Archive for the ‘Joe Zummo’ Tag
Last night after a rejuvenating spinning class with Stef (Thanks again, Stef!), I ran into a former friend from my hometown- right here in the big city of Chicago. Of course Facebook previously notified me of her arrival and we communicated via a few messages, but seeing her in the middle of the streets was a great surprise. And being the fact that it was my birthday, it was one of those unexpected moments that reminds you exactly where you came from and how far you’ve traveled– sometimes literally, like in my case.
My birthday has officially come and gone, and now I sit here wondering what’s next? What’s in store for me this year? I’m 27 now. Where are the fireworks? Where are the answers? Why do I still feel like so much is missing? And then I remind myself that one’s birthday really is just another day and age is only a number.
Am I allowed to have a weak moment on here tonight? I’ve already talked to Adriana, Stef, and Julie this evening (thank you ladies!) and now I’m contemplating calling Joe to have some to shoot-the-shit with and calm down my weary mind. I’m not sad. Maybe my feelings can be best described as confusion? Like when you’re on the verge of a change and you’re not quite sure how it all turns out and therefore you end up second-guessing yourself. Okay, now you’re probably confused too so let me try to explain myself.
(Just called Joe and left him a voicemail. I could use his distracting stories and nonsense tonight.)
Yesterday was wonderful. It really was. Other than the disappointing news that began my work day (I’m over it, mostly), it was just how I wanted it to be. Simple, memorable, and a bit sweaty (Yay for spinning class! Thanks again, Stef!). Anyways, yesterday I had a mini quarter-life crisis (?) epiphany. I’m 27 years old now and my life is still practically the same. Kristin, bless her heart, got to deal with that email and reassured me that I am nowhere near the same person that I was because of the experiences that I’ve encountered from living in The Crazy Windy City these past two years. She’s right and I know this, but sometimes we all need someone else to remind us when life clouds our ration. (Thanks Kristin!) I know I’m not the same girl I used to be, and in fact I have a blog full of posts to prove it.
So that epiphany I had centered around the idea of adopting a puppy…finally. If you know me outside of this blog then you know that this is something I’ve talked about for awhile, especially since moving to Chicago. However, so many factors have contributed to me not following through with these plans (yet). But yesterday, in my ripe old age of 27, I decided to pursue one of my dreams and take a look a the lovely pet adoption organizations here in Illinois and let fate guide me along my way. Que sera, sera.
There’s more behind this decision but I won’t waste your time with all the details. But I will say that after a playdate with Hazel & George, as well as a summer of Bachelorette Parties, Bridal Showers, Weddings, Engagements, Babies, and Pregnancies, I feel more maternal than I ever have before. Perhaps it’s the Curse of 27. Idk. But whatever it is, I am overcome with the emotions that I want something to hold on to. Something to be responsible for other than myself. Something to believe in. Something to call mine.
I want to love and be loved, and if that just so happens to be for/from a dog for the mean time, then I’ll just have to accept my fate. I have so much to give, and give I will. Even though I’ve been doubting it all evening, maybe I really am ready to adopt a puppy (tomorrow/this weekend/soon). I always knew that 27 was going to be a milestone year and if this is how it begins, then so be it.
I could have walked those streets forever last night. It was just one of those breezey evenings when everything felt peaceful and you’re perfectly content with where you are at the time. Sure life here in Chi-town isn’t perfect and I really am starting to see truth in Adriana’s theory about Chicago slowly breaking up with me. There’s not much here to hold on to but still I find myself trying to hold on to something.
And that’s why I want a puppy. Not entirely true, but there’s some truth behind that. In all honesty, I just want to take care of someone(thing) other than myself. Maybe this is a little too deep but I just want to know, maybe, that I”m worthy of having such a thing.
Oh well, Mr. Joe Zummo just called me back so it’s time to end this post. Good night, kids! I’ll be sure to let you know if a puppy finds his/her way home with me tomorrow.
With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.
The title of this post comes from lyrics of City by Sara Bareillis. (Stef, add this song to your playlist.)
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. )
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…
As mentioned in last Tuesday’s 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.
One morning in June 2005 I sat in the Convo and watched these girls say goodbye to their college days in their caps and gowns. While I watched these girls, who had become sisters to me, I was overcome with a surplus of emotions- one being pride. I was so happy to share this moment with my friends.
Another thought crossed my mind as I sat in peanut-heaven taking in the graduation scenario: This was going to be me down there, in my cap and gown, in exactly one year.
These four girls, Kristin, Ruth, Sarah, and Carrie, came into my life during my junior year at OU- shortly after my 21st birthday. They are also known as the “Lancaster Girls” and my Sex and the City ladies too. I also hold them responsible for corrupting me- all in good fun of course. And speaking of fun, we sure had a lot of good times! during our many, many nights with up on Court Street.
