I Love Christmas!

Who doesn't love Christmas?! As the song goes, "It's the most wonderful time of the year." Christmas is obviously great. I may be biased, but personally I think it's especially great at my house! Our family traditions are what makes Christmas extra special and extra great in our house. Every year, I look forward to the same things and I know they will still be the same the next year and the next!

It kind of looks like it's snowing outside, but I promise there was no white Christmas in Dallas!
Our traditions start, of course, on Christmas Eve!
Every year, after we go to mass, as soon as we come home we get our "Christmas jammies"! This is so exciting to put on our jammies while we wait for dinner and we wake up ready for Santa in the morning dressed in our Christmas jammies! My sister and I usually match, too, which is fun and a flashback of our younger years when we usually matched!
I know it's blurry, but it's the only picture we have of our pj's! I wanted one of us in them, but it didn't happen.
Our dinner Christmas Eve is also one of my favorite traditions, as it is also one of the most delicious! We have home made, green pasta with salmon and tomato sauce; it's red and green so it's festive and it is seriously so, so good! Definitely one of my favorite meals of all time. (Sadly, no picture of this. I was too busy eating to remember to take a picture!)

Then, Christmas Eve night my sister and I usually spend the night together so we can wake up in the morning and see what "Santa" left. This year was sadly the first year we didn't do that, but I did wake up her in time to go open presents! We are instructed what time we can get up (it gets later every year as we get older, this year it was no earlier than 10 which was fine by us!), and we call our parents when we're ready. We wait at the top of the stairs for the "ok" to come down! We see what Santa left first and then we open the rest of the presents!
This is me, checking out what I got! haha
The aftermath of present opening! We pretty much destroyed our living room.

The rest of the day is my favorite way to spend Christmas; doing absolutely nothing. If we change out of our pajamas, the day is a fail. We stay in our pajamas all day long, and just relax! It's greatness.
This is what I was doing all day; laying on the couch with my laptop of course in my jammies!

My dad cooks another amazing dinner Christmas night; Beef Wellington and for dessert, Chocolate souffle. I don't even really like beef, but this is amazing. It is beef filled with puff pastry and just so, so yummy! We only eat this like once or twice a year, so it's really special!

That concludes the Basso family Christmas traditions! I hold these traditions so close, and I think it's something that we all look forward to! I hope that these traditions can live on through the years and maybe one day my sister and I will share these with our families! Merry Christmas to you all, I hope your day was wonderful!

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Write it down – to get it done (2011 edition)

As you may or may not know, I am a member of a fabulous blogger community, 20 something bloggers. They are hosting a blog swap for all their members, and today's post comes from my partner Annelie. She describes herself on her 20sb profile as "A very passionate and friendly Swede who enjoys traveling, studying, dancing and of course blogging!" Be sure to check out my post at her place, too!

Most things that you put off are ideas that never get started on. But many times we put of finishing stuff that we already begun with, maybe just before the finish line. We call this procrastinating. Why do we do this? We have many reasons: we find the thing we should do boring, or time-consuming, maybe it was not what we expected when we started, don’t see the point of doing it or simply; other things came in the way.

Sometimes it is not even necessary to complete the things we have started, but I think that most of the time we feel better when we complete what we started. It makes us feel that we accomplished something and often it can lead to something better.

Earlier this week I wrote a post named “Write it down and get focused” where I simply shared a story about how I last spring blogged about something I wanted to do and by the end of the year I was doing it. Hopefully, what I will share here will have the same effect.

In 2011 I aim to do the following things that I’ve put off for too long:

1. I will finish by bachelor degrees
I’ve been studying more or less for the last 4 years but still not finished my degrees. I do have a diploma in mass communications but other than that I don’t have a degree yet. This is due to lots of reasons: uncertainties of what to study, time abroad, work, you name it. Now I’m so close to the finish line and 2011 it will happen!

2. I will start an IT-development-project
This is something I’ve been thinking about many times as the ideas emerged, but I’ve always found an excuse to not do it: time, skills etc. But as of Monday this week I’m collecting a team to try it out, and in 2011 it’s happening.

3. I will write at least 100 blog posts
My first year blogging about a school-related subject I produced almost as many posts as I anticipated. The second I did not set a goal, which made me sloppy. Next year is my third year, I this time I will make it. Third time’s a charm!

Goals should be smart; specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. I think mine are, do you? What will you accomplish in 2011 that you’ve been putting off?

(Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lumaxart/2137729748/)

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Hard Times

I haven't even been home for a week, and already it's hard. For many reasons, in real life home is never quite the glamorized version I have in my head. It's not as fun as I imagine, it's not as happy, it's not a lot of things.

I used to know what to expect when coming home. It used to be always pretty much the same. But for the past year, it's been different. Now when I come home, I don't know what to expect, don't know what it will be like. I don't know how my sister will be feeling, I don't know if she'll be home or in the hospital, I don't know a lot of things. In a lot of ways, this is hard because I like to know things ahead of time. I like being prepared.

Since I've been home, I have been struggling. Struggling with balancing my feelings with everyone elses, struggling with where I fit in when I'm home, struggling to feel happy. And that sucks. When I'm home, I want to be happy. I want to enjoy my time with them because I know when I'm gone I'll miss them. But it's not always easy. It's especially hard lately because my sister has been really sick and that requires a lot of attention from everyone else. My mom's main priority is taking care of her (as it should be), and even though I am ashamed to admit it, a lot of times it leaves me feeling left in the dust.

I am 21 years old, and I can clearly take care of myself. I don't need or require 24/7 attention from my parents, but sometimes you still like a reminder that people are happy to see you. That they are happy you're home. That they care about you just as much as your sister even though her needs come before yours. Logically, I know all of this is true. And I am mad at myself for thinking otherwise. But my emotional side gets the best of me, my feelings get hurt and I become someone I'm not proud of. I am angry, withdrawn, and sad. And most of all, selfish. I try so hard to let my own selfish feelings go, to let the logical side of me take over and remind me that I am loved and I'm not ignored. I try so hard to remember that the reason that my sister is getting all the attention is because she needs it. And I should consider myself lucky that I don't require that kind of attention because I know she is suffering.

