Archive for the ‘OU’ Tag

unsent love letter mix tape: track 5   1 comment

The post I wrote on Sunday, October 10th will explain the ideas behind the Unsent Love Letter Mix Tape series, and if it still doesn’t make sense to you, well then, at least it makes sense to me.  The writer.  The blogger.  The girl behind the computer.  Call me what you will but these are my letters.  Love Letters.  Some will be traditional love letters and some will be love letters of another sort.  These are my love letters to those that I love…or once loved…or will one day love.  Let me point out that my plan is not to send these letters, but to write them as though I was sending them. 

Track  5 is written to Athens, Ohio: Home of Ohio University.  I’ll let the letter speak for itself but to put it simply, for weeks now I’ve wanted to scream “Athens, I miss you!” from the top of my apartment building here in Chicago.  I love that small college town in the middle of nowhere and it will always be home to me.  This weekend is OU’s Homecoming and unfortunately I am not there to partake in the debauchery and reminisce about the good times in Athens.  But like always, Athens and my college friends are never far from my mind.

 

 

 

Dear Athens,

It’s days like today that I find it impossible not too miss you.  Knowing that I could be in your presence today is what breaks my heart.  I’m trying to concentrate on other things, making plans to keep myself busy, but I keep coming back to you and the slew of beautiful memories that we made together.  Do you ever miss me too?  I have to ask because I miss you so much and think about you often.  In fact, I’ll admit that some days I cannot think of anything but you.  Nor can I think of anyone else but the people who surface in those memories of ours.  We  really had a good run there, didn’t we?

I was forced to leave you over 4 years ago, and while I’ve been back to visit for an occasion weekend I hate to say that it’s just never the same between us.  I always leave you not knowing when the next rendezvous will be, wishing that I could stay.  When I get back to wherever I came from, Chicago these days, I find myself missing you even more.

I’ve tried to replace you with new cities, but none of them compare to you.  You are truly one of a kind, the one that will always hold my heart.  While we’ll always be friends, I hate knowing that we’ll never be anything more ever again.  Distance will always keep us apart.  Why does it have to be that way?  Why can’t we just be together? 

Whatever the future holds, wherever I go, whomever I meet, just know that you’ll always be my first love- and maybe my only true love.  Athens, you were the best thing that ever happened to me and I will never forget you.

Love always,

Kristen

 

Song of the Moment: I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You by Colin Hay

i’ve lived those seven days a thousand times. moments, now they’re all a blur, except for every second and every word.   Leave a comment

It didn’t take long after moving to Chicago in late November 2008 that I swore I would never live here to see another winter in this city.  Brr, was that one brrrrrutal!   That was almost two years ago and the weather these past few days has indicated that my third Chicago winter is quickly approaching.  It’s funny because Stef said the same thing, and now she’s approaching her 4th? 5th? winter in The Windy City.  But it’s not winter yet, even if Mother Nature is playing tricks with us here in Chi-Town with the 48 degree morning commutes.  Seriously, do you want Stef and I to move?  Just tell us, give us wonderful jobs in new cities, higher paychecks, and we’re outta here!

I spent another enjoyable day with Stef on Sunday as we ran errands, made holiday cards for soldiers overseas, and stopped by the Halloween store for a creative brainstorming session.  The Halloween Store: The sign that Fall has arrived.  Just seeing that store made me think of the fall…which made me think of college…then Athens…and OU Halloween.  Halloween in Athens.  Maybe you’ve heard rumors and stories, but unless you’ve experienced it for yourself then you have no idea what it’s really all about.

I love the fall!  The crispy, cool (not freezing) air; Drinking hot apple cider, hot tea, coffee, and even an occasional hot chocolate; Boots, hoodies, sweaters, cardigans, and gloves; High school football games and sitting out on the bar patio with a chill in the air.  Taking long walks with all the leaves changing and falling from trees.  I love it all, especially cute little kids in adorable Halloween costumes…and pumpkin spice lattes!  Both are pretty A.MAY.ZING. and I refuse to choose one over the other- although when I see little Hazel & George in their costumes in a few weeks (!) I’m pretty sure that pumpkin spice lattes all over the world will surrender to the cuteness.

