And So It Begins… (Part I)

The Recap: Weekend Tales, As Condensed As Possible

This past week has been utterly fulfilling/captivating/inspiring/frustrating/testing/liberating/breaking/and satisfying. My last post sounds a little dramatic for how excited I feel about life right now but the subject matter hasn’t lightened any. I haven’t had any new revelations or results (though I should know more by Wednesday), but I’m choosing to put it out of my head until I know more. Just know that my positive outlook doesn’t mean that my “dramatic moment” has all but dissipated. It just means that I’m really choosing to just focus on the positive things in my life – and I’m grateful for any prayers you may send my way. 🙂

Having addressed that, let me just say that leaving my computer home this weekend was probably one of the best things I could have done – although I did wish I had it every night to recap but it would’ve either left me dragging in the morning or cutting my nights short. THAT, my friends, would’ve been a true loss.

I came back up to Grand Rapids on Thursday after enjoying a lovely morning spent with my mother, knocked out a necessary conversation and caught up, beat a friend in putt-putt golf before spinning out on a go-kart race track, made an appearance at the annual “Trash Bash” party hosted by one of the fraternities (made up of good friends of mine), and ended the night in the duplex community where I sent my checks to all this semester to pay for my empty room. I saw a ton of familiar faces, touched base with many friends, and shook my head several times at the stereotypical “waste-cases” who were seen flaunting or stumbling from party to party. I also took some time to reflect on where I’ve been. Let’s be honest; it hasn’t been that long since I was right in the midst of the celebrations! Ahh, college life! I’m lucky to have gone to GVSU. I learned a lot from this place and I made a lot of great friends (and great mistakes! haha).

Friday began just the way I would want to begin my last day before graduation – with a few beers, close friends, a shared cigar, sunshine, and meaningful conversation (My mom is probably scoffing and ruffling her feathers at this knowledge – regretting telling her friends that I blog, but there you have it! 😉 Haha). I moved out of my duplex and moved all of my stuff into a friend’s garage before meeting up with my parents, aunt and uncle, cousin and cousin-in-law at a tapas bistro downtown. My sister came out after she got off work and my immediate family shared some dessert together on the concierge level of our hotel before I headed out with my sorority little. She, my little, and I went out for the first time in Grand Rapids together (she just turned 21) and spent a relaxing evening together at some of the tamer bars downtown. …It’s amazing how much she teaches me, even though I am supposed to mentor her; I’m fortunate to have her in my life.

Saturday morning – I graduated! I hadn’t talked to anyone about sitting next to each other so I was a little nervous about just getting thrown into line and swept up among the masses without anyone to share the experience with, so imagine my surprise when I saw one of my first and favorite friends from freshman year sporting a cap and gown! Yes! I quickly squeezed in line with him and am glad to say we cracked jokes throughout the whole ceremony. I couldn’t even tell you what the speech was about. Just the way I had imagined it 🙂 THANKS, MOM AND DAD!

After graduation, I snapped a few quick photos before walking over with my mom, dad, sister, and godparents (aunt and uncle) to Founder’s. I’m obsessed. It was the perfect afternoon. We got right in, got a table outside, shared some brews, appetizers, and sandwiches and just appreciated one another’s company. It was a little “non-traditional” to go there instead of some nice, higher-end restaurant, but I’m so glad everyone was willing to try something new. After that, my parents, godparents, and I headed down to Holland to check out the Tulip Festival. We had some photo shoots, shared a ton of laughs, and left when it started to sprinkle.

The night – ideal. I went out with my sister to Z’s and met up with some of my all-time favorite people. My parents came out! We headed over to The B.O.B and I got to introduce my parents to the people they’ve been hearing stories about for five years. I can’t describe it but it was just such a good night. Everyone was in a good mood. There wasn’t any drama. I got to catch up with friends from GVSU/former students/friends from the past/etc. I just felt like I was surrounded by amazing, caring, positive people the whole night. Who wouldn’t love that?!? 

The night ended with three of my friends walking me back to my hotel so I wouldn’t have to walk home by myself. I didn’t even having to ask them! Gentlemen. I like that they look out for me so I thanked them by bringing them to the concierge level for cookies – but the cookies were gone 😦 We caused mild trouble before calling it a night – a good wind down from the excitement of the evening!

Sunday morning came extremely early but we (family) packed up our things and headed to Mars for church. Rob spoke and, as usual, I loved the message. The whole point centered around repentance in the literal translation – seeing something in a new light/redefining your thinking/etc. Afterwards, we went out to breakfast.

Side note: Grand Rapids hosts the best breakfast joints – PERIOD. I think you may think you know of a better breakfast restaurant in particular, but Grand Rapids has to beat yours out; the entire city is populated with them. Restaurant chains, be damned – GRap offers unique cafes and restaurants on nearly every corner!

Following breakfast, (my apologies if this is starting to drag – I did a LOT this weekend and although it’s all worth mentioning, I’ve just lived it!) my family headed home and I headed back to Allendale to pick up a friend for our road trip to the east side to celebrate the birth of our mutual friend. Let me tell you – I love road trips and the insights you gain when on them. I also love spontaneous decisions, such as this was, that throw people together with not much more than an idea of how the trip will go. It holds some sort of promise that you don’t get when every detail is planned.

When we arrived, we headed out to play some disc golf. I’m terrible. Atrocious. But I gained a new disc from a new friend to use for practicing. He got it for free so he didn’t mind passing it off. It’s now spending time in my trunk so that whenever anyone wants to play, I’m ready! (That thought will lead into Part II which will follow this blog, so enough about that now). During our game, it started downpouring. Unfortunately, we did end up with one phone casualty but it was a blast to play through the storm. We came back drenched to the bone and had to scrambled around for clothes before heading to a friend’s house to watch the Red Wings game. The birthday boy’s friend provided food, a pool table, darts, and ping-pong. We also met up with some of the people we had disc’ed with earlier and were introduced to some new friends. We eventually called it a night at a decent hour (though not too soon to feel short-changed). I dare say it was one of the most enjoyable “birthday parties” I’ve been to in quite some time.

 And that was my weekend. Fast forward to now and you’ve really only missed a lunch and a road trip back in terms of location changes. But I’ve started to gather ideas for a new project – to be continued in Part II…

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