But I am only human, and sometimes my emotions get the best of me. I know we are all dealing with a lot and we all have our crosses to bear. Coming home just brings up a lot of different emotions that I am not used to dealing with, and that is why I am struggling. I know it will get easier as time goes on. I know that it won't be like this forever. But the more I feel sad, the more angry I feel because I know I am being selfish. Because I am not the one with cancer and my attention complexes are hardly a problem in comparison. I wish I was a better person; one who was stronger and could handle being "ignored" for a few days; one who cared more about my sister and her struggles than my own selfish needs; one who said "What can I do?" instead of saying "What about me?". I am going to work to be this person. It's not going to be easy, but my family has enough to deal with, and the last thing they need is me acting like I'm 1 instead of 21.

So, these last couple days may have been rough, but I am learning. Learning to let go, to not be so selfish, and learning how to be a better person. I can't help the way I feel, but I can help what I do about it. I have to stop pouting and grow up. It's time. Hard times are on their way out...

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The Best Things In Life Are Free...

En route to Dallas today to go home for the holiday's, I learned a couple lessons. First of all, traveling is not cheap. Here's my breakdown for the day:

Lunch on the way to the airport: $7
Earphones for plane: $20
Gas money for my fabulous sorority little sis who drove me to the airport: $10
Starbucks (very necessary part of my travel experience!): $5
Magazines: $10
Dinner: $10
Beer (check that off the list of things I've wanted to do as a 21 year old citizen- have a beer at the airport!): $6
Plane ticket (ok I didn't actually pay for this myself, but I figured I may as well include it): $100+

Finally being home and getting to spend the holidays with my family: Priceless

Second lesson of the day? The best things in life are free, as they say, and being home with my family for Christmas is definitely worth any amount of money! Free? Maybe not so much, but priceless.. for sure!

p.s. Sorry for being a total absentee blogger as of late. It's been a combination of not really knowing how to follow up my last post and writer's block. I hope that this will launch my comeback! Hopefully some of you are still around to read what I have to say!

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So Close, Yet So Far

A year and 10 days ago today was when my family recieved the worst kind of news; that something serious was going on with my sister. Just a couple weeks after that, we received more bad news; that it was cancer.

10 days from now, I was planning on celebrating (and by celebrating I mean blogging about) how far we've come in a year. How last year at this time, we weren't sure what the future held. How last year during the holidays, they were bitter sweet. And now, we could put this all behind us. We could truly enjoy our holidays knowing Anna is healthy. We could celebrate the miracle God has given us.

That was the plan... until today. Last week, it was decided that one more test needed to be run before Anna's port could come out. Her scans were clear, but they decided they should check her bone marrow before taking out the port as one last precaution. Today, we found out her bone marrow showed cancer cells were still present. Which means more treatment, more unknown, more fighting, and more praying.

No one, not even her doctors expected this to be the result. We were taken aback and obviously very sad. We had come so far, we thought we had it beat. Now, we start over again. Back to square 1.

My emotions and thoughts have been all over the place today. The main thing I keep thinking is I can't believe we're back here. It was all too familiar: the sad phone calls from my parents, the promises to keep me updated, the feeling of not knowing what's going to happen next, the treatment options, all of it. All of it felt exactly as it did almost a year ago. This year was supposed to be different. This year we were supposed to have celebrations and be thankful for Anna's health. I am so disappointed, scared, and just so sad. Sad for her because she is 17 and a senior in high school. Her biggest worries should be where she is going to college, not trying to beat cancer. This is such an exciting time in her life, and I want her to enjoy that, instead she has a huge burden like cancer weighing down on her. 

Most of all, I hate being away. I am thousands of miles away and all I want to do is give my sister a hug and tell her "it will be ok" "we will get through this" and so much more. I want to be with my family who understands more than anything what I am going through, because they are going through it too. I have a great support system here; my friends and sorority sisters are amazing and supportive of not only me but also of Anna, and that is all I could ask for. But it's not the same. It's not the same as being with my family. It's not the  same as being home. And as much as my friends/ sorority sisters care and understand what I'm going through, their lives move on. They are ok. That's not to say my family is not ok, but it effects family differently than it does friends and close family friends. 

As ridiculous as it is, there is a part of me that feels guilty. Guilty for sometimes ignoring the calendar reminder that goes off every day at 12:12 to pray. Guilty for taking for granted her renewed health and not continuing to pray for continued health. Guilty because I can't do anything to make her better. My Aunt/Godmother and I exchanged messages over Facebook tonight, and she summed it up best "it is so frustrating not being able to do anything." It really is....

As much sadness and unhappiness I am feeling right now, I am also grateful. Which is a crazy thing to feel right now, but thank God we ran this test. Thank God we know that there are cancer cells present which could spread and cause irreversible damage. Thank God we can treat this, that there are options. I am so grateful that even though it sucks she has to go through more treatment, that there is treatment. That she can (and will) still beat this. This is not the end. It is just another beginning, and as much as that sucks, I would rather it be the beginning a thousand times than the end even once. My sister has proven she is a fighter and will continue to fight. This is just another bump in the road. 

What hurts the most is that we were so close to the end, but now it seems as though we are so far. It is long from the end, because we are not giving up. Anna will fight until there is no fight left because she has conquered every battle. I know that. But I would just like to fast forward to that part. 

A friend of hers posted this verse on her wall, and I thought it summed everything up perfectly "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." This should be Anna's motto. We know God is giving her the strength to get through this, and the rest of us strength to get through this. 

Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers. My family & I definitely appreciate it! 

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It's My Birthday, and I'll ramble if I want to!

