Archive for the ‘athens’ Tag
Some things never would be
But we know now that no matter how far we traveled on our own separate paths…
Somehow we would always find out way back to each other.
And with that, we could get through anything.
To us. Who we were, and who we are. And who we’ll be.
To the pants.
And the sisterhood.
And this moment, and the rest of our lives.
Together and apart.
~Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants~
Sisters touch your heart in ways no other could. Sisters share… their hopes, their fears, their love, everything they have. ~Carrie Bagwell
The name Alisha frequently appears on this blog and her notes & profile pic tend to be all over my Facebook wall- especially right now. But very few people know exactly who this remarkable, stunning lady is; and hardly anyone knows the entire Story of Us. Well, until now.
Ladies & Gentlemen, it is my honor to tell you exactly how the Sisterhood of Alisha Thomas and Kristen Medica began a little over a year ago, and how since then we have gone from Confidantes to Pen Pals to (Facebook) Friends to Sisters. As all stories tend to be told, let me start at the very beginning…
In January 2010, I enrolled in an online class through my alma mater, Ohio University, as a way to complete the pre-requisites for the Child Life certification. So after my New Year’s guests left town on Sunday, January 3rd, I found myself mentally preparing for my first day (back) of school. Human Relations ECED 410, here I come!
Like any first week’s assignment, we spent time getting to know our classmates by sharing a few details about ourselves. Typically this is the worst assignment ever when you’re in a classroom and have to say something unique about yourself (which of course never applied to me). However, being 4-years out of college and in an online format, I found myself enjoying this activity- especially hearing others’ stories and learning about their backgrounds. And on top of that, our Professor Tom Shostak appeared to be incredible. I think I’m really going to like this class.
On a fateful day in late January/early February, a friendship was born. As I signed into Blackboard after work, I found myself touched by the courageous words written by Alisha Thomas as she admitted to her struggle with anxiety. Being something that I knew a little too well, I (believe I) found myself writing a response applauding her for speaking out and admitting my own battle with those pain-strickening troubles. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure if she’d respond but I knew I had to reach out to her.
She responded, graciously, which marked our first electronic communication. The first of many. For a few weeks we exchanged Discussion Board comments and emails sharing our struggles with anxiety and life stories. Through daily emails a friendship began as we confided in one another about fears, doubts, anxieties, insecurities, dreams, wishes, crushes, etc. We found comfort in sharing our thoughts and the other’s responses of wisdom and encouragement. Looking back, in only a few weeks Alisha became the younger sister I always wanted.
“We should become Pen Pals,” Alisha wrote in one of her emails. Always wanting a Pen Pal, I was thrilled. “Yes! Absolutely!” can be my assumed responses.
On February 22nd, exactly one year ago today, I wrote the very first entry in the Pen Pal Book. (Obviously pictured on the right.) She then, Alisha and I have shipped the book back-and-forth from Athens, Ohio (her) and Chicago, IL (me) every few weeks/months. We fill the pages with our daily activities and life stories- good days, bad days, past experiences, lifelong dreams, crushes, heartbreak, and, of course, struggles with anxiety. (Note: Fortunately anxiety takes up less space in the book as time goes on.) We share favorite quotes and songs and suggest novels & movies for the other.
And in the last few months, we’ve allowed others to share in our love for the Pen Pal Book. Alisha’s brother, Jakob, commonly leaves his mark on the pages in the form of drawings and little notes. I love seeing what Jakob shares with me! My dear friend, Darlene, also shared in our joy by writing in the infamous book when I visited her & Paul, last summer. (Note: Like Alisha, my friendship/sisterhood with Darlene began electronically and I corresponded with her for 1.5 years before our long-awaited meet-up.)
Besides the Pen Pal Book, Alisha and I inevitably befriended one another on Facebook- which put faces to our names and email addresses. And that, my friends, is how our friendship really began. While we anxiously looked forward to receiving the Pen Pal Book from the other, we learned that daily communication was necessary too. Not only did we enjoy Facebook stalking one another’s current crushes (lol), but through Facebook is how I began my love affair with Alisha’s family: Her 10-year old brother, Jakob, and mother, Kelly. It really didn’t take long before I started seeing them as my family. 🙂
A few months ago I had the idea that I was going to surprise Alisha and “meet her” at her upcoming graduation in June 2011. But yeah, I couldn’t keep a secret from my Sis and so I mentioned my plan to her. It is through that she came up with the Best. Idea. Ever. SIBS WEEKEND!! So this past weekend, I FINALLY ventured back to Athens, OH to ‘meet’ my extended family: Alisha, Jakob, and Kelly.
