and more of a celebration of our reunion. Though 17 years together felt like a lot, four years apart felt like more.

Now that she has joined me in Ogden, I would be hard-pressed to leave her again.

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