So, I am a couple days late doing this, but I was a little busy drinking celebrating this weekend. Saturday was my 21st birthday, and I am super excited about this! I had a great weekend celebrating with great friends and I am so happy to be 21!! (So happy, in fact, that I haven't quite comprehended how old I am now. I am focusing on the exciting parts of being 21! lol) So, for my birthday post I have compiled a list of 21 random things about being 21!! (Did I mention I turned 21 enough times?)

First of all, I got a "Happy 21st Birthday" card from Student Life at my University with "21 ways to celebrate your 21st birthday. Here are some of the ways they listed that particularly amused me:

  1. Strive to say "meow" 21 times in one conversation 
  2. Go get line dancing lessons 
  3. Take a shot of 21 flavors of Kool-Aid 
  4. Take 21 shots of water 
  5. Buy 21 lottery tickets 
  6. Go bowling and try to get a score of 21 
  7. Walk for 21 miles with a group at the park 
While these are all crazy unique, they are not exactly how I chose to spend my birthday!
Also, being that 21 is a big birthday, it came with a lot of unsolicited advice/ interesting comments regarding my birthday. Here are some of the best one's to continue the list:
  1. Don't go to the hospital 
  2. I knew someone who (insert crazy story here) on their 21st birthday. Don't do that. 
  3. Wow, Halloween and your 21st birthday on the same weekend? I hope you survive. 
  4. Have fun... but not too much fun. 
  5. Have a memorable birthday. In other words, remember it! 
  6. Be safe (I got this like 100 times. I guess people were concerned...)
  7. (The next day) I'm glad you survived your 1st night as a 21 year old! 
And, finally to round up the list, I have compiled some random thoughts about being 21, why I'm excited to be 21, etc. 
  1. If I so happen to go out and enjoy a couple of beverages on a school night, it's nice that now I don't have to worry about the big black "X"'s on my hands, so my professors won't know I went out the night before. 
  2. On that note, there is nothing worse than walking into the bar and having the bouncer yell "minor". It just makes you feel so horrible about being a minor! Thank goodness I am not one of those anymore!
  3. It is really unfortunate that I got my driver's license picture redone this summer... and it was hideous. Now, I have to show my ID all the time and everyone is going to see the most unattractive picture of me ever!
  4. Peer pressure sucks. Especially when it's your 21st birthday and everyone thinks you need to take a lot of shots. Don't do it. Not that I did, I'm just saying. 
  5. I feel like 21 is going to be expensive. I already have a list of places I want to go, things I want to do now that I am 21. They all cost money. 
  6. 21 makes me feel old. Which I can't decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I mean it's good that I'm getting older and growing up, but holy crap where did the time go?!
  7. This age opens up so many new windows and so many new places to explore, that I am super excited! I can't wait to go to the bars I couldn't go to before, to drink where I couldn't before. It's like a whole new world! 
So, there you have it! Everything about being 21 compiled into one post! And just for fun, here is a picture of me with my 1st 2 legal drinks! A margarita and a birthday shot at the local mexican restaurant!  (They give you a sombrero with the birthday shot and sing to you! haha It's really exciting!)

Don't I look happy?! haha! Also, I love comments so feel free to leave one saying Happy Birthday! ;)

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Catching Up

It's been forever and a day since I posted, I know. I have really missed posting. I just haven't had time to post and when I do have time, I have nothing to say.

I still don't really have much to say, but I felt like I needed to let you guys know you can call off the missing persons search; I'm ok, I've just been majorly neglecting my blog. So here's what's been going on:
  • I went home for the first time this semester last weekend (the 8th and 9th, not this past weekend). It was a short but sweet visit. I had lunch Friday with some women I work with over the summer. It was so good catching up with them!
  • Team Anna! How amazing is it all these people came out to support the team!?
  • Saturday was the Red Balloon Event for Children's Hospital where my sister was treated. My mom decided to start a "Team Anna" and we raised over $8000! It was so much fun and so amazing to see how many people came out to support Anna. It continually blows me away how much love and support we have received over the last year. I was so glad to be there to support team Anna!

  • That night, I went out to dinner with my parents for sushi, yum! It was so nice to just sit and catch up with them! Then we went to the Carrie Underwood/Billy Currington concert. Oh my gosh I can't say enough about how awesome that concert was. Carrie Underwood is so talented and I love Billy Currington, too! I was so happy I got to go! Unfortunately, the only pictures I have are kind of crappy because it is a picture of the projector screen, because although we have box seats which are amaizng they are not all that close and I didn't have my camera so this was the best I could do.

  • It was really hard to leave home and I literally cried off and on the entire day Sunday after I left. Eventually I was glad to get back and even though I still miss my family, I still love my home away from home.

  • Speaking of my home away from home at the Alpha Chi house, I have a little Sis now!!! (For those of you that don't speak Greek, when you're a new member of a sorority, you pick a "big sis", someone who will be your role model, helper, mentor, etc. for the next few years). It has been something I've always wanted since joining. She is so awesome and I am so happy to have her as my little!

  • To update about my sister, she is feeling great, looking great, and doing really well! She is scheduled for her next scans after 3 months of no chemo in about a week. Prayers are much appreciated as obviously we need good news! If her scans are clear, they will remove her port and she can go back to being even more normal!

  • Also, exciting event coming up: In 11 days, I will be 21!!! I am so excited! I can't wait to celebrate with my friends and have my first legal drink!
There's really not much else to report. I feel like this post was kind of a dud, but I felt like I should update. I promise to come up with something better really soon! Thanks for sticking around in my absence, I hope some of you are still out there!

(p.s. sorry the formatting/pictures are all over the place. Blogger did not want to cooperate. Blogger... we're fighting. Thanks for making my post look crappy.)

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Writer's Workshop: Life's Unexpected Lessons

When I was younger, I loved the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I loved reading stories written by other people close to my age, and reading about other people's life experiences. Some happy, some sad, some in between. I never finished the whole book, though, because there was a chapter I always skipped. It was "On Death & Dying". A couple of times I tried to read through a few stories in that chapter, and I couldn't do it. I couldn't comprehend what it would feel like to lose someone close to you. I didn't want to think about depressing things like cancer, or tragic accidents, or death in general. Little did I know that this ignorance wouldn't last forever. Unfortunately, you can't skip over the "death and dying" chapter in your own life story.

