Archive for the ‘Jay’ Tag
One of my favorite things about living in Chicago is that friends are always anxious to stop by and play for a weekend. This weekend I hosted four of my OU besties: Ashley, Mike, Libby, and Jay (pictured left to right). Note: They may be referred to as Addie, Mitch, Lana & Jordan- which became their (bar) identities to increase this weekend’s antics. As for me, I may have introduced myself as Kendall a half-dozen times (or more). Yes, ladies and gentlemen. These four, along with some of my other Chicago friends, certainly partook in some shenanigans this weekend. To put it best, they’ll all be back again (asap) if not moving here after a weekend that can only be described as A*MAY*ZING.
I had a blast with my friends this weekend and certainly sad to see them leave this morning. I’m so glad to be able to provide some good old-fashioned fun and more memories from the ones we’ve created since our college days in Athens.
Song of the Moment: Home by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros & Cover by Father and Adorable Daughter
Before I knew it my cell phone alarm was yelling at me (to get up). 8:00 am never felt so early in my life, but I guess that’s what happens when you (attempt to) sleep on a bus the night before and go to bed around 3:30 am the night before. Knowing that a morning workout would come in handy before the all-day drinking festivities began, I changed into my workout clothes (forgetting deodorant) and headed to the hotel’s workout room. A twenty-five minute run is all I was able to commit to as I discovered that my brother, Nicky, and his friends were only a 30 minutes away and my unshowered-self was far from ready to greet them. Somehow, thirty minutes later I was at least somewhat presentable and hugging my brother in the hotel lobby.
I took the boys to breakfast while the girls got ready, and immediately upon finishing Ashley & Jay were pulling into the parking lot. Yep, I knew this was going to be a go-go-go day for yours truly…but in the best possible. With a little switch-a-roo, I found myself taking Jay & Ashley for a much-run Starbucks run and breakfast at North Market. Then it was back to the hotel room to gather the rest of the troops and finish getting ready to head down to OSU campus for tailgating.
Now thank goodness my friends love me so much 🙂 because they did not like me when I mistakenly told them that it was “only a 25-minute walk to campus”. Technically it was…for me once. But unfortunately since moving to Chicago, my barrings for Columbus have been a little skewed. Sure, it was a 25-minute walk for me one time (I swear) but I guess I wasn’t sober and didn’t realize where I was walking from and to at that time. Note: Both points were closer than our departure and arrival location. Again, Oops! Luckily they were good sports and didn’t ridicule me too much – nor all day long. Right guys? O-H well.
We eventually made it to Little Bar to meet up with the others- Kristin, Jim, Carrie, and Tony (for starters)- and a load of OSU fans. Let the shenanigans officially begin! There’s just something so magical about Columbus- and Ohio in general- during the Buckeyes’ season and being on campus for the game is unfathomable to anyone who has never participated themself. It’s days like this that make me realize why I love Ohio so much! I was so happy. Sure, I was drinking my Red Bull and vodka, but that wasn’t the reason. It was truly because of the people who I was surrounded by: Friends & family (Nicky) from Hampton, Friends from OU, Friends from Columbus, Friend from Chicago. All of these different parts of my life were gathered in one place…FINALLY. One of my friends said to me, “Don’t you love when your friends like one another?” My (obvious) response, “Yes! Absolutely!” That may have been the first time ever that I had so many parts of my life together in one place. It’s actually something I’ve always hoped would happen.
We headed down to River Jam, close to the stadium, with Jim, Kristin, Carrie, and Charlie before these season ticket holders had to head in. We took in some people watching and more drinking. I have to say that I love a tailgate that serves Bloody Marys! After kick-off, I received a text from my third cousin, Ryan, that he was in the vicinity. So I immediately made my way through the crowd of OSU fans and found him. How adorable is he?
We made our way back to Little Bar to meet back up with Ashley and Tony, and my friend, Jacquie- who is a Child Life Specialist and introduced me to the career in the first place. Thanks so much, Jac!! Although the bar was now ridiculously crowded (with the game underway), we found ourselves having a good time. New friendships were forming before my very eyes and therefore, I was in my Ohio Happy Place…and it was just about to get much happier.
Brandon!!! Now this is my happy place. Being with one of my best friends in the entire world, Brandon, makes me the happiest girl ever. I mean, seriously, how cute are we together?!! This is definitely one of the loves of my life. The only thing wrong with this picture is that Libby is not in it with us. This was the first time I saw B in 1.5 years!! That’s horrible. And even worse, I haven’t seen Libby in 2.5 years! That needs to change ASAP and hopefully it will in the next few weeks. Note: Brandon, Libby, and me (BLK) were a little three-some (like that, B?) in college.
Seeing Brandon was definitely the cherry on top and seeing his fiancée, Steph, was a bonus indeed. Everything was great. Maybe a tidbit overwhelming, especially with the drunken crowd, but definitely for myself enamored with so many of my friends by my side. I’m a very lucky girl. 🙂 And with my friends-now-friends, well everything was pretty A.MAY.ZING. and the most amazing thing is that the night was far from over.
We were hungry. Hungry and exhausted. But the show must go on. This was the weekend where us 26 & 27– year olds gave it all that we have to give to suffer through the lifestyle of a college kid again. Tough, but somebody has to do and who better than a bunch of OUers and our adopted-OUer, Stef, to do it? Afterall, this is what our OU degrees were for, right?
