we do not stop…

 

Last month we had a little Semester at Sea reunion at the University of Virginia. To say the least, it was incredible. The drive up was so exciting, I couldn’t wait to see my sea family. We told them we wouldn’t be there until at 2am because I had a night class…but we lied. We rolled up to Caroline’s house  around 10pm and as soon as I saw Dan I put the car in park and ran outside to give him a hug. When we went inside and saw all the familiar faces that traveled the world with us we launched into a hugging parade of screaming and Americano dancing.

Jordan, coming from Minnesota, came to surprise me (everyone knew except me) but Dan, being Dan, ruined the surprise as soon as I got there. It didn’t matter, I was still so excited to see one of my favorite people in the world – Jordan Angelle. The whole gang was there – minus Morgan who’s off in Turkey “studying abroad”.

UVA is a college from the movies. Huge frat houses everywhere, parties going all night, kids running down the streets in togas… I really have never experienced this kind of college atmosphere. We went to a frat party where there was a bouncer at the door with a list. Kevin had to throw money to get us all in because we weren’t on the “list”. A party…with a “list”. What? Inside was a filthy dude house with beer cans scattered everywhere, liquor bottles in every corner and on every table, two bathtubs of beer, and it was all “help yourself”. Apparently this is a really rich fraternity and they spent nearly 1500 dollars on this ONE party. A DJ was playing in the living room with a whole light set up and stage. Later that night we went back to Claire’s sorority house where Sam, Lacey, and I were staying that night. Now, the sorority house is much different. Beautifully decorated, clean floors and carpet, no scattered beer cans. When we woke up a nice man was there making us anything we wanted for breakfast which is part of the Friday brunch deal at the house. It was crazy – they have their own cook everyday…I couldn’t believe it.

We met up with the rest of our group over at Caroline’s house and we all decided to go to her lake house in Goochland, VA that afternoon and spend the night there. The lake house would have been enough to satisfy the entire trip. Her property is huge. HUGE. The driveway took nearly fifteen minutes to drive down. At the end of the driveway were scary bear statues that would make us scream every single time we drove past them. At night it looked like people waiting to shoot us as we approached the lake. I had never been to a lake before, by the way, so seeing this lake was INCREDIBLE. So still and peaceful. It was beyond beautiful. I fell in love with lakes that day/night/morning. We unloaded the cars filled with food (we overestimated how much food be needed for sure) and alcohol and started the night. Blasting European techno songs that reminded us of our two month adventures together and singing along…it felt so good to be back with these people. We grilled out and danced and decided to swim in the lake later on that night. We rode the ATV’s and golf carts all around her property and visited the horses, dogs, chickens, and other livestock in the middle of the night. Thank God no one lives within miles and miles of her lake house because we caused quite an uproar on this farm.

I never went to sleep. I watched the sunrise over this lake and the mist sitting on top of the lake created such a peach within me I can’t describe and that’s one of the reasons I fell in love with lakes. Since everyone was fast asleep I took it upon myself to take the kayak out on the lake and explore a little at about 5am. I sailed through the thick fog and shouted nonsense just to hear the echo come back to me. I loved it. I felt alone but so relaxed and at one with the whole scene around me. There is something about the lake that really got to me. I wish I had wrote about this sooner so I could be more fresh about how it made me feel. People always say the ocean brings them so much calmness and healing but this lake, the lake was the epitome of calm.

Anyways, we all woke up, cleaned up, and went to visit Carolines pet ZEBRA that lives on the farm. Yes, she had a pet ZEBRA. It was so cool! I felt bad for him though because he had no one to play with but they may get another so he has a partner. I fished in the lake for a bit and caught some kind of small little fellow that I let go. We drove back to Charlottesville and got ready for another fun packed night – the Widespread Panic concert. We painted out faces and headed out the door to the show. We pushed out way to front and center of the stage and danced like we were in back in Montenegro all night. We begged the band to keep playing, we didn’t want the music to stop! The photographer of Widespread got a great group shot of us all during the show, it was a fantastic concert – Widespread killed it! After the show I started kicked the mess of beer cans surrounding my feet around and before I knew it I had about twenty other restless Widespread fans kicking cans with me! We had a can kicking war! Men in their 50’s were kicking cans at me and I was kicking them back. It was so much fun, it sound’s ridiculous but it was actually a ton of fun…a boy came up to me and said, “Hey, I saw you kicking cans… I wanted to meet you…”  hahaha…what a pick up line?

We left the arena and headed back to Dan’s house. It was only about 11pm so the parties were just getting started and we had already been partying all night with Widespread Panic. We hung out over at Dan’s place for awhile and then walked to Josh’s crazy frat house and sat on the roof-top balcony for awhile just talking and reminiscing about all the adventures we shared and the night so far. It’s funny how even when you’re not with certain people for a period of time – going back to see them it’s like nothing has changed and we’ve still been together the whole time. Our group of friends is just so incredible and we all wish we could just be together all the time. It makes it a lot more exciting to come back to them though after being apart. It’s also exciting calling them or getting a call randomly from one of them out of the blue. I’m the worst at talking on the phone but I’m working on it because I need to hear their voices as much as possible. It really reminds me of my Remuda girls so much and I really wish we talked like we used to. I still consider them all my sisters even if we don’t talk as much as we used to. My SAS’ers will always be my best friends too. You build great friendships when you live, breath, and travel with a certain group for so long. I love it.

The drive back was sad. Five hours of wondering where the weekend went… it went by SO fast. Kevin came all the way from Tennessee, Jordan from Minnesota, Blair and Emily from Maryland, Barrett, Carol, and Abbie from Kentucky. We don’t mess around – we’re true friends. I love these people. Love them to death!

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