A few weeks ago, a sorority sister of mine passed away unexpectedly. She was a new member, a freshman on campus this year, so I only knew her for about 2 weeks. She was sick; she had been fighting Scleroderma for several years, but was finally healthy enough to come to college; her biggest wish. She was the sister of a good friend of mine's (also a sorority sister) boyfriend who is also a friend of mine, so I had met her once before she came to school here. We all knew she was sick; it was discussed when we were deciding whether or not she would be a member of this house, but she didn't let that define her, so neither did we.

One night, she was having trouble breathing and feeling weak, so she asked her brother to take her to the hospital. It was not unusual for her to have to check into the hospital and get fluids and assistance breathing, so we didn't realize how serious it was when we heard. Early the next morning, she passed away.

The next day, we were all woken up really early in the morning and told to go to the basement. It was there we were told she had passed away. Obviously, we were all sad. Although we had only known her for a short time, she was one of our sisters, and that is an instant bond. I was sad for my friend who was so close with her. I was sad for her brother who is one of the nicest guys I've ever met and would do anything for his sister. Sad for their family. But, I didn't cry. I had only known her for a short time, so it was hard for me to mourn someone I felt like I barely knew.

Later in the week was the visitation, and then the funeral. It was decided that we would sing at her visitation one of our sorority songs in honor of her. I really wanted to be a part of this, so I decided to ride down to St. Louis with a couple sisters and attend the visitation. I have been fortunate enough to not have experienced many visitations before; I've been to maybe two in my 20 years of life, for my great-grandparents, so I didn't really know what to expect. When I walked into the room, there were pictures of Lyndsey everywhere, there were people standing in line to pay their respects to her body, and the open cascet.

All of the sudden, it hit me. I felt an overwhelming sadness, and I could not stop thinking this could easily be my sister. As I watched Lyndsey's friends hug Ryan, her brother, and cry, I suddenly saw myself in his shoes. I imagined Anna's friends paying their respects to her, heartbroken. I couldn't breathe. A year ago, a funeral or a  visitation would have never affected me this way. But in November of last year, everything changed because my sister was sick. And after that I didn't know how much longer I would have my sister with me. After that, I could no longer experience or even read about death without thinking of my sister and her fight for her life.

The more I heard about Lyndsey at the funeral and from my sorority sister and her boyfriend, the more she reminded me of my sister. Even my best friend told me that Lyndsey and Anna reminded her of each other. They are both fighters; Neither of them questioned "why me?", they just did what they had to do in order to not be sick anymore. They are positive, and mature, and have such an amazing outlook on life because of what they've been through. It made it that much harder to deal with someone you know dieing when I looked at her and thought of my sister. When we heard she was in the hospital, I was comforting my friend who was really close with her. We talked about how Lyndsey and Anna were chosen for a reason; because they are fighters. I hate to see another fighter lose their battle, because it reminds me that my sister could lose hers, too.

I am lucky that my sister is still here, and healthy now. But sometimes those thoughts still creep up, no matter how much you try to stop them: "how much longer will she be here?" "how much longer can she stay healthy without chemo?" "What would I do without her in my life?". The truth is, I don't know the answers to these questions. I wish I did, but I have to accept that that is part of what happens when you love someone who is sick.

For now, I just carry with me every day the lessons I have learned from Lyndsey and Anna. I don't take life for granted, and I try not to let little things get me down. People have bigger battles to fight, and Lyndsey and Anna did it with smiles on their faces. I would have never guessed that losing someone I didn't know that well could have affected me so deeply, but it did. As a constant reminder of what I've learned from them and that they are fighters, I rock my "Pray 4 Anna" and "For Lyndsey" bracelets every day. It's my way of showing the outer world that they are always on my mind.

"Pray 4 Anna" and "For Lyndsey, Forever an Alpha Chi"bracelets.

I wish that I could skip over the chapter in my life of "death and dying." I wish I could even read ahead to the end of the book to answer the questions I have. But, I can't. And if I had skipped the chapter, I wouldn't be who I am today. You never know when life is gonna throw you a lesson, and a reminder to be strong for the people you love.

This post is part of Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. I used the prompt "In the book I’m reading,Girls of Tender Age,the main character is deeply affected by the murder of a childhood friend. Describe a tragedy you didn’t expect to be as deeply affected by as you are."

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Back to Blogging

So I've been kind of MIA lately, I know. I have really wanted to blog, but first of all there's this thing called school keeping me a little busy these days. Combine that with Sorority life, working, and campus activities and all of the sudden I got really busy! That, and when I did have a chance to blog, I couldn't come up with anything to say! I had no idea what to write about, so instead I wrote nothing. I guess I just needed some inspiration. I think the SITS girls must have known this because this week they are hosting the Back to Blogging event! This event is all about getting back into the habit of blogging after the summer. There are different tasks for each day and everyone links up! They even have awesome sponsors like Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances and are giving away Thelma & Louise, an Electrolux washer & drier!

So, today's task is to re-upload a post you wish more people would have read. This was harder than I thought it would be. I mean it took me awhile to get readers on my blog, so I figured I would have some old posts that no one read that I would want to give life to. Well, the more I read through my old stuff, the more I realized there was a reason no one read it. It wasn't that well written, it wasn't that interesting, whatever the case, I just didn't find anything I felt was worthy of re-posting. And the posts I did like and wouldn't mind re-posting? Well they had a lot of comments already, so I figured that counts as a lot of people seeing it right?

 Finally, I stumbled upon a few posts I thought were acceptable that didn't have too many comments. One was summing up my freshman year of college. But I talk a lot about my college experience on this blog and sometimes I feel like I say the same thing every time, so I wanted to go with something different! 
Finally, I found this post. I was unusually witty that day, and it has always been a favorite post of mine because it makes me laugh and it is about something I love, Starbucks! So this is entitled "As if I needed more reasons to buy Starbucks..." Enjoy! :) 
I may have mentioned before that I am a HUGE fan of Starbucks. Yes, I am a Starbucks-aholic. (stands up) Hi, I’m Patrice, and I’m a Starbucks-aholic. Everyone: Hi, Patrice.

