Archive for the ‘Jenni (Bafafa)’ Tag

let’s all sing it together: “it’s a small world after all”   Leave a comment

To sum up this past weekend best, I’ll say that, Chicago is a big city but it’s such a small world.  The whirlwind that was this past weekend- and really week- reminded me of both of these concepts.  Take today (Sunday night is when I’m writing this) for instance.  Within an hour of waking up I found myself on a bus around the city, only to trek all the way back to discover just what a small world it really is.  In my own neighborhood Starbucks, I ran into the younger brother, Brad, of my dear college friend, Jenni.  (aka “BaFaFa).  Brad was in town visiting friends for the weekend and our run-in was completely unexpected and A.MAY.ZING.  Isn’t that the best?!!!

With Laura in town this weekend for the second interview, my weekend was devoted to showing her around.  It was better than that sounds but also the culprit of my exhaustion…and the reason for my 3-hour nap this afternoon.  I woke up groggy, maybe a little refreshed, thinking where I was and, more importantly, who I was with this weekend. 

Over the course of the past 2 days, I have been with or spoken to all sorts of friends: old friends, new friends, friends-of-friends (now my friends), friends from high school, friends from college, friends from Columbus, and family. 

Here I am, in the 3rd largest city in the US, having come here 2 years ago knowing less than a handful of people, and I run into a familiar smiling face from my past at my Starbucks four blocks from my apartment.  Most of you are probably thinking, what’s so special about that?  It happens to me all the time?  Well, it used to happen to me all the time too, but not anymore.  To say I miss that is truly an understatement.

Being in this city, surrounded by unfamiliar faces- that are not always friendly- makes me feel foolish for going out of my way to avoid people at our community venues (back in Hampton) all those times.  Some day I’d give anything to just casually run into a former teacher at Target, a former teammate while running at the park or even arrange a coffee date with a former friend/classmate.  I guess it’s true that you long for the things you once had when they’re no longer available to you. 

Gosh, if my friend, Matt (MT), read this I would never hear the end of it.  Actually I spoke with him last night and some of this stuff came up, and his teasing definitely did as well.  Although I’m at the point now where I can fire back and it doesn’t bother me as much.  As I’ve shared in past posts, there was a time in my life- during college- when I decided that I wanted to break-up with my past life.  I didn’t want anything to do with Hampton.  I wanted a change.  I wanted to change.  I regret that time in my life and now realize that it was foolish of me; however, it is once again proof that you live & learn.

It’s funny how things change.  I’m not sure if I’m laughing about it, but I think the way my life has gone, thus far, I definitely see the irony.  For instance, as a teenager I used to daydream of living in NYC…but realistically never thought I’d end up there.  At that time I figured I’d be in Pittsburgh, dating my latest crush, and being friends with the same friends- that are now no longer my friends.  In college I knew I’d never go back to Pittsburgh and was destined to live in (Columbus,) Ohio for the rest of my life.  Then Chicago came and the struggle has finally somewhat seized, and while I miss my family (in Pgh) and friends (mostly back in Ohio), I’m actually realizing how great it is to be in Chicago and have visiting guests and random run-ins with my Ohio folk in Starbucks.

Is staying here in Chicago actually my solution for having the balance of my past and the future I desire? 

I do still think about moving back to Columbus, Ohio, wondering what it would be like.  I know that after living here that it would be very, very different, but would I like it?  Would I fit in?  I could ask these questions again and again, leading myself down the never-ending road of frustration, but why bother? 

I’m finally understanding that life isn’t about the minute-by-minute plans nor the timelines.  There’s no rule book on how to do things, and no penalty if you don’t accomplish those societal standard checklist items by a certain age or at all.  Life is about the little things; the precious moments; the unexpected joys.  It’s about follow your passions and acting spontaneously in the moment.  It’s about choosing to go on a weekend roadtrip to your college town with friends.  Or deciding to enroll in grad school to pursue the job that you know you’re meant to do.  It’s about falling in love at first sight with a guy you never thought was ‘your type’ and enjoying those butterflies that you get when he’s around.  It’s about running into an old friend in a big city and having a smile on your face the next day, realizing just how wonderful that unexpected moment truly was.

