The Two of Us – Andy Hunter and Glynn Chambers (2005 – ’06)
Andy Hunter and Glynn Chambers, in many ways, couldn’t be more different.
But their relationship, forged through living together at the Hostel, continues to be strong despite living on different continents in opposite hemispheres.
Andy: As an 18 year old, having returned from three years of school in the UK – I was keen to reconnect with old friends at a youth camp that I was attending in Northern Victoria. Busily chatting to a group of people I hadn’t seen in a long time, someone interrupted with an introduction to someone I should meet. A guy about my age, wearing denim shorts, sunnies and sporting an enormous boofy head of blow dried hair.
After the camp together and few parties over summer, we decided to be roommates at the Kew Student Res for the first two years of our University. Glynn and I became best mates. We had our young zealous and naive Christian faith in common, as well as an appreciation for cricket and common sense of humour, most overtly expressed through our shared love the iconic Australian movie, The Castle. We used to watch it every Wednesday. In some ways though, that’s about all we had in common. Glynn liked to study, I actively sought out the challenge to pass my subjects with as little study as possible. Glynn is cautious, I enjoy risks. Glynn is a planner, I seek out ambiguity. Glynn’s pretty musical and I could clear a room with just about anything music related.
But our oddity seemed to work and we both set about spending as much time together as possible for nearly two years straight. Glynn ended up finishing his Psychology degree with honours and went on to complete his Masters. He became a household name in the Kew community and seemed to be the first person any male within a 10km radius would call for advice, encouragement or help. We continued to live in the same intense Kew student community together for the better part of 5 years and until the end of that time we had so much fun hanging out together, that we didn’t really have much interest in girls.
One day though, Glynn realised that wanted to marry a girl he grew up with in the US and I, not wanting to be left alone, realised pretty quickly that the girl I had been thinking about for most those years was one worth perusing. We married those girls and the four of now still best of friends.
Today, Glynn lives in Massachusetts, USA with his wife and son. He manages a campsite and has again become a household name for the 1000’s of young people who come through his programs, as well as wise leader to his staff and volunteers. He’s been back a couple of times and I’ve been to visit once. We talk on the phone occasionally, or share a joke, picture, news article or cricket score online. Our common Christian faith is perhaps now more mature and still to this day the cornerstone of our friendship. We continue to be best mates when we see each other and while living 10,000 miles apart means that we miss out on each other’s lives a bit – I think we both know that this friendship is something special, one that we’ll both cherish and make the effort to hold on to forever.
Glynn: I met Andy at 18 years old; what a Godsend! I arrived in Melbourne from country Victoria as a lukewarm Christian kid wanting to be on the straight and narrow. God gave me a best mate to walk alongside at just the right time. With Andy, every topic is on the table for discussion. The man is an open book. Ultimately this nature of his led to a rich friendship that went far beyond footy, cricket and the Herald Sun quiz in the morning. It was a friendship rooted in things that matter. Within days of friendship we started trying to figure out adulthood, independence, our futures, girls and where God fit among all of it. Along the way we also tried our hand at engineering, inventing the hands free door opener so we could enter a room carrying coffees. Genius!
Andy mentioned we are quite opposite people. I’d say that is true. My hair when we met – it took about 5-10 mins to do in the morning. His short haircut clearly prioritized efficiency over style. His observance of the law was a little loose, mine was by the book. He could grow a beard at 20, I’m still struggling at 30. He is assertive, I beat around the bush to avoid sticky subjects.
This assertiveness was always something I admired in Andy. It’s best exemplified in him once politely (yet firmly) asking a neighbour to stop his dog from pooping on Andy’s lawn in Highbury Grove. Me…I’m more inclined to let the poop happen and flick it away later to preserve the relationship. Andy goes after what he wants; he stands up for what is right; he speaks his mind when needed.
The other trait I have always admired is his strong self-assurance. He’s the guy who will try anything new and believe he can conquer it. He learned to play guitar and sing on the res balcony for the world to hear. He became a therapist for a young boy with Autism whilst studying business. He started a tourism business and made it work. He just did the things he wanted to and never seemed to be held back by negative self-talk or fear. Andy is truly the antithesis of insecurity! This also played out in him being the king of awkward conversations. I’m not sure he knows the word ‘taboo’!! I think he said awkward stuff in a group sometimes just because he enjoyed it (I enjoyed witnessing it!!). Other times it was to break the ice to allow other people to share their deep dark secrets and wounds. Andy is OK with being open and honest, even if it means looking less than perfect, if it allows other people to feel free to open up. This is a rare trait.
When we first met, Andy needed some fashion help. Our first year of friendship he seemed to wear my stuff daily – to the point that at his 21st where people had to dress up as something that personified Andy, multiple people stole my clothes and dressed as me. Yikes! But…Andy is a legend! I’m proud to have a guy like Andy want to be like me at all, even if it is just in fashion.
I’ve learned a lot from Andy, and still am despite being oceans apart. His influence has lead me to care less about my image. To use my time better. To take a few more risks. To be OK with slowing down. To take time to grow grass.
Here’s to growing old and growing grass together, Andy!
If you’d like to contribute to our Two of Us feature in another edition of Mary St Post, please let us know!