Words really cannot express just how A*MAY*ZING this past weekend was. As I’ve put been putting it: I have never weekend had a time filled with so many smiles, laughs, and pure joy & contentment. It was truly the most PERFECT (my favorite place ever) with Alisha and her family, it was exactly what I could have ever wanted it to be. From playing Wii and watching YouTube videos with Jakob to finally experiencing Athens with Alisha, it was simply magical. Sure, it wasn’t one of those typical OU weekends- and actually there was no alcohol involved for me- but that’s what made it so fantastic- besides the company of course. It was exactly how this 27-year old OU alum needed to visit her former college campus. After all, as one wise alum once told me as an undergrad, “Athens is about what it is because of the people.” I couldn’t agree more.
Another beautiful part of this weekend was reconnecting with my former professor/confidante/mentor, Linda. Interesting enough, I actually believe that Linda played a large part in my initial reach out to Alisha. See, Linda was a professor of mine during Spring Quarter of my senior year. (aka The Season for Panic Attacks) I just remember receiving an email from Linda after class one day asking me how I was doing- hinting at the fact that she noticed that I didn’t seem like myself- and encouraging me to open up more in class and share the thoughts that seemed to be running through my mind.
To make a long story short, Linda’s kind-hearted reaching out made me confide in her about the uneasiness I had been feeling, beginning our own weeks-worth exchange of emails. I found myself opening up to her more than I had ever done with anyone- well maybe besides Libby, Brandon, and Jenni- let alone someone you barely knew me outside of the classroom setting. Still, her genuiness shined through during class and in her emails and I found it impossible not to let her in. Since then, which was five years ago, I have always had the highest regards for Linda. So much so that within those first few weeks of correspondence with Alisha I insisted that she take one of Linda’s classes before graduation. Fortunately, she’s enrolled in her YAL course next quarter- spring quarter of her senior year just like me!
Alisha and I were so honored to share the Pen Pal Book with Linda and include her into our Sibs Weekend afternoon. She is truly an incredible woman and I feel blessed to have her in my life as a friend and mentor.
Like all good things Sibs Weekend found itself coming to an end, but not before a trip to Columbus (which is where I had to catch my bus later that night). While the sadness of the inevitable goodbyes began playing in our minds, we knew we had to make the best of our remaining time together. We loaded ourselves in the car and headed to one of my favorite places in Ohio: Easton. First Stop: Build-A-Bear.
So true story: For years I have told my brother that IF (huge IF) I ever have a boyfriend, Nicky should tell him to build me a bear. Call me crazy (because I am), but I have always wanted one. I mean I’ve built many bears (and a bunny) in my day, but never one for myself… until Sunday, February 20, 2011 that is. The best part is that this was totally Alisha’s idea! Yep, we are definitely meant to be sisters!
Surrounded by a sea of children and parents my age, the four of us piled into Build-A-Bear to create our little sidekicks. I know, we are totally adorable! We definitely took way to long to decide on our choices, but eventually we chose the following: Alisha- a puppy named Lynn (my middle name); Kelly- (the same) puppy named Sammy; Jakob- a monkey named Justin (yes, as in Justin Bieber); and me- a bear (decided upon by my boy Jakob) named Lauren (Alisha’s middle name). And now for the hard part….choosing outfits. Seriously, I have an easier time choosing clothes for myself! Anyways, we finally made our decisions with my little Lauren dressed to the 9’s in a true Ohio-lovin’ outfit: Ohio University tee underneath a red & white (for Ohio State) Cheerios outfit (Alisha loves Glee), complete with red & white (OSU) and green (OU) ear bows AND…brown cowgirl boots. Love Love Love. After acting like we were kids again, Jakob and I let the girls shop in Forever XXI while we sought out fun in the photo booth. (I ♥ him so much!) But of course we had to take Alisha back for some photo booth fun with us afterwards. Note: I really think that IF I ever get married, there has to be a photo booth there….even if it means I must have my reception at Chuc E Cheese…or, better yet, Easton since we know it has one.