But back to Halloween and my favorite place on earth, Athens, Ohio.  As soon as I entered that Halloween store with Stef on Sunday, the aroma of nostalgia took over my whole being.  If I skipped, I’m sure I’d be skipping still.  As I looked over all the Sexy This and Slutty That costumes, I found myself falling in love all over again with Halloweens Past.  Oh Athens, I miss you.  You’ve ruined Halloween for me though because no one’s will ever compare to yours. 

Skimming through the costumes, I found myself lost in thoughts of my first Halloween in Athens.  October 2003.  Seven frickin’ years ago.  We look so young, but then again we were!  Now 3 of those girls are married and the other 3 are engaged or ‘in a relationship’ (via FB)  And the 7th girl in the picture, the girl in some white lacy thing and black top hat, yep she’s still single.  I still cannot believe I wore that! 

That was a great Halloween and my favorite in Athens, by far.  Amanda and I went as Madonna & Britney Spears, respectively, as the VMA shenanigans had just occurred a few weeks before.  Yes, there was a kiss.  A very quick, kiss that is honestly the one thing that I don’t remember from that night.  I really do remember most of the events that took place that evening- some more than others- probably because I was sober for the majority of it.  Halloween lived up to its expectations, unlike most New Year’s Eves.

If I could go back to a time in my life and start all over again, it may very well be that night.  Now there are many more reasons behind why I say this, yet none that I am going to indulge you with today.  Let’s just say that Halloween was not the only memorable day for me back in Fall 2008.  The days that followed were pretty A.MAY.ZING. too. 

It’s hard not to feel nostalgic as I feel the chill in the air or sip my hot apple cider, and, oddly enough, each slutty whatever costume leaves me reminiscent of Athens and those Halloween celebrations- especially my first.  And now that I’m living in Chicago, it’s down-right impossible for me to forget the boy in the Cubs jersey that night who leaves me wishing I could start all over again beginning with Halloween weekend, 2003.

Song of the Moment: Seven Days by Kenny Chesney

bobcats, buckeyes, and steelers…ohmy what a fantastic weekend!   2 comments

Meet my partner in crime from this past weekend: Ashley.  This photo was taken on Saturday evening, after about 10 hours of drinking (seriously) before we left to embark on a few more hours.  (Note: That plan didn’t last as long as we had planned.)  But let’s rewind a bit and go back to the beginning of this fantastic weekend in Chi-town, shall we?

To be completely honest, I was a little apprehensive about Ashley’s arrival simply because last week was jam-packed and a bit stressful.  After visiting my new, adorable Wish Kid, Liam, I high-tailed my butt to meet Ashley at the train station.  From there we were off to my apartment for a few minutes and then to Wilde’s for dinner and drinks.  And that, my friends, was the most awake downtime that Ashley and I had…well, until now. 

Playing hookie from work on Friday allowed us time to play tourists all over this town.  We started off in Wrigleyville, showing my sports fanatic friend the world-renown Wrigley Field.  Then we made a spontaneous decision to walk over to the Lincoln Park Zoo, where we spent about 2 hours wandering around the place like we were little kids again.  It was wonderful!  We saw the rhinos for little Liam.  (Note: He think they’re dinosaurs.  So cute.  And they do look like it!)  Then saw the giraffes for Alisha, the tigers fro Ashley’s twin brother, Scotty, and finally, the penguins for Ashley.  (She shared her enthusiasm for them with a 5-year old who was equally intrigued.) 

Afterwards it was time for lunch- with adult beverages of course- and then off for some more fun downtown on Michigan Ave and Navy Pier.  I have to point out that had the most peaceful moments just sitting by the lake, as we escape to the one quiet side of the pier.  We sat and talked about everything, and it may have been there that Ashley officially fell in love with Chicago.  Of course I let her enjoy it, but I also shared that this is one of those rare moments in the city.