So the other day I was enjoying my Grande Non-Fat, with whip Mocha (what? I like it how I like it okay!?) when something caught my eye…

On the back of my cup it said: “YOU. HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL FOR 10 YEARS.” (They put it in caps, not me just to clarify) So I was all umm… I’m not sure I follow? So I kept reading… “Everything we do, you do.” Ok, now I’m really confused… what are they saying to me?! I kept reading (I was bored, ok? I needed some entertainment…) “Buy our coffee and good things happen.” Well, I knew that… ask anyone that knows me, Starbucks can change my mood from bad to good, it has powers that even people don’t have!

I won’t quote the whole thing (it’s really not that interesting!) Basically, they were just saying they have partnered up with CI (Conversational International) for the last 10 years and have therefore helped farmers and the planet, and by buying their coffee I am helping!!

I don’t know about you, but I think this is FANTASTIC news! I can finally justify my Starbucks addiction love!! I am saving the planet, not satisfying my own needs desires!! I am helping farmers! I, Patrice, am making a difference in the world! So what if it costs me my life savings a few dollars? It is for a good cause!!!

I especially liked the way Starbucks ended their letter to me: “It makes a difference. Just like you do. Congratulations, you.” YES! Congratulations, ME!

I am a planet saver!!!!! Best.news.ever! :)

This is my cup... I know you can't really read it, but I had to save the evidence!
This is my excited face when I found out the great news! lol

Well, that's it! If you came over from SITS, thanks for stopping by! I hope you'll come back. I'm excited to get Back 2 Blogging, I've missed it around here! :) 

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PYHO: My Place in this World

There's an old Taylor Swift song that has always been one of my favorites because I totally and completely related to the lyrics. It's all about feeling lost, and not really knowing what is coming next, and not knowing where your place is in the world (the song is called "A Place in this World"). Some of my favorite lyrics are "Don't know what's down this road, I'm just walkin..." and the end of the chorus is "I'm just a girl trying to find a place in this world."

This song resonated with me from the first time I heard it. But up until recently, it spoke to me even more than usual. For a lot of the summer and maybe even some of last semester, I started doubting a lot of the decisions I made in the past few years. I made a lot of important decisions, and fast, and suddenly I was questioning them and if they were right for me. More specifically, where I go to school. I started wondering if I really wanted to be at this school. I started feeling like I was missing something by being at such a small school, like I wasn't having a "real" college experience.

It was hard for me to deal with these feelings, to process them and to figure out what I was supposed to about them. I am a junior in college, it's a little late to change my whole life plan. By the time I finally opened up and spoke about my feelings, I was two weeks away from going back to school and it was too late to do anything about it. I didn't want to tell anyone how I felt because I felt like a failure for feeling that way. And I definitely didn't want to blog about it because I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Since I didn't really have a choice, I went back to school for my third year, but with hesitation. I wasn't sure I wanted to be here. I wasn't sure that this was my place in the world. '

However, as I got back into town and started seeing familiar land marks, and got on campus, I started feeling like maybe it would be ok after all. That first night back in town, I went out to meet a few friends who were already in town, and within minutes of sitting there catching up with my friends, I knew. I knew that it was gonna be ok. The last couple weeks here haven't always been easy; there have been tears, and doubt about being here, even times when I was ready to pack up and leave. But eventually those feelings subside, and the feelings that remain are I can't imagine my life without these people, I love the feeling of this campus, I love being here. Those are what matter becaususe they mean more to me than any negative feelings.

Over two years ago when I started searching for colleges, I just knew that when I found the right place for me, I would just know.  Something would click for me, that told me this is where I'm supposed ot be. When I stepped onto this campus for the first time about a month before high school graduation feeling hopeless about finding a school, I got that feeling. I knew this is where I was supposed to be. And two years ago, when I joined Alpha Chi Omega, those feelings multiplied. I am where I am supposed to be. It may not be a Big 10 school with awesome football games, and crazy parties. It may not be a school anyone has ever heard of, but it is my school, and for that I am grateful. I am glad I found my place in this world.

I am linking up today at Shell's place for Pour Your Heart Out!

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Guest Post: Finding the perfect lock!

This fall marks the 7th anniversary of my freshman year of college. My how time sure does fly! I set off to college unsure of everything other than my very well coordinated bedding. I had talked to my new roommate a few times, and coordinated the necessary agreements (she bought the rug, I bought the mini fridge) and our families met for dinner the night before move in. In the blink of an eye my family left me hours away, and I was left to my own devices.

My school had deferred recruitment that took place at the end of January, and in all honesty I didn’t even think about joining a sorority until January. My fall was filled with new friends, tough classes, and lots of homesickness. I went home for winter break relieved to have some time with my family, although I finally felt like I “fit” at school.

Winter term began, and everyone (male and female) was talking about sorority recruitment. No one in my family had gone Greek, and to say that they were hesitant is the understatement of the century. (Dad may have seen “Animal House” one too many times) But I forged ahead, not knowing what to wear or how to talk or the importance of a good hair straightener. (In retrospect, I wore dorky clothes, talked about weird stuff, and still hadn’t realized the full potential of my hair)

I won’t sugarcoat my recruitment experience as a Potential New Member, because it pretty much stunk. Mostly because I was basing my expectations entirely on what other people were telling me, rather than asking questions of the right people and truly trying to find a place to call home. Luckily, the women of Alpha Chi Omega were persistent despite my hesitation to join their chapter. I am eternally thankful to the women who took the time to get to know me, looked past my dorky clothes and hair, and realized my full potential both within and beyond Alpha Chi Omega.

