I always felt like there was something missing from my life, but I could never articulate exactly what it was. I was born in a small town, and adopted and raised an only child in southern California where I enjoyed a happy, loving family life. Little did I know that I would soon meet the girl who shared my exact DNA halfway across the worlds and that I would see some of the most ameeeezing fall foliage!
It all started when Annik Beaumont, my long lost identical twin sister who lived in France, happened across one of my makeup tutorials on YouTube and contacted me. We both had the shock of our lives when we discovered that neither of us had ever experienced the joy of a warm apple cider donut, the thrill of getting lost in a corn maze, or the beauty of the unparalleled autumnal foliage of the American Northeast. We immediately felt a new sense of purpose; it was clear to us both that we had to meet up somewhere in New England before the leaves began to fall. This was a perfect excuse to finally get to know my only known blood relative, and to do some serious leaf peeping!
I tapped my knees nervously in my aisle seat. The flight attendant asked me if I was a fearful flyer, and I told her the whole story: booking the Airbnb, picking the best apple orchard off Trip Advisor, also our mom gave us each a locket with an inscription and holy shit we’re also doing a ghost tour!! The woman looked at me with tears in her eyes and started talking about her own adoptive sister, but I tuned her out. I was craving an apple mimosa ever since I heard they existed.
The plane landed and I saw her at the gate. We had waited our whole lives for this moment—the moment we finally saw ourselves in each other, then got new profile pics in front of a dope-ass maple tree.
It’s nearly impossible for me to put into words the emotions we both experienced when we first got to Vermont and, for the first time in our lives, were actually able to reach out and touch bright red maple leaves. We must have spent a full hour, barely speaking, just gazing into each other’s Instagrams, marveling at how each filter brought out a new, unexpected layer of color to our panoramic photos. For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel alone. All those times growing up when I’d felt like a part of myself was missing, Vermont had been there, waiting for me, 3000 miles away.
Annik, my long lost twin felt the same way. “Ze leaves!” she gasped, and somehow, I knew exactly how the leaves felt. It was almost as though the leaves and I had our own secret language that no one else could understand. I wondered what kind of relationship the leaves and I would have had if I had been raised on the East Coast. I felt cheated, but all at once, so, so lucky.
It’s rare for adopted siblings to find leaves this good.
It was so amazing to experience the breathtaking expanse of nature’s autumnal beauty with Annik. We had so many things in common, despite being raised in two different cultures, and also the leaves were extremely vibrant, which we agreed made our identical brown eyes look fresh as hell in selfies. We’re both morning people, we both always wear a watch, and we both like the red leaves best. You know the ones that look like they were lovingly painted onto the landscape by Mother Nature herself? Our Airbnb hostess kept looking back and forth between our faces and crying over “how beautiful it was to see this,” which was weird, because like, she lived there and could see the leaves every year. Ugh, everyone’s crying almost ruined our leafcation!
Still, I’m getting choked up just writing this. I didn’t know it was possible to feel so instantly connected to something you’ve never seen before. I will never forget that day. Annik and I still Facebook each other on our shared birthday and stuff.
I always knew there was a part of me out there in the world that I hadn’t found yet, but I could never have imagined how complete I would feel when I found it. Up there, in the mountains of Vermont, with my long-lost sister, I felt truly whole for the first time in my life. As we both reached down to pick up the same maple leaf from the ground, we giggled. She had my laugh. I thought, “This is how it’s supposed to be.”