After feeding our hungry bellies and indulging in many more laughs, we all knew that our time together was dwindling. As Alisha drove downtown, we started expressing our I am going to miss you’s and planning on next visits. After pointing out my old apartment, we pulled into a spot on High Street nearby MoJoe Lounge (my hangout spot until the bus arrived). Led by Jakob, my family insisted on walking me into the coffeeshop/bar, which I finally gave into. Shortly after, the tears began building up in our eyes s the I love you’s were exchanged. And my poor Jakob was so sad that it made me cry. “You know that you are a little brother to me, Jakob. I will always be here for you,” is all that I can remember saying as the sadness kicked in full force. I would have given anything to have been able to go back to Athens with them, but unfortunately the Reality of Big Girl World is that you cannot always do what you want to do. So with tears in my eyes, I said my goodbyes and more I love you’s with my family.
I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend, and I am missing them terribly even two days later. Still, I know that they will be in my life forever and I cannot wait to see them in Pittsburgh on Easter weekend when they get to meet the rest of my family. And then, more fun in Athens for Alisha’s Birthday/ Mom’s Weekend in early May. I cannot wait to see them again! Hopefully I can beat Jakob at Wii next time.
*** Let this Story of Alisha and Me remind you that you never know where, when, and how you’ll meet your next best friend/ soul sister. ***
This post is dedicated to the A*MAY*ZING Alisha Thomas. My life is so much better with you in it and I honestly cannot remember what it was like without you and your family. I will always be here for you and believe in your more than you probably believe in yourself. Sis, I love you! XOXO ~K
We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy’s fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure–your perfection–is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.
~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love
The walk home from the hospital on Tuesday nights always reminds me of Athens, OH: My College Town. The side streets, loud bars, and one particular 4-way intersection, which I always hope to be abandoned so I can create my own diagonal crosswalk, all bring along a welcomed sense of nostalgia. It’s the little things in life, kids. Believe it or not, I used to be one of those college kids in the loud bars (on my beloved Court Street) on Tuesday nights enjoying 25-cent wings, 2-dollar mixed drinks in plastic cups, and a priceless buffet of OU-loving friends. But that was a long time ago…well, five years ago.
I look forward to that walk so much, even going as far as to turn down rides home in order to have those 20 minutes to myself. No cell phone. No email. No to-do list. No stress. Just me, my city, and my nostalgic mind on a romantic walk home after a soulful night of baby therapy. What more can a girl ask for?
Surrounded by a city of millions and thousands more tourists, silence is a rarity in Chicago. However, I’m learning that it’s not impossible. Although silence in terms of noise- or lack thereof- is what many first think of, it is silence of the heart that this girl and many others find themselves looking for something- whether or not we actually know what that something is.
A mere stranger once said to me, “I hope you find what you’re looking for.” At twenty-years old, I didn’t know how to take those words. What did he see in me? What did he think I was looking for? How did he know before I even made this realization?
During these last seven years, I never stopped to hear the silence. Too caught up in finding something else, I overlooked what I already had. Believing that I had to be better, grow up quicker, and become somebody else, I lost sight of myself…except when I walked the streets of Athens. Usually with Brandon or other friends at times, the streets provided me serenity as I was able to leave the commotion of my restless mind and abandon the desires of my dreamer ways. I miss those walks. I miss those run-down streets. I miss Brandon and his perfect companionship. I miss Athens a lot. I miss it even more on Tuesday nights when my nostalgic mind kicks in as I turn onto Fullerton.
I cannot tell you the last time I spent a Tuesday night in a bar, and in a few weeks I’ll be back in Athens for the first time since June. And while I miss those days dearly, I’m okay with it now. Because for 20 minutes each week, after I finish my volunteer shift, I can count on my heart to fall silent and clarity to fill my mind. I can take a deep breath and know that everything is fine.
The post I wrote on Sunday, October 10th will explain the ideas behind the Unsent Love Letter Mix Tape series, and if it still doesn’t make sense to you, well then, at least it makes sense to me. The writer. The blogger. The girl behind the computer. Call me what you will but these are my letters. Love Letters. Some will be traditional love letters and some will be love letters of another sort. These are my love letters to those that I love…or once loved…or will one day love. Let me point out that my plan is not to send these letters, but to write them as though I was sending them.
Track 5 is written to Athens, Ohio: Home of Ohio University. I’ll let the letter speak for itself but to put it simply, for weeks now I’ve wanted to scream “Athens, I miss you!” from the top of my apartment building here in Chicago. I love that small college town in the middle of nowhere and it will always be home to me. This weekend is OU’s Homecoming and unfortunately I am not there to partake in the debauchery and reminisce about the good times in Athens. But like always, Athens and my college friends are never far from my mind.