Here I am (Right) very excited for one of my first "theme" parties freshman year!
A couple years later while serving on my college Panhellenic’s executive board I would attend a national conference and have a speaker discuss the “Lock Key Principle” (I still have the notebook with my notes) What the principle explains is that you shouldn’t have to force yourself to “fit” and if you do, than it’s not the right place for you to be. Every key has a lock, but you have to find the right match to feel “at home” The speaker went on to say that, “Every rejection is a selection” And while my 19 year old self wouldn’t have appreciated that logic, the truth is I wasn’t selected by many chapters, and while it was disheartening to not be wanted by all, I WAS selected by Alpha Chi Omega. Others were selected by Alpha Xi Delta and Sigma Kappa, some by Sigma Sigma Sigma and still some by Alpha Omicron Pi. In the end, we all found the lock to our key.

Bid Day senior year with my New Member class!
I have had an amazing sorority experience, which continues to compound. While in college I served as our VP Recruitment & College Panhellenic Director of Education. Upon graduation I have served as a Recruitment Advisor, I am now a Chapter Advisor and House “Mom” (or House Director if we’re being PC) I also serve as a National Volunteer and have met countless other Alpha Chi Omega’s through twitter, facebook, and the blogosphere. (Who knew?!)

As so many of you prepare for Sorority Recruitment, remember to find the lock to your key. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the process and what everyone else is saying and doing. Remember to listen to your heart and look for the place that feels most like home to you. Look for other women who share your same values and will help to make you a better, stronger woman. Find the women who will help you to celebrate your victories and divide your sorrows. And most of all soak it all in and enjoy it! This truly is an amazing time in your life, and before you know it you will be crossing the stage collecting your diploma and moving onto the next phase of your sisterhood; which is the most beneficial aspect of your membership: Lifelong Sisterhood. 

P.S. - Since I didn't introduce myself, I'm Lexi and I blog regularly over at {Dishin' With Edna} where I write about just about everything, including my day to day sorority experiences as an alumna of Alpha Chi Omega. 

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The Giving Fraternity

Hello readers, My name is Britain, and I am a fellow Alpha Chi Omega, and  blogger, be sure to check out my blog  Simply Southern Girl by clicking the link!  When Patrice, asked me to guest post, I thought of course! but what shall I post about..

Since Patrice is in the midst of sorority recruitment, I knew I wanted to focus on something greek. The below article was posted on Fraternal Thoughts blog,  I decided I must share it with her readers because  a) I LOVE the Giving Tree.. It is such a wonderful book. b) wish that all Greeks nation wide take a moment to reflect upon their collegiate experience upon reading this article.. c.)  I hope it helps fellow greeks understand that when you graduate from college, while your formal education at your Alma mater  may be over, in regards to fraternity, it ain’t over. Not by a long shot.

So without further a due:

The other night, my son Jack pulled Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree off his shelf. In this tale, a young boy develops a relationship with a large tree, climbing her, playing in her branches, incorporating her into his imaginary stories, and simply resting beside her large trunk. The tree loved the little boy and the boy loved the tree.

As the boy grew, his use for his beloved tree changed. Life circumstances drew him away from the tree, which saddened her. She would wait anxiously for his return, and through the book, we see him come back to her at pivotal times in his life. As a young man, he tells the tree that he needs money. She tells him that she has no money, but he can harvest her apples and sell them, which he does. Later, he returns as a middle-aged man, and tells her that he wants a house. She has no house to give, but encourages him to take her branches to build a house. He does. He comes back to her as an older man, with a desire to go far away from home – to sail somewhere free from problems. She offers her trunk so that he may build a boat, and he takes it. What’s left of the tree is a stump, still firmly rooted in the ground.

Each step along the way, when the boy would return and request more and more from the tree, she was excited to give him what he needed. Each time the boy would take something, the book tells us: “and the tree was happy.”

Many more years pass, and the boy returns as a very old man. The tree is excited to see him, but tells him that she has nothing left to provide – no apples, no branches, and no trunk. All she is, she tells him, is just a stump. The man tells her that he is too old to need anything but a place to rest his weary bones. The tree tells him that a stump is good for resting, and encourages him to come rest on her. He does.

And the tree was happy.

Consider this story as you prepare to leave your undergraduate years. These last few years in the fraternity or sorority were like the years the tree first spent with the little boy. The fraternity was excited to have you. It wanted you to use it for play, to learn critical lessons, to build the story of your life. Likewise, you loved and needed the fraternity. It’s “fruit” were the relationships you built with your brothers and sisters – relationships that became your family. It’s “branches” were the moments it gave you so that you could experience the carpe diem of college life. The “trunk” served as the memories that stay sturdy and strong as the rest of life moves on. The fraternity became a part of your life, and you, a part of hers.

So now you are an alum. Like the boy in the story, you’ll likely return to the fraternity or sorority for different needs as your life pivots and changes. You may ask her for things – and she will graciously give them to you. A fraternity is a selfless giver – always wanting her members to be happy and fulfilled. And we gladly take. We take her fruit, her branches, and her trunk. They help us navigate this crazy, awful, beautiful life. In return, we give her the joy of seeing her members live lives of significance. She doesn’t ask for anything else. But, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give her more.  We can become the “giving tree” for her.

As an alum, you can give the fraternity the gift of mentorship. You can be a guide and a resource for new members. You can also give the fraternity the gift of your presence by attending national events, serving as an advisor, and contributing as an alumni leader. You can give the fraternity your treasure, donating to educational foundations and house corporations. You can do all of these things, and the fraternity will be better because of them.

But there is a gift even greater. There is a part of the fraternity that we haven’t yet discussed. In The Giving Tree, it’s the stump. It’s the part that is always there even after the rest is taken. It’s our Ritual. Our values. Our codes. Our oaths. Our declarations to be better men and women by living the core values of our fraternities. It was the greatest gift the fraternity gave you, and will continue to give you every day of your life.

And the greatest gift you can give her in return is to live her ritual every day. When you do, you honor her. When you don’t, you slight her.