Before we knew it, Saturday morning was upon us.  Game Time!  OU (my alma mater) was playing OSU and Ashley and I ventured over with Sarah to the OU- Chicago Chapter Alumni Association game watch.  We all know how the game went (no surprise there), but what you don’t know is how the day unfolded for these five all-day drinkers.  Now I’m going to leave out the details but let me say that it was truly a great day consisting of bar hopping, a random house party, drunk cab rides, random bar conversations, and more bar hopping.  Yep, that pretty much sums it up.  After 10+hours of drinking, we all crashed for the night in our sweatpants.  Sorry boys, we wear sweatpants & tees to bed.  And we don’t have (naked) pillow fights either. 

Sunday Funday began at 7 am for me, as I woke up in a panic realizing that I was hosting brunch in a few hours and had hardly any food in my fridge, and absolutely no coffee nor champagne & OJ (I promised mimosas).  So yeah, I woke up, showered, put on my Steelers’ gear, and headed out the store.  Three hours later I found myself amongst bowls of fresh fruit, a traveler of Starbucks coffee, pancake batter, and a Pittsburgh boy who my grandma ‘set me up (with)’ to be friends with- or so I like to believe that was her plan.

Anyways, after brunch Joe, Stef, Ashley, and I headed over the Steelers’ bar down the street to endure another bar extravaganza; however, this one was a little more tame and filled with unexpected guests.  As life would have it, Stef and I happen to see 3 Hampton alums at the bar.  I had to pause each time and remind myself that I was in Chicago; not Pittsburgh. 

Now let me say that watching the game at the bar was fun, and it was nice to see people from your hometown here in the big city.  But with this weekend’s events I was ready for some downtime, and that’s why I’m telling you that my favorite moment of yesterday afternoon was when Stef and I got some fresh air outside and sat around talking (per usual).

Now I don’t tend to come out and say this on my blog, but I really don’t affiliate myself with Pittsburgh anymore- even going as explaining that “I went to college in Ohio and lived in Columbus” first when people asked me where I come from.  But being there around other Pittsburghers, including my three friends, I felt the change within me.  For the first time in awhile, I was the one who was around people who I went to high school with.  Since transferring to OU (in 2003), I was always with those people who ran into people from their hometowns.  But now it was my turn.  I may not say this again, so I’ll say it now: It was really nice.

It was a great weekend.  It really was.  I am grateful that Ashley was here to help me get out and enjoy Chicago a little more, and for all of the friends- old and new- for doing their part as well. 

Moral of this Weekend: Life is what happens when you’re not too busy making plans.  Live your life moment-by-moment.  Live freely, spontaneously, and without fear.  Afterall, you’re only young once. ♥

Song of the Moment: Long Time Around by the Dixie Chicks

twenty-seven.   2 comments

A Birthday is the First Day of another 365 Day Journey Around the Sun: Enjoy the Trip!

On my twentieth birthday, which happened to be my first official day as an OU student, I woke up in room 232 of Dougan, opened the door, and found myself in a sea of streamers and balloons.  It was the last thing I ever expected, especially from people who I met only 1-2 days ago.  It was in that moment that I knew my birthday wish came true:  Good, Loyal, and Trustworthy Friends.

Luckily my wish came true and I got just what I wanted.  These girls in the photo: Danielle, Kat, Amanda, Ashley, and Rebecca were my Mod Mates in Dougan Hall and the first (of many) friends that I made at OU.  They were the ones that embarked on the Journey of My Twenties with me, and for that I’ll never forget them nor my 20th birthday.

You know what, that was the first birthday that I remember not wishing for a boyfriend or, at the very least, a new crush.  And you know what, it was also one of the last birthdays that I recall making a wish on at all.  (I did on my 22nd and it actually kinda-sorta came true, but that’s another story- literally.)