It may be a small world (after all), but it’s a life full of many opportunities.

june series: looks like i’m starting all over again, the last three years were just pretend. goodbye to you, goodbye to everything i thought i knew.   Leave a comment

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: This was me four years ago, with my Bafafa, Jenni.  (Bafafa was our cute little nickname for BFF.  Don’t hate.)  Much to my dismay and hopes for a miracle to happen, graduation day was going to happen for this girl.  GRRrrrrr….but we still had a few days to live it up in Athens.  Unfortunately though, the goodbyes were beginning because about half of my friends weren’t seniors and therefore left for summer break during the week of graduation. 

I don’t remember much about the Wednesday of graduation, other than the fact that my first dreaded goodbye was forced to take place.  Libby was leaving.  My Libby.  My best friend and confidante for all of my three years in Athens.  She gave me strength when I was weak, and believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself; and vice versa.  I can say so much more about Libby and what she has always meant to me, but think both of these quotes explain our friendship perfectly-

If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. but the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… i’ll always be with you.  (Winnie the Pooh)

That was what I remember most about my Wednesday, and honestly, I could be mistaken and Libby may have left on Thursday morning/early afternoon instead.  No matter what, I know that she was not around to join us out on Thursday night.

A large majority of the underclassmen had finished up by Thursday evening, but Court Street was still alive with for Thursday night fun.  Soon-to-be graduates filled the bars for another final night out with their underclassmen friends, and I was no exception.  Mike, Rebecca, and Phill joined me (all pictured here) to begin the night at BDubs, with Brandon, Mike Wagner, Matt, and Joe- amongst others perhaps?- meeting us later on.  Emotions were flowing that night as our undergrad friends began with their “I cannot imagine OU without you.”  It’s exactly how I felt the previous year when Sarah, Kristin, Ruth, and Carrie left…but that made me realize that they’d be okay, even if they didn’t have me to keep them all on track.  (Sidenote: And they did manage.)

After a few drinks at Bdubs, we made our rounds to the other bars, eventually making to Tony’s. By that time Joe, Ben, and Quinn had joined us, and after some alcohol and coercing from Rebecca, I decided to place a call to a certain boy…without anything, even Joe, knowing.  He was at another bar with his friend and sound pretty drunk, and as luck would have it my cell cut him off.  For some reason I couldn’t call him back.  All I could think was, Is that our goodbye? 

Rebecca being the wonderful and supportive friend that she has always been, kidnapped me to get a Girl Scout Cookie shot over at The Pigskin- a favorite drink and bar of ours over the years.  I had to include this photo of us from one of our first weeks at OU.  How young do we look?!

After calming down with Rebecca and a mellowing out with the shot, we headed back to Tony’s to join the others…when fate intervened.  From what I remember, Rebecca said his name and I turned around only to look directly at him standing right behind me.  Our eye contact remained constant from that moment on…

That’s one of the things I remember about the night, and the fact that very  few words were spoken between us although so much seemed to be said.  (Chills.)   I wish I could what he was thinking in that moment…really thinking… not just what I perceived him to be thinking nor what I hope that he was thinking…because those could be two entirely different things for all I know. 

Looking back, years later, I could have said so much- out loud.  Words that I’ve thought about for years before that moment and since, but instead I said…nothing.  I didn’t even say goodbye.  I couldn’t say goodbye.  Nor, could I watch him walk away.  I stood there, staring across the street, not permitting myself to turn my head to get one last glimpse of him.  I knew myself well enough to know that the image of him walking away would haunt me forever, and that wasn’t the last image I wanted of him.  I wanted it to be him looking at me, with a huge smile on his face and tilting the stupid hat from Wal-mart that was on my head that night- the $10 hat that I told Brandon I’d wear for him that night. 

That was the last time I saw him…and I fear that it may be the last one entirely.

Now let me say that I loved The Notebook long before the whole Casey-Kristen love story ever began.  I’m a girl, of course I love it.  But after this boy entered my life and caused it to spin our of control, I perceive the Noah-Allie story so differently…understandably so.  I emphasize with these characters more than I even thought a person could.  This letter, the first letter, that Noah writes to Allie, says the things that I’ve felt for a few years now- even during the most painful days. 

My Dearest Allie. I couldn’t sleep last night because I know that it’s over between us. I’m not bitter anymore, because I know that what we had was real. And if in some distant place in the future we see each other in our new lives, I’ll smile at you with joy and remember how we spent the summer beneath the trees, learning from each other and growing in love. The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds, and that’s what you’ve given me. That’s what I hope to give to you forever.  I love you. I’ll be seeing you. Noah

The title of this post comes from lyrics to Goodbye to You by Michelle Branch, and I find it very fitting for the thoughts and feelings that I had during this time.  And the same goes for the line in The Notebook that I just shared.  The combination of these two explain how I was feeling at the time, or I can just say that I was a big mess of emotions and anxiety.  I believed in something for 3 years…something that made a fool of me…something that a part of me still believe 4 years later.  And as much pain and heartbreak that I’ve experienced because of it, I can say that it was worth it since I got to experience a love like this.  A love like the movies.