Remember that your undergraduate years are only the beginning – and not the end. Your fraternity gave you a guide for how to live life to its fullest. When the many twists, turns, and bumps of life come your way, remember this gift. She will be there in the good times and the bad. She can help you build a marriage, raise a family, advance a career, and enhance the world. All you need to provide is integrity – a willingness to stay true to her teachings.

If you do, then your story may read like this:

After many years, the boy returned to the fraternity. She was so excited to see him that she could barely speak. The boy looked at the fraternity and spoke with conviction.
"I return today to thank you and tell you about the life you prepared me for.  You gave so much to me, and I've tried to repay those gifts by living your values."

He continued. "You gave me the confidence to make hard decisions, and through my life I tried to always do what was right. You taught me the power of responsibility, and I was always true in my words and actions. Leadership is another gift you gave me, and because of you, I’ve always stepped forward when needed. You also gave me a chance to serve my fellow man, and I assure you that I haven’t stopped.”
“I stand more proudly because of you. I am kinder to others because you asked me to be. And I am rarely alone thanks to the extended family you helped me find. You gave me all of this, and more.”

“But I’m not sure that I have anything left to give,” the fraternity replied.

“All I want is a chance to read your Ritual once again.” said the boy.

“Then come, rest for a while, and read.” said the fraternity. “There are even more lessons to learn. You are not yet finished with this life; not yet finished giving."

After a while, as the boy set to leave, the fraternity spoke.  “You honor me by giving," she said.  Never stop sharing your unique gifts and my unique teachings with this world. Give. Give. Give.”

And the boy did.
And the fraternity was happy.

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Guest post: Crossing over

This is the first year I will not return to Washington and Lee University. I am now an alumna which means I will no longer practice walking up and down the stairs, leaving enough room for the PNM on my arm to hold onto the handrail or rehearse yelling loud enough to drown out the two "srat" houses on either side of us, "I am a P! I am a P-I! I am a P-I-B-E-T-A-P-H-I!"

Recruitment is a big deal at our small liberal arts school tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Valley of Virginia. Roughly three out of every four women will go Greek. We run a formal recruitment, meaning we go to the max - we decorate trash cans with bows. We are all Pi Phi all the time.

And it's sad knowing I won't be going back to that, that I won't sit at lunch with my sisters or walk to class with them.

But it is comforting to know that our Greek commitments aren't just for four years, they're for life. I was in a sister's wedding in June. Another just had a baby and has been showered with congratulations from her pledge sisters. And now I am advising a chapter where I get to see them struggle with the same things I did not so long ago.

The experiences we have, the friendships we make and the lessons we learned don't walk across the stage with us at commencement. They live within us and we pass them on.

Recruitment can be stressful, that's for sure - not finding time to do work, heading home past midnight from the house, being surrounded by women 24/7 with seemingly no time for yourself. But keep in mind what is being built. Recruitment is the lifeblood of our organizations. It is the one time of year we get to extend the hand of sisterhood to women who will be by our sides when we face our greatest disappointments and our most profound accomplishments.

And I'd give anything to be back at it.

Stephanie Hardiman is a freelance writer and journalist. She keeps a personal blog of things vaguely related to her life and the media here.

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Guest Post: Sisterhood Everywhere

Hi! I'm Kelly, and I actually do not have a blog, but when I saw Patrice's call on Twitter for guest bloggers I just had to answer it. Talking about my sorority experience is one of my favorite things to do! My collegiate experience is more unique than most. In my second semester at Carnegie Mellon University, I joined a local sorority, Zeta Psi Sigma, through informal recruitment. Originally never intending to join a sorority, at the end of the week I found myself praying and hoping that I would get a phone call on Friday night from one of the sisters, inviting me to the brunch event the next morning. If they invited me to brunch, that must mean that they like me, right? That fall, after 12 years of being the only local sorority on CMU's campus, we made the decision to affiliate with a national organization. Our Panhellenic Council agreed to open the campus for expansion and gave us (most of) the authority to decide which group we'd want to "adopt" us. The semester was filled with research about the remaining National Panhellenic Conference sororities, about everything from their colors to their philanthropic causes to what other schools had chapters. Finally, after four months of research, presentations, discussions, and votes, we chose Alpha Chi Omega. One of the major differences of being in a local sorority is that there wasn't much sense of a lifetime commitment. Sure, our alumnae were informed about what was going on in the chapter, and they were interested in how we were doing, but there was no real opportunity to be “active” in alumnae life. I got my first taste of the lifetime commitment of Alpha Chi Omega when I attended my first national convention in 2006. Hundreds of women, from all regions and of all ages, were gathered together in one location to vote on legislation and gather new ideas to take back to their chapters. It was simply amazing to see all of these women together, and to know that I have sisterhood in common with every one of them. When I was about to graduate and I got job offers in new cities, the first thing I did was email the local alumnae chapter president to ask questions about the area and the alumnae chapter. I decided to take a job in Dallas. I had no family in Dallas or anywhere close to it, and I had never lived so far away from my family. But my Alpha Chi Omega sisters were always there for me and I am forever thankful for that. It made my year there much more bearable when I was painfully homesick. I looked forward to attending alumnae events and chapter meetings at Southern Methodist University. I got to see one of Alpha Chi Omega's biggest philanthropy events, Alpha Chi Couture, which raised over $30,000 for domestic violence awareness that year. When it was my birthday, a sister took me out to dinner so that I wasn't alone. Even though I've moved back home to Pittsburgh, I still keep in touch with my Dallas sisters through Facebook, and I was even able to see a few of them at Convention this past summer. I know that if I ever move to a new city again, the first thing I'll do is connect to the alumnae in the area and build relationships with the amazing women that I am so lucky to call my sisters.