Anyways, today is my 27th birthday.  It’s almost over here in the Central Time Zone and I think it’s safe to say that today was a very good day.  On paper, it looks like just another work day in the life of a twentysomething (wake up- go to work- work out- veg before bedtime); however, for this birthday girl today was really special.  A day that I’ll always remember as one in which I’ve felt blessed to have such wonderful friends and family members in my life.  From simple “Happy Birthday” Facebook messages & emails; texts & phone calls; cards & gifts; birthday smoothies; spinning class companions; and supportive words from dear friends…this day was one I’ll never forget so THANK YOU to EVERYONE that made it such a memorable day for me.  Words cannot express how LOVED you’ve made me feel.

I may or may not have made a birthday wish today.  Okay I did, or perhaps it’s better to say that I was hopeful for a possible outcome today.  One that was crushed within hours of the beginning of my day.  And while the devastating news was painful, I know that I did everything I could to make it happen.  I guess it just wasn’t mean to be.  Life must have other plans in store for me.  

So today, I recall that wish I made 7 years ago on my 20th birthday in Dougan Hall.  See back then I didn’t properly acknowledge all of the details of that wish; however, today I know that there was much more to my wish for “Good, Loyal, and Trustworthy Friends”.  In part of that wish, I set out on a journey to find myself.  The good, loyal, and trustworthy friends that I wished for were requested to be support for me along my journey.  To guide me when I feel lost; to give me strength when I feel weak; to provide me comfort when I feel alone; and to love me when I fail to love myself. 

Seven years ago I found several of these good, loyal, and trustworthy friends, but in the last seven years I have been fortunate to find many more.  So today, as my 27th birthday officially ends and another 365-day journey begins/continues, I express my utmost gratitude for the people who have comforted me with their words, smiles, hugs, and love.  From the bottom of my weary yet loving heart, THANK YOU!

Life is a journey, folks.  A beautiful journey.  Never give up, and I won’t either. 

 

  The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same.

Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.

 

Song of the Moment: The Sweet Forever by Glossary

(ou) oh yeah, belgium waffle memory-inducing breakfast.   1 comment

This morning was like college at OU all over again.  I woke up groggy, with a little headache, thinking what did I do last night?  And then in class montage-fashion, the images from the night before flashed through my pre-breakfast & coffee mind: Three glasses of wine, a shot of SoC0, a creepy townie bar, and good times with my brother and his friend.  Nothing a good breakfast couldn’t cure.  I wandered upstairs to find my mom opening  up the box to her new waffle maker and immediately found myself experience flashbacks to Sunday Brunch at Nelson Dining Hall (circa 2003-04 school year) and the waffle irons that provided hangover cures for many students over the years. 

Brunch at Nelson was a staple for my OU family (Brandon, Libby, Mike, Rebecca, Phill, Amanda…) during my sophomore year.  It was no-more than a five-minute walk along the infamous catwalk from Dougan (my dorm) to Nelson and five minutes later that we would be at our table (in the back) sharing the (sometimes blurry) details of the night before.  Of all of the thousands of memories and things that I love about OU, Sunday Brunch was definitely near and dear to my heart. 

To my OU family, that has expanded over the years, I love & miss you all!!

Okay let’s rewind to present day at least for now, although I make no problems that my fingers won’t magnetically find themselves drawn to the keys typing ramblings of my past college days again. 

I am reading the novel, The Romantics by Galt Niederhoffer, before the movie comes out in a few weeks.  (Books are always better than their movies after all.)  Not only do I love the concept behind this novel, but watching the aesthetically appealing  trailer I find myself captivated by it all, especially the plotline.  A group of college friends reunite for the wedding of two of their own, and  the tagline for The Romantics reads: A romantic drama about love, destiny and other events you just can’t plan for.  Just based on that and knowing me through this blog and/or outside of it, this is most certainly a story for me.  Add in a complicated, (somewhat) realistic, love triangle between the Bride (Lila), Groom (Tom), and Maid of Honor (Laura), and ladies & gentlemen, I am in The Romantics Fan ClubIf you’re intrigued at all, take a look at the trailer for yourself: The Romantics Movie Trailer.

Let me note that I’m not too far into the novel, but this is one of my favorite lines.  And coincidentally it comes on page 51- which if you do know me, you know that this is somewhat of a significant, or better put, haunting, number for me. 