It’s days like today that I find it impossible not too miss you. Knowing that I could be in your presence today is what breaks my heart. I’m trying to concentrate on other things, making plans to keep myself busy, but I keep coming back to you and the slew of beautiful memories that we made together. Do you ever miss me too? I have to ask because I miss you so much and think about you often. In fact, I’ll admit that some days I cannot think of anything but you. Nor can I think of anyone else but the people who surface in those memories of ours. We really had a good run there, didn’t we?
I was forced to leave you over 4 years ago, and while I’ve been back to visit for an occasion weekend I hate to say that it’s just never the same between us. I always leave you not knowing when the next rendezvous will be, wishing that I could stay. When I get back to wherever I came from, Chicago these days, I find myself missing you even more.
I’ve tried to replace you with new cities, but none of them compare to you. You are truly one of a kind, the one that will always hold my heart. While we’ll always be friends, I hate knowing that we’ll never be anything more ever again. Distance will always keep us apart. Why does it have to be that way? Why can’t we just be together?
Whatever the future holds, wherever I go, whomever I meet, just know that you’ll always be my first love- and maybe my only true love. Athens, you were the best thing that ever happened to me and I will never forget you.
Song of the Moment: I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You by Colin Hay
No matter where life takes me and what’s going on in the little world of K, I find I can always close my eyes, take a deep breath, and imagine my beloved college days in Athens as though it was just yesterday. For those few moments I am at peace. Lost in the memories of my past, I feel like I’m home. I am me. Unfortunately even the best daydreams must end, just as my college days did. However, last weekend I was able t0 (re)live those days in Athens. I was fortunate to be able to open my eyes and literally see the memories right in front of me. I was home.
Last weekend I traveled back to my college town for the wedding of my friends, Bill and Renee; back to the place where they meant and their love began. A wedding in Athens…what an A.MAY.ZING. affair. Joining me were my friends/ former OU alums, Mike (my date), Jay, Ashley, Ryan, Meghann, and Steve (aka Rook or Snookie). I’ve mentioned some of these friends before, but just to fill you in on my friends, this was part of my Senior Year Crew. Jay and Mike were my roommates; Ryan, Meghann (Ryan’s wife), Steve, and Bill lived across the hall; and Ashley lived downstairs. Yes, it was like Friends.
After taking the overnight Megabus on Thurdsay, I arrived in Columbus and headed straight to Starbucks to work for a few hours (as noted in a former post). Lucky me, I was able to spend some time with my Columbus friends during the day. Jen (Morel) met me for lunch at North Market, and then Elise (friend and former colleague at Children’s Hunger Alliance) stopped by for a chat session. Before I knew it, the infamous Joe Zummo was strutting his stuff into ‘bucks looking as snazzy as ever. With my 40 hours clocked in, Joe, Elise and I decided on an impromptu Happy Hour on the patio of Frog Bear & Wild Boar in the Arena District (my former stomping grounds when I lived in C-bus). Best idea ever! It wasn’t long after that Ashley, Jay, and Mike arrived to take me back to Athens. ♥ Because of the craziness that my life has been lately, and all of the other travel, it really didn’t hit me that I was really going back to OU. But as I drove with my friends, on Interstate 33, through Lancaster… it hit me. I really was going home.
Since I thought that I was going to write this a week ago, the plan was to hash out all of the details and the (blurry) memories from our nights out on Court Street. This is us. Mostly, the Ohio University Class of 2006. Four years ago we spent our last night of college together, up on Court Street. Four years later, we reunited again for more memories on OU alums’ favorite street. Look at us. Some of them I haven’t seen in 2-3 years, but could you really tell from this photo? That’s what I love about my friends. No time nor distance will ever ruin the bond between my friends and me, and this is why I continuously say that I am blessed.
Friday Night: (From Left to Right: Jay, Mike, Ryan, Meghann, Me, Steve (aka Rook), and Ashley) After the rehearsal dinner at the OU Inn, we made our way up to Court Street. The groom did join us for a few drinks on Friday night but this was the crew that made the rounds- Tony’s; The Junction; The Pub; Pawpurrs; and the C.I. There were shots (like Tony’s Hot Nuts and Girl Scout Cookies- both delicious) and lethal drinks (Junction Punches and At the end of the night, and again the next morning, the conclusion was we cannot drink like we used to. Thank goodness for Goodfellas, one of OU students’ favorite late night treats, to help soak up some of the alcohol before bed.
