A week and a half ago was my 5 year college reunion at Taylor University. For months I contemplated whether or not I should go. I hadn’t been back since graduating and I wanted to see people, but the thought of traveling 11 hours each way sounded daunting. About a week before homecoming, I found out two of my roommates were going and at that point I couldn’t not go.
This summer when I read Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist, she emphasized the importance of friendship. She said, “Get up, make a phone call, buy a cheap ticket, open your front door. Because there really is nothing like good friends, like the sound of their laughter and the tones of their voices and the things they teach us in the quietest, smallest moments.” It gave me motivation to make more of an effort to see my friends, regardless of the time and money involved, and this was the perfect opportunity to make it happen.
So a week before homecoming I presented this idea to Chris and he was not so excited about driving 22 hours in 3 days, but eventually gave in as he saw how important is was for me to see my friends (and in the end he got to see his friends too). I also wanted him to get to know my friends as well as see where I went to school.
So on a Friday after work we made the 8 hour drive to Columbus, Ohio to stay with my roommate Megumi and her husband Ben. Saturday morning we got up and made the 3 hour drive to Taylor. When we got there we registered and then headed over to the alumni lunch. Everyone was in one big tent, but there were different sections for each reunion class. We got over to our section and only saw a few people. We thought it was early and that more people might show up, but then we started realizing that not many people would be coming, which really bummed me out. Part of the reason I wanted to go back was to see a bunch of people, but that didn’t happen. I get it. A lot of people just had babies, they live far away, they had plans that weekend, or they didn’t come because the weather was crappy that day. It’s the realization that what we had in college will never happen again, even though you hope for the reunions to be a little reminder of what we had in college. While I was disappointed, I had to remind myself that the main reason I went was to spend time with my best friends.
After lunch we walked around campus so Megumi could see one of her professors. There we met up with Brook and Eric, which was great to have a few minutes to chat just the four of us (while Gumi and Ben chatted with her prof) since Chris and Eric had never met. Then we all headed over to the football game. We stayed for about 15 minutes and then watched the halftime performance by the dance team, which they did not have when we were there (hence why we wanted to stay and see what it was all about).
After sitting on blankets on wet benches and still getting our pants soaked (it looked like we peed our pants), we decided to leave the game and walk around campus. We cut through the Dining Commons to get out of the rain and to peek at the changes when we ran into some friends from 3rd West. It so was fun to actually see people we hung out with in college and catch up with them for a few minutes. Then we headed over to see the new dorm, which has this crazy bridge-waterfall action going on. So cool! Then we headed over to our dorm, Olson Hall, to have a look around. It’s funny to walk through the dorms and realize how gross they actually are, with garage and unwashed dishes out in the hallway. I’m sure we were like that too and didn’t notice because it was normal then, but going back now it’s gross. It was also interesting to walk down our old hall and see almost all the doors closed. In college we just left our doors open, even sometimes when we went to class, because it allowed for more socializing. Maybe that is still normal on weekdays or on other weekends besides Homecoming, but it just felt weird.
After we headed over to the new science building, which was amazing! It was massive and beautiful. We went into some of the classrooms and just sat and talked in the comfy chairs, eating the snacks left in there from a meeting earlier in the day. After leaving the science building we drove past our house senior year, which is now a parking lot to a new apartment building (sad), and then headed over to Ivanhoe’s, the local hangout with awesome ice cream! While the salad I always got wasn’t as good as I remembered (I play things up way too much in my head) the ice cream was still amazing!
After Ivanhoe’s, we dropped Chris back off at Taylor because his college friends were coming to pick him up. I’m glad he got to spend some time with his friends, but it stunk for me because I had to drive 8 hours home by myself (but I did it! It was the longest I’ve ever driven alone). Of course the boys where so late that we got all the way back to Columbus before they got to Taylor. Yes, that is three hours late.
So overall it was a great time with my friends, but a little disappointing on the reunion end of things. It’s hard to reunite with people when they don’t show up, but it was still fun to see the changes on campus and show Chris around my old stomping grounds. Plus, this trip opened up the discussion of doing another trip for New Year’s, so yay to more friend time. We are even Skyping tonight to figure out the details 🙂