June 2005 marked the end of another great year at OU, and was the beginning of many changes for me. These four ladies were not returning to Athens with me the following year, so I as proud as I was of them, I was certainly distraught wondering who I would be spending my time with. Sure, I had my other friends- including Brandon, Libby, Mike, Jackie, etc.- but I literally spent most of my time with these four ladies. Like I said, they were sisters to me. Those four girls, and Jackie too, taught me to be strong; to be confident; to believe in myself; to be who I am. They showed me that you always look out for your girl friends, no matter what, and that your girl friends are your real soulmates. They helped me see that I was beautiful just the way I am, flaws and all.
Even before the girls graduate, I began thinking, what am I going to do (next year) without them? I couldn’t imagine my life without them. My spring quarter literally revolved around them, as I’d wake up (usually hungover), go to class until noon (perfect college schedule), Sarah would pick me up and we’d go lay out, then get ready to head out for another night on Court Street. I was living the College Dream…or so I thought.
One night, before heading back to Pittsburgh, Sarah and I began the night pre-gaming in my house before meeting the others up on Court Street. (Honestly, I cannot even remember who we met since most people had already gone home for the summer.) I have one thing to say about that night, and a whole lot of regrets: Bacardi 151. The rest of the night is very blurry, but one thing I kinda-sorta remember is being at The Junction believing that I was talking to my new roommate Jay (and a girl ‘he’ was with). It wasn’t until the next morning, after waking up next to Sarah on our front porch, that I thought, Jay doesn’t have a short ponytail so that couldn’t have been him. That night changed it all. For the rest of the summer, I swore off drinking to cut out all the BS and distractions that accompany alcohol. I finally recognized that I had gotten too caught up in the OU party scene and all I really had to remember it by was the hot mess that had become my life.
For many reasons, including the one I just mentioned, my anxiety levels were skyrocketing during the summer of 2004. After being home in Pittsburgh for the remainder of June and beginning of July, working for Kraft (my dad’s employer), I began summer session in Athens…while still working for Kraft. Let me simplify that. On Sunday night, I drove to Athens, OH to play student for the week and then as soon as class ended on Thursday afternoon, I drove back to Pittsburgh, PA to play Kraft summer employee. I’m not going to complain, but yes, it was exhausting.
Despite the back-and-forth, I had an A.MAY.ZING. summer- when I was in Athens. It was during that summer that I truly fell in love with my college town. I felt so content and at peace during this time, like the campus was mine. It was a great change from the usual chaos that consumed Athens during the school year.
I did a lot of thinking that summer, some prompted by the two English courses I was enrolled in and the fabulous professor that is Jeremy Webster. Other thoughts were provoked from spending time with the Rebecca, Karrie, and Dusty. It was so nice to spend more time with them, without any other distractions getting in the way.
My time in Athens that summer also allotted me time with the always-fabulous and entertaining Joe Zummo. After he’d talk to his girlfriend, Renee, on the phone, Joe would head over (sometimes with a 6-pack) and we’d sit on the 10 Hocking porch and talk about everything and nothing at all. Some days he’d just tell me one popsicle joke after another, and other days he’d open up about how his hopes for the coming school- one being to become better friends with the beloved Casey. To be honest, I wanted that for him too.
Part of me didn’t want that summer to end, for a few reasons. While I was anxious for my friends to arrive and enjoy my new Athens with me, I also recognized that it meant I would be one day closer to the end of my OU days as graduation became more real to me.
No matter what, Senior Year was another A.MAY.ZING. time at OU for me. New roommates (Jay, Mike, and Amanda) brought about many new friends (Ashley, Jenni “BaFaFa”, Jenny- just to name a few), and of course I was lucky to still have some of my favorites like Libby, Brandon, Mike, and Phill still there with me.
This is another time in my life that I wish I could get back. Re-do senior year at OU…YES, PLEASE! I wish I knew then what I know now-thoughts constantly play in my mind. I know I’d do things differently based on what I’ve learned since then, and who I am today. For one I would have let that boy know exactly how I felt about him, once and for all. And second, I would have switched over to that Child Life Specialist position. These are just two of the things I know that I would have done, but what’s done is done. I also wish I was strong back then; that I believed in myself more; and that I lived more freely without having any regrets. Woulda, coulda, shoulda…
Even having to live with these regrets now, I am grateful for what I learned that summer. For it is because of my experiences, my mistakes, and my woulda-coulda-shouldas, that I can look back today remembering how much I’ve grown since then, and how I’ll continue to seek to better myself each and every day.
You know people say how important a college education is, and I will not disagree. However, a college education isn’t just what you learn from textbooks, research papers, and all-night cram sessions, but rather it’s what you learn about yourself that makes the experience worthwhile.
Notes: The title of this blog is lyrics from the song Murder on the Dance Floor, which is a favorite of these lovely Lancaster girl friends of mine. Not only was it on The Pub Mix, but it was also dedicated to the OU girls at Kristin’s wedding.
And the portait of Court Street above is wonderful and available for purchase. Check out Ellen Pettey Photography at http://ellenpettey.com/ to order your own! Look through her galleries for others that may interest you as well.