Elle Mills. Does that name ring a bell? When I say that name, most people my age think of the successful Canadian YouTube sensation but when I hear it, I think of my childhood best friend. Back in middle school, I met Elle and we instantly hit it off. We hung out all the time, sleeping over at each other’s homes and I helped her make little videos for her YouTube channel. Now nearly a decade later, we’re still really good friends – only now she has over a million people watching her channel. This past July, Elle turned 21 and for her 21st birthday Elle wanted to celebrate big so she invited all of her hometown friends to Los Angeles for it. Imagine going on a trip with all your old high school classmates. It oddly felt like going on a huge school field trip, but only this time we could drink. I stayed in a nice little home in the Beverly Woods area with my closest pals. The neighbourhood was really calm, unlike most places in LA, and was really nice to wake up to in the morning. For most of the week, we did the same routine everyday. We’d have a nice breakfast together, do some shopping, then some sightseeing and go out in the evening to experience LA nightlife. If I had to narrow down my favourite moments from the trip, it’s definitely a tie between the bottomless mimosas at Sonoma Wine Garden or scootering along Santa Monica pier. Of course though, I can’t forget about Elle’s big 21st bash. My friend Elle likes to go big so she rented out this massive arcade in downtown LA and it was truly the craziest party I’ve ever been to. There was virtual reality, a buffet, open bar, unlimited amount of arcade games and midway games, and even escape rooms. To help you visualize how crazy extra the decorations were, Elle had her face put on the staircases. Yes, that’s right. Her face on the staircases. I wish I could go into detail about the night, but like I said, it was open bar. What I do know is that it was so nice to be with everyone I love, and people I went to high school with, and YouTubers I watch at home all the time in one room to celebrate a person who means a lot to me. To think that Elle and I went from celebrating her 13th birthday at McDonald’s in Ottawa to celebrating her 21st in a huge arcade in Los Angeles is something I still can’t wrap my head around. It’s a trip that reminded me of how grateful I am for the friends in my life, and helping me grow stronger connections with old friends I have not seen since high school.