How did we do it back in college? Sadly, we probably all drank (a lot) more back then too then we ever will as alums. Now I won’t directly say that OU is a party school, but there’s definitely a lot of partying going on in that little college town. I did a lot of reminiscing on Friday night. Each bar instigated a surplus of memories. Each familiar face made me think of another friend of mine. I took a lot of deep breaths that night. It felt so great to be back.
Saturday Morning: I woke up early to get a work-out in before the others awoke. Running on the treadmill gave me time to take it all in. Admist all of the traveling and socializing on Friday, I didn’t get much time to myself. But here I was, in Athens. When the troops finally arose we discovered that some were more hungover than others, and unfortunately a greasy breakfast and coffee didn’t help. Still we managed to get everyone together for a trip uptown for some shopping at College Bookstore and Cross Court Cards & Gifts- which I used to love going to so much! It was the perfect place to kill time between classes, and I would stop by (Note: It’s sorta a really small town-version of Target like cards and mementos. Perfect for women.) We didn’t get a chance to spend much time uptown, but I did get a chance to grab a coffee at Donkey (for Phill) before heading back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding.
Saturday Evening- The Wedding: I have to say that we all look pretty dapper in our wedding wardrobes- even the guys (jk). It was a vast improvement from our usual Saturday afternoon attire of tee shirts, sweats, and flip-flops. The ceremony was in a chuch right off campus, and it was there that we met up with our former roommate, Amanda. I’m just going to say that the ceremony was interesting; a lot different from ones I’ve attended before.
I’ll come clean and admit that I was distracted for much of the ceremony. One reason was because I have always seen Bill and Renee as such a complimentary couple. They just fit so well together. They’ve been together since I’ve known them- getting together during their freshmen year at OU- and I know that their relationship hasn’t been perfect, but they figured out how to make it work. And in my opinion, 1) it’s not easy and 2) the college lifestyle definitely makes it challenging. But isn’t love about overcoming the challenges, proving how strong your love for one another is? Then again, I’m single so what do I know?
During the ceremony I began daydreaming about a wedding in Athens…my own wedding. If I married an OU alum, a particular one for that matter, then I could very well see myself getting married there. Wait, me getting married? And to whom would that be?
Next topic please…
The reception was in the same building as my former dining hall, Nelson, which was on South Green- my stomping grounds sophomore year. After dinner I decided to get some fresh air and go for walk on the infamous catwalk (so many memories). Seriously, part of me felt like I was twenty years old again. It was surreal. I was having flashbacks and thinking of my OUers- one in particular. Should I call him? I called Libby and left her a voicemail. Should I call him? I called Darlene, leaving her a rambling voicemail about how crazy it felt to be back there and how I kept thinking of him, thinking of calling him. (The message didn’t save due to my new phone.) Walking along the catwalk, I made my way to Dougan (my sophomore dorm). Feeling caught up in the moment, and a little tipsy, I went to see if the door was unlocked. It was. Before I knew it, I was on the second floor of Dougan looking at my old mod. (Note: The photos here are from when I took the others back later in the evening, and others during the reception. I love that last photo of the boys!)
During the reception Mike and Jay introduced the game Bros Icing Bros to us ladies. Unfortunately for him, Rook was the likely victim of the game, which continued throughout the night. Icings 2 & 3 were mastered and conquered by me and Ashley, respectively. After all of the years and shit that we put up with, this is how we finally got the respect of Mike and Jay.
Bros Icing Bros: Icing #1 (Photos 1-3, at reception).
Icing #2 (Photo 4, at reception). Icing #3 (Photo 5, at Tony’s).
Saturday Night: After venturing to Dougan for a trip down memory lane (pictures above), we hiked through East Green, up Morton Hill, through College Green, until we came upon Court Street. The walk itself was a trip down memory lane. How many times did I make that walk- sober and not-sober?
I love the intersection of Court & Union. It was love at first sight for me when I first came upon it during my orientation back on July 18, 2003. There’s a diagonal crosswalk in that small little town. I cannot remember seeing another- even here in Chicago. Sometimes I’ll create my own in this one intersection on the back streets in my neighborhood, always thinking of Athens when I do…but it’s not as special. There’s only one diagonal crosswalk that I love.
