It started out innocently enough. About three weeks ago, just before I was about to embark on my week of spring break craziness, my little invited me over for a nice dinner at her parents’ house. She informed me that a couple her parents were friends with, and whom I’d met before at a previous dinner, would be there. It seemed like a nice, relaxing evening — the perfect “calm before the storm” that would be my week in San Diego.
Boy, was I wrong.
On the evening in question, I joined my little, her parents, and family friends for a truly lovely dinner over a few glasses of red wine and champagne. Who could complain, honestly? And as pre-dinner cocktail hour, game hour, dinner hour, and post-dinner cocktail hour came and went, the family friends realized it was time to head home. The rest of us, however, were just warming up — my little’s parents included. So we did what any normal, fun-loving people would do: we invited more guests over.
Unfortunately for my little’s parents, that particular evening was a Sunday, meaning most of the working adult world had to get up and go to work the next morning. In other words, none of them were down for a little late-night Sunday Funday. Luckily, my little and I knew of a ragtag bunch of college students who were.
See, at this point in the semester , several of our friends had already departed for their own spring break excursions, and those of left in our college town formed a makeshift crew of misfits, dubbed the “Reno Spring Break Crew.” Side note: I was swiftly kicked out of this group text the moment I boarded my plane for San Diego.
Fast forward to the crew arriving. We showered them with the leftovers of the evening’s preceding events — remnants of food, wine, and dessert to catch them up to speed. Those of us who had been there the entire time (Ahem, yours truly) continued at the pace we had been all evening. Needless to say, things got out of hand pretty quickly.
Before we knew it, someone spilled red wine over a white table cloth, and my little’s dad got it in his head that he could complete that trick where one pulls a tablecloth off a table in one swift motion, as to leave the table setting completely intact. The first try wasn’t all that successful, nor was the second, or fourth, or tenth. By about his thirtieth attempt, however, my little’s dad was getting the hang out the maneuver, and by about his eightieth time, he had all but mastered it.
This continued for hours, and none of us grew tired of it. (Okay, maybe my little’s mom was slightly wary at first, but even she joined in the fun.)
By the end of the evening, we were sitting around the bar in their home, sampling shots of expensive foreign liquors, pretending to be interested in the “bouquet of flavors,” or whatever. The evening was perfect.
Fast forward to yesterday, Easter Sunday — exactly three weeks after the previously recounted evening. The same group of friends (plus those of us who had since returned from spring break), gathered at our friend, Taylor’s house for a day of brews, brunch, and bunnies.
After our Easter services ended, we all slowly began to trickle into Taylor’s — bringing with us an assortment of brunch foods, desserts, and drinks. We spent all day laughing, playing games, and enjoying the splendor of togetherness. As the day went on, as they all do, the crowd whittled away. By about 5 p.m., what was left was a core group of eight best friends (many of the same ones from the first evening), who spent the next seven hours bonding together.
Until about midnight, the eight of us sat around Taylor’s outdoor fireplace, reliving cherished shared memories, making plans for the summer, laughing together, and talking about the future. We shared blankets in the cold, downed a few beers, ate far too much food, acted silly at times, and grew closer than ever.
Those are the kinds of evening you can never replace, and you will never forget. Those are the types of evenings you can’t get from going to a bar or a nightclub. Not that I have anything against bars or nightclubs, but they can never produce the types of memories, love, and friendships that our friends made yesterday.
As my time in college winds down, I’ve realized that it’s not the college bars or the massive parties that I’ll miss. What I’ll truly miss are the irreplaceable nights with the people I’ve grown so close to. They say you can’t choose your family, but I know the friends that I’ve made in college are just that — my family. The core eight of us rely on each other on a daily basis, and operate as one. We believe in each other, support each other, and spend as much time as possible together, even if it means doing nothing for hours.
For anyone who thinks that people see college as the best years of their lives because of downtown nightlife, I urge you to reconsider your friends. Are they people you only drink with, or can you actually talk to them about real problems? Do you only see them on Friday and Saturday nights, or do you study together during the week? If, by the time you graduate, you don’t find yourself surrounded by a group of incredible, loving, fun people, then you haven’t taken advantage of what college has to offer.
To me, a home is only a home because of the people there. That’s why it was so hard for me to leave my parents’ home, because everyone I loved was there. Now, as I get ready to leave my college town — my other home — I find it difficult because it means leaving my other family behind. I’d give anything for another day like yesterday.
What does home mean to you? Tell me on Twitter and I might retweet you!