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Quote for my friends: Even though we’ve changed and we’re all finding our own place in the world, we all know that when the tears fall or the smile spreads across our face, we’ll come to each other because no matter where this crazy world takes us, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we’re not all still friends.

As my dear friend, Mike Wagner, once said to me, We’ll always have Athens.

june series: the days doing nothing, you meant more to me then than i think you ever knew. but you were going to be a doctor, a movie star, a poet at a nobel seminar. i hope the world never tore that out of you.   2 comments

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.

Let me start by sharing that the title of this blog comes from lyrics in the song, Our Last Night by Better than Ezra.  I continuously listened to their songs and Anna Nalick’s (2 am, as one example) to help get me through the final quarter of my college career.  It was a rough couple of months for me- battling anxiety and fear of the unknown- but also one of the most unforgettable times of my life, as my incredible friends and I opted to make the best of the last of our college days.

June 2006.  The photos here are from one those unforgettable days in Athens with some of my friends.  We spent the afternoon at Stroud’s Run before heading back to our apartment for a cookout.  It was there that someone introduced the idea of venturing up to the infamous Bong Hill.  (From Left to Right: Jenny, Ashley, Me, Jenni (aka Bafafa), Steve (aka Rook), and Jay)  Yes, it’s called Bong Hill for a reason but somehow we were sober that day.  (And I’m not sure why I was wearing one of Jay’s toy policeman hats, nor why he has one.) 

I love this photo so much.  That was such an A.MAY.ZING. view of the entire campus of Ohio University.  This photo is from four years ago and I can still remember how serene that moment felt and how memories of my three years in Athens flashed before my eyes providing me a fraction of closure to make the goodbyes a little bit easier.

Who am I kidding?  Nothing was easy about those last few weeks in college.  Each day made it more real.  The end was drawing near, which meant goodbyes were coming up.  I am horrible with goodbyes. 

Soon it was the last week of college and I found myself balancing finals and final papers with good solid friend time.  I was such an emotional wreck that week but I somehow managed to push my way through it.  I had a little help from my friends and a very special professor of mine, Linda Rice, who noticed that I was struggling during the quarter. 

To be honest, that last week is a blur but I do remember some parts of the days.  Amidst the all-night writing and study sessions and trips to the library, there were some very special moments mixed in there as well.  So special to me, personally, that I’m going to keep them to myself- and the few that know the details of what this week had instore for me.  If I knew then what I know now…

I’ll say it again, I’m horrible with goodbyes.  And my parents will tell you that I’ve never handled change well either…but change was inevitable that week.  My final undergrad paper was turned in around 11:30 am on Tuesday morning and I can still remember convening with Libby and her roommate, Austin, outside on the steps of Alden Library.  Soon after I was headed to Stroud’s with Bafafa (aka Jenni) to relax for a few hours before going out for some Tuesday night fun.  Now let me say that during my senior year of college, Tuesday prooved to me the best night to go out- always a good time.  And this Tuesday night, the final Tuesday night in Athens, definitely did not disappoint.  With Joe and I both finishing up (for good) that day, we made plans to gather the troops for a night out…with plans to meet up with Casey later in the night.  Again, the memories are mine and nothing of major signifance (to an outsider) occurred.  I’ll just say that it was good to see him, and almost as important, I’m happy that Joe had a chance to hang out with him as well. 

While people encouraged me to get him (not Joe) to go home with me, I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do.  Instead, I went home with Joe- but not in that way.  Joe, my roommate Mike, and I walked back to the apartment building, and I ended up spending an hour outside with Joe just talking and reminiscing about our days since Dougan (our first dorm).  I love to end nights sitting and having a little heart-to-heart with your friends. 

Sidenote:  In my three years at OU, it was one of only a few planned nights out with him. (She pauses as intense regrets fills her head, and her heart.)

I’m going to stop here, but let me say that the June Series has not come to an end yet.  In a few days I head back to Athens, OH for a friends’ wedding.  The anticipation is already stirring up, as well as the emotions.  Another experience for this girl…