We made our way to Tony’s, beginning the Court Street Adventure- Night #2 off with a Tony’s Hot Nut, and then a water and coffee for me. The lovely bride and groom joined us for a nightcap, which was quite a site to see as Renee was still in her gown.
I swear I wasn’t that drunk. I promise you. I remember leaving Tony’s and running into another bridal party, which I just so happened to know the groom! (Long story.) After that little occurence, the group went veered off as Mike, Ashley and I headed for some substance at Goodfellas. Then, I believe, we walked down to Courtside but with 2 o’clock approaching we decided to call it a night too. Not being able to reach the 1 cab in Athens (okay, there are 2 cabs total), I was able to talk the kids into walking to the hotel (approx. 20 minutes). That was the best decision that we made. It was a walk that the three of us will never forget. Nothing of significance happened, other than Ashley and Mike deciding to call and order D.P.Dough when Avalanche was closed. Didn’t we just have Goodfellas? My mistake.
Anyways, back to the walk, words cannot describe how remarkable it was. Ashley pointed out that “we can see the stars”, something that none of us typically see in our cities. As funny as it sounded at the time, she was right. There was something so peaceful about that walk home. I, myself, was ‘me’ in that moment. It’s something I am always searching to find (again); something that I always seem to naturally find when I’m back in Athens. I cannot describe it but know what it is because of how I feel when it’s there, within me. I hate to say it, but ‘it’ is there when I’m around (a) certain people too- which is why I am still hoping to find/reconnect with ‘it’ again.
Sunday Morning: I won’t say too much about the morning because I hate saying goodbye to friends and to Athens. We headed back up to Court Street for brunch at Bagel Street and one last stop at Donkey for much-needed caffeine for the ride home. Because of the bus schedule in Columbus, I decided to drive back with Ashley, Jay, and Mike to Cleveland and take Megabus back to Chicago from there that evening. (Yes, it was a long day.) We said our goodbyes to Meghann and Ryan before making our way to the car.
Much to my own surprise, I handled everything fairly well. No breakdowns. No tears. No depressing heart-to-hearts. I love Athens. I always will. But there’s no place for me there anymore. As an alum told me once, while I was still in school, “Athens isn’t about the place, it’s about the people.” Without all my friends there, it’s not just my Athens anymore. My old dorm, house, and apartment are still there, as well as my favorite bars and special spots; however, without the people who made OU so unforgettable for me, they’re just mere buildings and landmarks.
Let me just say this…not like you have a choice. This was probably the 2-3 time in Athens that there was no chance of Casey being there. Every other time I ventured back, he was at least enrolled at OU and therefore he could very well be there. But this time, knowing that there was absolutely no chance of him being there (especially with him residing in Denver now), I found myself wondering, what if he had never been there at all? How different would my life be? He is part of my Athens, the Athens I hold near and dear to my heart. Although I wish he played a different role in my Athens story, and the ending was more happily ever after than maybe, someday we’ll see each other again, I am glad that he was part of my life, and in a way still is. And since I’m down-right exhausted, I can get away saying this: If he wasn’t meant to be in my life for a serendipital reason, then heaven help me, I honestly have no idea what the reason could be.
On that note, I’ll finish this post by saying: Athens, once again, you made me fall more in love with you. I’m not sure how you continue to capture my heart, but I promise that no matter how far I go nor how many cities I see, you will always be ‘the one’ for me.
The title of this post comes from Boston’s More than a Feeling. And here’s the Scrubs’ version of More than a Feeling, that is appropriately dedicated to the Turk & JD of my life, my former roomates/overindulgent airbanders/ forever friends, Mike & Jay.
I woke up in love Athens, OH and very, very soon I will be going to bed in Chicago. I finally arrived home after almost 12 hours of being on the road and it feels almost as A.MAY.ZING. to be lying in my bed right now as this weekend was. Almost A.MAY.ZING. but nowhere near as much so. Athens, OH…it feels like home. Different, but the same. I’ll share many more details in the coming days. I really need to go to bed because tomorrow proves to me be a very busy day, but fortunately no Skokie for me.
Congratulations to Bill and Renee! And a special thank you to my friends, Ashley, Mike, Jay, Meghann, Ryan, and Steve (aka Rook, or Snooki) for making this weekend so memorable. It was great to be home with you. Also, thank you to Jen, Joe, and Elise for spending time with me in Columbus on Friday.