Memories of Tom looked different.  Their colors were sharper and richer, like grass after it rains.  And she had been in love enough times to rule out the possibility that this was merely some feat of nostalgia. 

My OU memories are much richer than others.  In a moment, like brought on by the mere sight of a waffle maker, I can find myself roaming the aisles of Nelson Dining Halls, trekking through the streets of Athens, or engaging in a heart-t0-heart on the porch at 3 am.

So are my memories of my ‘Tom’.  This morning I woke up with a mini-panic attack from a dream about “Tom’s” wedding, and how everyone outside the church was trying to keep me from ‘him’ and giving me those “that’s her” looks.  (Those looks that I used to get all the time in Athens during my college years and sometimes even hear whispers of “That’s Kristen”.) 

There are so many times that I tell myself (and other confidantes) that “I’d be fine if he was engaged, married, had kids.  I just want to know.  And know that he’s happy.  Then I can move on…finally.  I just need to know.”  But with last night’s dream still finding a place in my head today I cannot help but wonder if I’m just fooling myself believing those words.

With respect to The Romantics, I obviously relate Laura (Katie Holmes) and this line is another that left me thinking so at the mere glimpse of the phrase: Unfortunately, she could never share the extent of their relationship.  So she stomached the disgrace and let them think what they pleased.  They were, at least, correct in thinking that she was brokenhearted.  Only, she was not brokenhearted because the relationship had ended suddenly; she was brokenhearted because it had never truly ended. (51-52)

we were both young when i first saw you. i close my eyes and the flashback starts…   3 comments

July 18, 2003.  I’ll never forget the significance of that date, even if no one else knows of its relevance.  That was seven years ago.  Seven years.  I was a very inexperienced nineteen year old at the time, on the verge on a life-changing adventure as I attended my orientation day at OU.  I was anxious in anticipation of the fantastic college experience that I’d heard so much about.  My mom and I woke up early to drive from Hampton (Pittsburgh, PA) to Athens for a day of transfer student & parent general session meetings and scheduling.  I don’t remember much about the drive, but recall changing my shirt in the parking lot before heading to the first session.  Why did I trade in the peasant shirt for a tank top with a soccer ball & number 8 graphic on it?  To feel more like me.  The morning’s details are a little blurry, but I do remember thinking, Ohio boys are so hot as I succumbed to aphrodisiacial Athens air.  One looker after another, leaving me wondering, why wasn’t I so lucky at Kent the previous year?  Oh well, just one more reason why OU most definitely was the school for me. 

You never know the biggest day of your life is the biggest day…not until it’s happening.  You don’t recognize the biggest day of your life, not until you’re right in the middle of it.  The day you commit to something or someone.  The day you get your heartbroken.  The day you meet your soul mate.  The day you realize there’s not enough time, because you wanna live forever. Those are the biggest days.  The perfect days(Grey’s Anatomy)

 

Nelson Dining Hall was the destination of our lunch.  We almost opted to go uptown instead but figured it was better to check out the dining hall food and take advantage for a free meal.  The dining hall was crowded by the time we arrived and finally found a spot with another student and his mother.  We had a nice simple conversation with them, but soon something else caught my eye.  Or rather, someone else.  The best looking guy in a silver-grey backwards cap, I’d ever seen just a table or two away.  Note: I have a fetish for hot boys in backwards baseball caps.  I cannot explain why either. 

They say when you meet the love of your life, time stops, and that’s true.   (Big Fish)

I couldn’t take my eyes off that boy.  There was just something about him that drew me in.  Something new, exciting, and most certainly intriguing, but also something familiar.  Like I’d seen him before (but I hadn’t, or at least that I know of now).  I kept him in my peripheral vision and noticed him looking at me too.  He was my type:  The all-American, athletic, but not trendy nor preppy, look  and it fit him perfectly.  I wished that I had the confidence to smile at him or even introduce myself, but yeah, that didn’t happen. 

