Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Weekend for the Books

As I told you all last week, I was spending my third-consecutive weekend in Manhattan, Kan., for my sorority chapter's 100th anniversary. I was lucky enough to pledge the Gamma Alpha chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma in August of 2001 and I'm so glad that I made the correct decision 15 years ago!

My best friend, Jenna, who I grew up with in Sedan, also randomly lives in Bentonville and ALSO pledged Kappa at K-State, so we made the trek to Sedan on Friday to drop off her kids with her parents and then drove on to Manhattan. I think it's the longest we've spent talking since we were in college. And it was wonderful. This girl knows me probably better than anyone (yes, even better than my husband -- I still hear myself telling Jenna "Can you believe he did that? Does he not know me after 16 years? YOU would know that!"). So it was great to have that time to just talk without the interruption of our beautiful children. :)

Our first weekend event was a a group gathering of our pledge class in Aggieville - a six square block area filled with bars and restaurants and shops and a very popular spot in Manhattan! There were about 18 of us and we spent three hours eating, drinking, laughing and YELLING at each other from across the table because when you are in Aggieville, that's what you do - there are SO many people, and the music is so loud that you have to scream to talk!

That statement ages me because yes, it was annoying! 

But it was the best time catching up with everyone - lots of hugging, lots of sharing of life stories (sometimes too much sharing, but for my friends, that is how we roll), lots of picture taking!

On Saturday, there was a luncheon, tours of the newly-renovated Kappa house and of the football stadium, then a break before drinks and appetizers at the Flint Hills Discovery Center.

When Jenna and I arrived at the luncheon, we walked in and probably almost turned around out of sheer terror. There. Were. So. Many. Women. We had been told that were more than 700 Gamma Alpha's coming to this event. 700 is a big number. It's even bigger when you walk into a small hotel area that is trying to register all 700 women, sell 700 women Kappa gear, and keep 700 women out of the ballroom that has breathable air and space, but that hadn't been fully setup for the luncheon.

Once we finally made it into the luncheon and everything got going (definitely later than planned), the program got started and they eventually got to this amazing video they had created for the 100th with women from each decade speaking in it. The first view is of the Kappa house -- 517 Fairchild Terrace -- and this is where my crying began.

I'm a crier.

It sucks.

But I'm such a mental reminiscer - I am flooded with memories as the pictures of the chapter house appear and am just so thankful for it all.

We made it through the luncheon, sang songs, gave a good cheer for our sister, Amelia, who gave an amazing speech and then promptly broke the rules as we all hopped in a car - not the designated tour bus we were suppose to get on - to drive to the Kappa house for a tour.

We pull up to the house and these poor, adorable Actives were standing on the brick wall singing Kappa songs as we all walked in. I mean, I just wanted to hug them all and say "You are precious, thank you for doing this, but stop -- go buy a pop and take a load off!"

I remember attending events like this when I was an Active and how BORING it was and how I didn't understand why these old women were ruining my Saturday. I now am one of those old women and I can tell you I'm way more appreciative now! 

The house was recently renovated and even though I got to take a tour last year, it was 10 million more times to go through it with a large group of us - so much laughter, and reminiscing, and trying to remember who the heck I lived with in this one room. We were probably the most annoying group because we stopped many, many times to take pictures, but it was so worth it!

My pledge class with the room that we all pitched in and "bought" when the house was being renovated!

We all parted ways post-house and met back up again for dinner, followed by drinks and just more chatting at the Flint Hills Discovery Center, where the 85 degree day was halted by a nice cold front that swept through to make it feel more like the end of October. Though we were all dressed for June since it had been so warm!
Jenna and I all cleaned up!
I know I have blogged about these women before. And you probably won't hear my babble about this crew together again for awhile (hopefully not 'five years awhile'), but can I just say... God knew what he was doing when he had me walk through those Kappa doors in mid-August on Pref Night.

It had been a rough evening for me as I had a nice little car wreck in the middle of Pref Night so I missed half of my mom's sorority (Alpha Xi - they were beyond kind to me and if I had not went to Kappa after them, I probably would have went that direction - so sorry, mom!). But my last house of the day was Kappa.

And I don't think it's a coincidence.

When I walked in those doors, it felt like home. And 15 years later, nothing has changed! The house has been updated, the furniture is new, the composite pictures have moved... but nothing has really changed.

The feeling I get when I walk through is exactly the same!

The laughter I hear, which I heard ALL the time, is still the same!

It even smells the same, if you can believe that!

I'm just incredibly grateful and though I might have been annoyed with those 'old women' when I had to sit through these very long luncheons as an active, I now have a better understanding of why they all came back for events like this.

To celebrate something that we all have in common and will have in common for all of our lives. 


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