P.S. So I had this brilliant idea on the ride home today…an idea marked by exhaustion, I’m sure. However, it was a good one and I’m only mentioning it on here to remind myself to g0 forth with this little plan. It really is a favor, and one that can actually benefit the person being asked to perform the favor more than me; however it requires me to place the initial request. Okay, I’ll spare you from listening to my rambles even more.
Greetings from Athens, Ohio! I don’t have much time to ‘talk’ since I have a wedding to rest up for and get ready for…all at the same time, but here are two new songs that I was introduced to this morning during my workout.
Timbaland feat. Katy Perry- If We Ever Meet Again
Adam Lambert- If I Had You
P.S. Athens has been A.MAY.ZING. thus far. Wish all my friends were here and we could relive those college years of ours all over again.
As mentioned in a previous post, I am going to divulge the details from my past, well since graduating high school, up until this point. This June marks my 4th anniversary as an Ohio U alum, and therefore I feel the need to look back on all of my Junes, beginning with June 2002- when I graduated from my alma mater, Hampton High School.
June 2006. What a month it was. At that time I really didn’t think I’d live to see another June. But four years later, I can look back and see how far I’ve come.
Let’s start with Graduation Day. Much to my dismay, and hope that a whole Disney miracle occurring-preferably me waking up to find myself on the first day of college all over again instead of the last.
Here are some of my fellow Class of 2006 alumni friends. The imfamous Jay and Mike, whom I have the pleasure of venturing back to Athens with this weekend for our friends’ wedding. (They’re lovely and single, ladies. However, they do come in a package deal. Just kidding. Sorta.) And the second photo is of my dear friend and former Facebook ‘it’s complicated’ boyfriend, Phill. Now if this photo doesn’t say, “I graduated from OU!” then I’m not sure any will.
There were two graduation ceremonies that Saturday. A few of my friends, including Joe, Phill, and Rebecca, graduated in the morning and were fortunate to have the better speaker for theirs. The rest of us all gathered in our River Park apartments getting ready for our parents’ arrivals. I was so numb that day. I remember Jay came in and said something to me about being ‘naturally pretty and not needing any makeup and I didn’t even blush. (PS. He tells lies because I definitely need it!) Shortly after the arrival of all of our parents, we took a few photos and then headed to the Convo Center. I remember walking through South Green with Ashley and Jenny Massie in our caps and gowns, the boys tagging along behind us. And I remember seeing a Black Blazer on my way there and thinking of him; wondering if that was in fact him on his way out of town- since he wasn’t graduating until the following year. Heart breaks even more. End scene.
I’m sure some people will say that their college graduation was one of the most memorable moments of their life, and I’m sure my graduation was memorable for my parents. However, I cannot say the same for me. All I remember about the ceremony is sitting next to Mike, near Kat and her boyfriend-at-the-time, Asher, and that Sleepy Sean sitting a few rows behind us (with Alex) determined to be the last graduate to receive their diploma. Unfortunately his plan failed, but A for effort. I kinda-sorta remember walking up on stage…no, I really don’t. I do vaguely remember that my cell phone just happened to vibrate almost immediately after I walked off stage, and it was Joe calling me (back). Joe Zummo. You know, that boy may not be as good of a friend to me as Brandon, but he’s always there for me in a different sort of way. Like so many of my other friends, I couldn’t imagine my life without him. He deserves an A.MAY.ZING. just for being, well, Joe. If you knew him then you’d understand why I say that.
I do have a special memory from that day that I hold near and dear to my heart, but unfortunately no photos. My wonderful father brought a bottle of champagne to celebrate this momentous occasion, and he found nothing wrong wtih crackin’ the bottle open in the parking lot. The Medica Family, all four of us since my brother graciously joined in the festivities, were drinking champagne in the parking lot of the football stadium. I actually think he may have even brought wine/champagne glasses, but I could be wrong and we were drinking from plastic cups instead. OU, Oh Yeah indeed!
After lunch with my parents, I headed up to Red Brick to meet with Phill, Rebecca, and our friend, Eric. They were just the group that I needed to see to begin the actual celebration that is college graduation. It’s when the bitter turned to bittersweet. After a few drinks, or maybe even one- we are lushes- we headed down to River Park to join the rest of the graduates in the pre-game festivities. But my dear love, Phill, just so happen to meet a friend that he couldn’t no bring home. The balloon just so happened to be in the trash…yes, the trash. And yes, there’s no way he was sober. To this very day, whenever I see this balloon in stores or in garbage cans, I think of Phill.