Getting back to the hotel, I encountered my brother and his friends. I’ll skip the details but a little drunken entertainment certainly went on with one of my childhood neighbors. (Poor Joey. Poor Us!) But this did allow me to spend some (more) time with my brother and gave Ashley the chance to harass him with the camera. At least we got this lovely family shot in. Then to make it more of a family gather, my wine-induced father decided to drunk dial me (at 8:30 pm). Yep, I love my family!
We were all beat at that point, but it was my friend Charlie’s birthday and therefore it was time to rise and (attempt to) go again. Off to Park Street Patio, which is definitely was always a favorite bar of mine when living in Columbus. Unfortunately it’s changed a bit, but that most certainly does not mean that we didn’t have a good time. After all, it was Charlie’s birthday and that definitely calls for some celebrating. With Jim taking charge for one of his best friend’s birthday, we knew it was going to be a good time. But this little (cougar) blogger of yours had no idea just how good- and interesting- it was about to get.
Let me first say that I was not drunk. I really wasn’t. Drinking? Yes. Tired? Absolutely. High on life by spending two full days with my friends in Columbus? You betcha! I’m saying this because I honestly have no idea how the events that occurred on Saturday night at Park St. Patio unfolded. One minute I was dancing and singing at our table and the next walking around the bar trying to find Jacquie. Then I was scouting out boys with Kristin until I had to go outside to take a call from my friend, Elise. And that, my friends, is the last moment before Little Stella Cougar Got Her Groove Back.
So I’m still a little unclear of what actually happened, but I’m beginning to put some of the pieces together. Apparently, Jim found out who the cute guy near the bar was and maneuvered his own plan (with the assistance of our server) to get him (Nick) to talk to me (?)… meet me (?)…honestly, I don’t know what he was trying to do. But it worked and that’s all that matters. And what was Jim’s grand plan? Based on what I gathered and experienced, Mr. “Matchmaker” Comyns ordered me another Screwdriver, had the server get Nick to come over to Jim, and then Jim asked him to take this drink over to a “really nice girl who was talking to his wife” (me). And he did- which honestly still shocks me. I mean what would you do in that situation? The funny thing is that I probably would do it, but I’m not sure how many others would. I think that says a lot about the person Nick is. To be quite honest, little picky me has to admit that he’s pretty A.MAY.ZING. Just a good, genuine guy. In a way that could be detected by the way he handled the situation. I think it’s fair to ration that I had a good time with him. Am I crushing? It appears that I am. So yes. Interesting enough we discovered that we have a (random) mutual contact, Nila, who thinks the world of him. If anything he’s reminded me that there are good guys out there…even at the bars.
So yeah, that pretty much concludes my weekend- without too many details on the latter part of Saturday night. (We’ll see what happens.) Sunday morning brought about the end of our roadtrip to Columbus, as Stef and I boarded the Megabus (minus Starbucks) back to Chicago. We had a decent ride home, which is always appreciated- especially on a Sunday night (aka the day before a Moan-day). It’s been pretty much a continuation of the go-go-go weekend these past few days (minus the Columbus, friends, and boy parts) and not much sleep has happened for this girl. Case in point, it’s 11:22 pm CT and I’m nowhere near asleep. Maybe I should hit “Publish” and get at least one step closer to that occurrence.
So again, thank you to Columbus and all of my friends- old and new- for leaving with many memories from this weekend. I’ll see you all again soon!
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.
Good morning, good morning! Or at least I’m trying to brainwash myself into thinking it’s a good morning. I’ve been meaning to blog the s**t out of this week, but as evidence shows…I have not. I am exhausted- physically, mentally, emotionally- AND, I just found out that one of my Roadtrip to Athens for Bill & Renee’s Wedding companions, Jay, has strep throat. Stay away strep!! More importantly, feel better Jay.
Since I don’t have time to write a full blog nor will I later today due to a packed schedule (more travel, within Chicagoland though), I’m just going to catch you up on my life with this little list.
1. My weekend in Athens was A.MAY.ZING. and you will hear all about it in a post that later this week (fingers crossed).
2. It is ridiculously humid here in Chicago, making me remember that summer weather commutes to work are worse than those in the winter. Honestly.
3. I have a meeting tonight at Children’s Memorial to find out about my volunteer assignment!!!!! So excited and hopeful that it will be with the Child Life Department.
4. My throat hurts.
5. I woke up at 4 am today… not kidding… to get a workout in before taking the Metra at Union Station to Naperville for a day at my supervisor’s house. I didn’t work out; and therefore, cursing the time 4 am.
6. I cannot stop listening to the song, If We Ever Meet Again by Timbaland feat. Katy Perry.
7. My apartment looks like I’ve been running around for months and haven’t cleaned it. Translation: It’s a mess. Fact: I have been running around for months.
8. I miss Athens. I miss my friends. I’ve never felt more inspired to write this novel of mine.
9. I cannot for the life of me figure out which direction to go in for Child Life. I found another grad program (Erikson Institute, Chicago) but it wouldn’t start until Fall 2011. Can I really wait another year?
10. I talked to Joe last night for over an hour, reminiscing about Athens/discussing life in general…making me think more about ‘him’. Do I have it in me to actually call him?
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.
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. )