I saw him a little bit after lunch, somehow ending up in the same classroom for another session.  As soon as I saw him walk in my mind said, “Ohmygosh, that’s the hot boy from the dining hall.”  Again I had my eye on him and thought he may have seen me too.  The butterflies took over me and I told myself to stay calm.  Oddly enough we were  both placed in the wrong room, amongst education student with neither of us were, and after recognizing that we both ending up dismissing ourselves.  I left first, with him following me.  I wanted to wait for him out in the hall; Introduce myself; Say something cute & clever, but those dang butterflies prevented me from doing so.  Instead, I left wandering what if  for the first of many times with regards to the ‘hot boy from the dining hall”.  Before leaving that day, back to Hampton, I whispered, “I’ll see you again.”  Little did I know that I really would…again and again. 

Seven years.  Wow.  All I can do is think of the scene from The Notebook when Allie & Noah rekindle their love:

Allie: Why didn’t you write me? Why? It wasn’t over for me, I waited for you for seven years. But now it’s too late.
Young Noah: Yes… it wasn’t over, it still isn’t over [kisses Allie]

I’ll always wonder if he remembers seeing me that day too…but no matter what, I’ll never forget seeing him.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

We were both young when I first saw you.  I close my eyes and the flashback starts… (Taylor Swift, Love Story)

happiness: a right or a privilege?   Leave a comment

I can pinpoint three times in my life where I was truly happy.  The first was in 7th grade, and other than being on successful basketball and soccer teams; having hot, popular boyfriends; and enjoying the company of a surplus of good friends- or so I thought at that time- I’m not really sure what else was so wonderful about that time in my life.  But when I look back on that time, I know I was happy.

The second time in my life was when I began my sophomore year of college, or better put, my first year at OU.  Damn was I a happy girl!  A beautiful college campus, an abundance of new friends, attention from boys, and most importantly, I had the chance to start fresh.  I think you all know the rest of that story, so I’ll leave it at that.

The third time was within the first few months of living in Columbus, which can probably be calculated to fall 2007.  Yep, Buckeye season in C-bus, so how could you not be happy living in the middle of that?  Reconnecting with friends, making new ones, loving my job, and partying on the weekends was everything I always imagined it being- and much more. 

But unfortunately, each of these times in my life came to an end.  To be honest, I always knew that the bliss of Columbus would but wasn’t sure how.  I know write about this from my apartment in Chicago, over a year and a half after leaving my beloved Ohio for The Windy City.  While there have been days and even weeks of positive moments, most occurring during my days visiting friends in back in O-H-I-O or during their visits here, I write now admitting that I am not happy.  I say it again, this just isn’t me.

Earlier today I was laying out on my rooftop deck (I know, I’m lucky) and this thought came to me: Why is my happiness always temporary?  I’m not throwing a pity party here at all, but rather I find myself wondering why this is so? And what can I do to change that?  On Friday before spinning, I gave Julie a much-needed phone call.  I miss her so much!  And it was so nice to hear that she misses me too!  But even knowing that, it doesn’t make it any easier. 

Through our I miss you’s and general catching up, Julie said what she always tells me, “I can never keep up with all of your friends.  You know so many people.” 

My response, “Yeah, but they’re all back in Pittsburgh and Ohio.  I hardly know anyone here.” 

“I cannot understand how that is so,” Julie replied.

Neither can I, Juls.  Neither can I.  As I said to her, Chicago is just a whole different ballgame and I’m a whole different person- not myself at all.  Or at least I’m not myself now…but can I change that?  These past few weeks I’ve been filling my schedule with volunteer opportunities hoping that I can find myself again AND do things that are important to me.  But those are just temporary periods of happiness for me in the big city.  Everything else has me feeling like donutholes…empty.  (I learned that term on So You Think You Can Dance.)

I have another day of Make-A-Wish volunteering at the Children’s Hospital downtown ahead of me tomorrow, and on top of that, I received my first Wish Granting assignment and my Child Life hospital volunteer is this week too.  Throw in a few spin classes, all to be followed by a weekend visit by my parents and I’d be shocked if all of these don’t heighten my mood.  However, will it only be a temporary fix once again?