We had a great time that night, but to be honest I really don’t remember many of the details. Ashley’s brother, Scottie, fell in love with me…in a fun-joking-drunk way…and I believe we broke up a few times that night as well. He also called me “girlfriend” most of the night, so guessing he didn’t remember my name either. Typically gf-bf relationship.
The highlight of my night was seeing Crazy Drew (best friend to Libby’s boyfriend, Kyle) still in his cap and gown at 2:15 am outside of Goodfella’s chowing down on a slice of pizza. I was then serenaded by the (homeless?) guitar player outside of the Burrito Buggy as he played me Wild Horses. Athens, I miss you!
I stayed in Athens for a week or two after graduation, and some of my friends did the same. As each day went by, so did another goodbye. Although they weren’t easy, I never once cried.
Saying goodbye to Phill was far from easy, especially because I didn’t know when I’d see him next. He was moving to NYC almost immediately upon graduation, and while I’d always dreamed of living there I realized that my dream was just a dream. While we’d been friends since the beginning of my first year at OU, I really fell in love with Phill for the beautiful friend he is during senior year. He was the best boyfriend I’d ever had, and raises the bar extremely too high for any future contenders. I love you, Phill.
In my remaining days in Athens, I went on a lot of walks with friends and alone. That’s one of my all-time favorite things to do in Athens, and Brandon and I use to walk around that town whenever we had the chance. Brandon. He was the final goodbye I had to make before my dad drove me home on that fateful day. I’ll spare the details, but saying goodbye to him broke my streak of not crying as I teared-up at the thought of our goodbye time actually being upon us. As he said the other day to me on the phone, “we were inseparable” at OU. I love you, B, and I couldn’t have imagined OU nor my entire life without you. Afterall, I didn’t make a tee-shirt for anyone else.
My dad and me left shortly after, but before getting on the highway I asked him if he would drop me off over at my old stomping grounds, Dougan- my dorm, my first ‘home’ at OU. I sat on the infamous catwalk for awhile with thoughts and memories running through my head. Part of me was numb, and part of me was under the worst pain imaginable. I called Libby and talked to her for a few minutes, but hung up with the intention to place another call. But I didn’t. Instead I said goodbye to Dougan, and to OU.
As soon as we got on Rt. 33, I balled my eyes out. My poor dad didn’t know what to do, but he did the best thing he possibly could and just allow me to cry. It wasn’t all tears of sadness. I know that now. It was tears of memories; of anxiety; of lost hopes and dreams; of lost love; and mostly, tears of feeling lost and being afraid of the unknown.
That was four years ago, and here I am headed back to that same little college town this weekend. Four years. Wow. At that time, if you would have told me that I would be who I am today (more confident and comfortable in her skin) and where I’m at (living in Chicago), I would have called you craaaaaazzzzy.
I still miss Athens, and mostly I miss my friends and the times I spent with them in Athens. The memories will always be there. I know that. But there are so many days that I wish I could call up Brandon and go for a walk around town. And when Libby posts on Facebook that she’s having a bad day, I just want to be able to walk up to her house on Mound Street with sour Skittles. And then there’s Phill. While I hated how much time he spent at Alden Library, I secretly loved knowing that he’d be there so I could surprise him with Magic Cookie squares and tempt him to take a quick break.
So many memories, and so many good friends. I know that Athens will always feel like home, but as I just emailed Adriana, I also know that it will never be the same without all of my friends there. As an alumni once told me during Homecoming Weekend of my senior year, “Athens isn’t about the place, it’s about the people.”
I arrived in Athens with very few life experience and so much to learn. Each and every person I met, each experience I had, it’s all within me now and is responsible for the person that I am today. College was the best time of my life. Sure I had bumps and bruises, not to mention a broken heart, but I cannot even begin to put into words how special those three years were to me. My OU friends will always hold a special place in my heart. We met as acquaintances, soon became friends, and left as family. Love you all.
Or maybe I’ve been thinking about how to say goodbye to you all week. Maybe I’ve been thinking about how to make those words come out of my mouth every second of the day since I made the decision to leave. Maybe saying goodbye to you is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
You may return here once you have fully come to understand that you are always here. (Eat. Pray. Love. )