I finally have a moment to update my blog! I need to get better at this because writing these tremendously long entries gets exhausting. Well, there's really no way to recap the last 3 months as they've been crazy but I'll touch on the most important moments.
First of all, I started dating someone. He's actually someone I've sort of known for a few years now and he expressed some interest in me about a year ago but, at the time, I was dating James. His name is Brandon and he's the older brother of my friend, Tiffany. Here's the story... Last March, Tiffany got married. It was a small ceremony with just family and the couple's closest friends. In May, Tiffany and Mike had a reception to celebrate with the rest of their friends who weren't able to attend the wedding. Of course, I was there and so was Brandon. I had a "date" that night but it wasn't James (well, it was a James but not the one I was currently in a relationship with). We had a nice dinner and then went back to Tiffany's parents' house to mingle. That's where I met Brandon (it was actually the 2nd or 3rd time we'd met but probably the first time we had a real conversation). He and I started talking but he was apparently under the impression that my date was my boyfriend. Nevertheless, he asked Tiffany if she thought I would be interested in dinner. Too bad I was taken. So I didn't hear or speak of Brandon until February. After James and I broke up, I was on the verge of falling asleep one night when the thought of Brandon popped into my mind. I figured he was probably dating someone at that point...after all, it had been nearly a year. But I decided to contact Tiffany anyway, just in case. As it turned out, she thought he was seeing someone. Oh well, I thought, it just wasn't meant to be. Fast forward a couple weeks later. Tiffany came home for a visit from Canada where she and her husband are now living. I'm having dinner with her and a few other Meredith girls when she brings up Brandon. Apparently, he is not only single but interested. Suddenly, I was quite giddy. At the end of the night (after a few too many adult beverages and certainly after a few too many comments about how cute Brandon is), I scribbled my number on a piece of paper for Tiffany to give to her brother. Two days later, we had a date. To make an already long story a little shorter...the date went VERY well and after several more that went very well, we decided to make it "official" (Facebook official, in fact). And there it is. Brandon has been really great for me so far. He helped me get through the last really tough months of grad school and never stopped encouraging or supporting me when I was ready to give up. Even now, I know that I can call him after a bad day and he'll make me feel better. He's always pushing me to think more positively, which is exactly what I need. He was completely cool about meeting all my friends and family (which he was pretty much forced to do during graduation weekend). He's attentive and considerate which, let's be honest, I'm not really used to. He was a pleasant surprise. :)
Secondly, I turned 24. That seems kind of strange to me. 24. Next is 25. Quarter-life crisis? I hope not. I don't know where I expected to be at 24 but it seems like just yesterday that I was turning 21...a junior at Meredith. Wow...how things have changed since then. My birthday was good. My friends and I had dinner at CPWs, a restaurant in Greenville I've been wanting to check out since I moved here but never had the opportunity. The service wasn't great and it was a little more pricey than I'd expected but the food was good and I think everyone enjoyed it. Ashley and Marty came in from Siler City, which was nice and unexpected. After dinner, most of us came back to mine and Sam's place for games, gifts, and drinks. It was low-key and relaxed. Brandon fit right in with my friends and Sara was finally able to meet some of my cohort. And not to be materialistic but...my gifts were amazing. My friends know that 3 things in this world make me very happy...cupcakes, scrapbooking, and feminism. God bless 'em.
Third, I graduated. Wait...what was that? I FREAKIN' GRADUATED FROM GRAD SCHOOL!!! It still doesn't feel real that I'm the holder of a Master's degree. Granted, I'm still trying to finish up my hours...more about that in a minute though. Graduation weekend is a bit of a blur. Friday night, we had our cohort graduation party at Winslow's Tavern in downtown Greenville. I'd never been there before so I was excited to check it out. Everyone brought their families to the party and, probably for the first time since we started school, everyone in the cohort was in attendance. Mom, Dad, Molly, and Brandon joined me for dinner. It was a really good time, actually. I was glad to finally introduce my parents to all the people I've been talking about for the last two years. And my friends could finally see where I came from. I was especially excited about giving out the gifts I made for everyone...a CD which included a song for each person as well as several "cohort" songs. That night, Molly, Brandon, and Sam's friend, Josh, stayed at our apartment. Like a bunch of old folks, we turned in early...just to rise early the next morning. Graduation day was completely chaotic. To start, everyone was trying to get ready at the same time, Sam realized there were holes in her graduation dress, she couldn't find the ingredients to make some dips for her party later, my shoes were already killing my feet, and my bra was showing...what a way to begin the day! The graduation ceremony itself was long and, as it was happening, it wasn't really sinking in. When I walked across the stage, I was so focused on not falling, stepping out of my shoes, or letting my cap fall off that I barely remember doing it. After being "hooded", I walked by all the faculty on the way back to my seat and hugged all the MFT professors, along with a few CDFR professors like Priti, Dr. Sira, and Dr. T. Poor Damon was crying...we were his first graduating class. I'm quite surprised that I didn't cry. After such a long and trying journey, I thought I would be emotional upon it coming to an end. But I wasn't. Honestly, I think my favorite part of the whole ceremony was finding my family, Molly, and Brandon amongst the crowd, waving at them, and seeing the proud looks on their faces.
After graduation, it was time to head to the clinic for a group picture, as is tradition. I was already beginning to get stressed out. Graduation ran over time, traffic was awful, and I could see that we weren't going to make our 12:00 lunch reservation. And did I mention it was HOT? Fortunately, we finally made it to the clinic and were able to push lunch back a bit. Many, MANY pictures later, we were headed to Chico's for lunch, where we met up with Leah. I'm glad she was able to meet my family and they were able to meet her. She's been a big part of my life over the last year. Lunch went well...even Dad and Grandma didn't complain too much about the food...and I had a large celebratory strawberry margarita, which was delicious and served to calm my nerves. :)
When lunch was over, it was time for Trish, Robbie, Grandma, and Brandon to head out. Mom and Dad accompanied me to Garner where Jamie's family was throwing her a graduation party. Some of my cohort was there as well. We didn't stay too long because, at that point, we were exhausted, but the festivities included food, cake, and a pinata...always a recipe for fun. Mom and Dad dropped me off at Meredith, where I'd be staying with Molly for the night, and went home. Sitting in my car, waiting for Molly to return, I made the mistake of listening to the CD I made for my cohort. I was barely through Sam's song when I started crying. My exhaustion coupled with the epicness of the day...I just couldn't take it. I began reflecting on the last two years and just felt really sad...probably for the first time...that they were over. It was my cohort I was mostly thinking about. I'm truly going to miss seeing these people. One day, you're together for 12 out of 24 hours and the next, you're not seeing each other at all. It's just weird.
And so, that's pretty much where I am now. Graduated but still finishing my hours and searching for a job, like probably half the country. My hours are coming along slowly...I'm in the final stretch and, some days, I feel like I'm never going to finish but, as Brandon tells me, I can't give up because I WILL make it eventually. And some SERIOUS celebrating will be in order when that happens. Until then, I'm just trying to enjoy the additional free time I have since I'm no longer in class. I've started a new scrapbook spanning the last two years and I'm VERY excited about that. I love having a project to work on. I also have more time to visit Brandon, who is now living in Wilmington. And I can do things on the weekends without feeling guilty or rushing back to Greenville because I have a ton of work to do.
With grad school finished, I'm wondering what the next chapter of my life will hold. I'm both nervous and excited to find out.