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Rush Week Guest Post #2

I'm Audreya from If You Ask Me. And let me just say upfront that I've never said anything in my life in less than a thousand words, so forgive me if I ramble on! When Patrice first asked if anyone wanted to guest post about their sorority experience, I was reluctant to say "yes". Strictly speaking, I wasn't in a sorority, so would I really have the much to offer? But, in the end, the desire to hear myself talk (or read myself type, I guess) won out and here we are…

The sorority experience itself also started off reluctantly for me. A little background: I attended a small, private university in Arkansas. Our sororities weren't part of the national Greek system, so we referred to them as social clubs. However, aside from a few vocabulary differences, I've found my experience to much the same as that of my Greek friends. I say "pledge". You say "rush". Technically I think we're all supposed to say "induction" or "recruitment", but the gist is the same.

I started college in the fall of 1997. I arrived on campus with preconceived notions about sororities in general and even about each specific club. I'd had friends and relatives attend the same university and tell me "Oh, these girls are snobby", "These girls are dorks", "You should totally pledge this club…" (Note: Our process was flip-flopped from what I understand most to be. We had almost two months of mixers / selection process and then one pledge week, after which we were full-fledged members.) I began attending the open mixers for a number of clubs. I even attended a couple of the invite-only mixers later in the process. Then it was time for the pledges to rank their top choices and the clubs to rank their top pledges. It all got put into a computer and… beep, beep, boop, boop… a bid sheet appeared. Like eHarmony: Sorority Edition. (We also had an "everyone gets a bid" policy. Though the bid might be for a club you ranked very low, you did get a bid and get the opportunity to pledge if you wanted.)

However, after the invite-only round of mixers, I had decided pledging wasn't for me. I wasn't head over heels for any of the clubs. I didn't want to devote that much time to anything. All in all, I thought it seemed unnecessary. I mean, it was a campus of less than 5,000 students. I could make friends on my own, right? Of course, a staggering percentage (80-something, I think) of students participated in social clubs. When you met someone new "What club are you in?" preceded "What is your major?" as an ice breaking question. But, whatever, I was my own woman. I dropped out of the pledge process.

I don't regret that decision. It was right for me at the time. I got involved with a drama group. Declared a major I actually never changed (I'm still waiting for an award for that, by the way!) Made friends in a variety of clubs that I might not have made if I'd been focused on just one particular set of Greek letters. But, most importantly, I had a year to observe. At the end of my freshman year, I realized I that I was going to pledge the following year. Not because I felt like an outcast… I didn't. Not because I had missed out on going to banquets and functions… I didn't. But because I liked the sense of community I had seen amongst each club… and the social club system as a whole. And, the club I knew I wanted to pledge was one of them I hadn't even given a second glance to during the mixers the previous fall. Funny how things works out like that, isn't it?

So, when my sophomore year rolled around, I began the pledge process again. Though I knew many of the girls by then, I wasn't a shoo-in. I visited and sent notes in the mail. I held my breath on bid day. And, when I opened my envelope and saw the logo of a key at the top, I knew I was where I belonged. My social club was called Tri Kappa. For obvious reason, we went by Tri Kappa and not three Ks. And no, no one ever figured out exactly what our founders what thinking with that choice of name, but I assure you it was nothing sinister! We were the Sisters of the Key… the key to everlasting friendship.

"Everlasting friendship" seemed like a corny phrase at the time, but who was I to judge? I was a Class II member, affectionately known as a gopher. I still had to get through pledge week!

I don't know what pledge week / rush week is like now. I know there are all sorts of laws about hazing, forced participation, etc. As there should be. Those laws were around when I pledged, and combined with our campus' strict policies, everyone had a safe experience… but did I have to all sorts of ridiculous / silly / bizarre / early in the morning - late at night things? You betcha. I wore the same pair of black socks for the entire week and wasn’t allowed to wash them. I carried my pledge book with me EVERYWHERE and was only allowed to set it down when specifically told to do so. I wasn't allowed to walk on grass. I memorized countless facts about the club. I searched ALL OVER CAMPUS for the Halsey-Taylor monument only to find out there were about 10 in each building and most people called them water fountains. Nonsensical? Sure. But would I trade it? Not for the world.

My best friend and I pledged together.
When we got our jerseys,
 we were so excited, we shot an entire roll
of film doing weird poses like this.
At the end of the week - "Hell Night", as it was called - we went out to our sponsor's house - in the middle of the woods - and had to recite all the stuff we'd memorized, participate in more silly stunts, etc. At the end of the night, we sat in a circle and were told to close our eyes and remain silent. The President talked about how most of us had done well and would be welcomed into the club, but a few of us just didn't work out. If you felt a tap on your shoulder, you were out (I think Project Runway stole our idea). You were to quietly leave the circle and let the other girls celebrate. When I felt that tap on my shoulder, my heart sank. I fought back tears. What had I done wrong?! But I opened my eyes and began to stand up. That's when I realized everyone else was doing the same. One last joke for the Class I members / scare for the Class II. Behind us stood our Big Sisters with their jersey… ready to hand over to us. We were in! It is still one of my favorite memories ever.

My Big Sis and me at my formal
induction ceremony
I went on to become Historian, Activities Director, Vice-President and President. (And yes, as President, I did the same "fake out" stunt on Hell Night.) I even served as an officer on the Inter-Club Council. Later, people would laugh when I put those skills on my resume, but it was a lot of work and valuable experience. Successfully getting a bunch of boy-crazy, giggly 18 year old college freshman through Pledge Week alive and without any laws being broken? Yeah, that puppy is going on the resume! I found out a lot about myself by being in a sorority. I learned that I make an okay leader. I learned that talking in front of a crowd wouldn't kill me. I now use those skills every single day in my career. But, more importantly, I learned what it meant to have sisters you aren't related to. I made some of the best friends I can imagine. Like Mandy said in her post yesterday, some people say that being a sorority equates to buying your friends. Nothing could be further from the truth. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Sure, you can absolutely have a great college experience if you aren't in a sorority. Sure, it's not for everyone. But for those of us who've done it, it's absolutely something to be proud of. Paying dues might cover some of the administrative costs, but the experiences I had and the friendships I made were priceless.

Sadly, after 50 years, membership dwindled and eventually the club dissolved. Some shiny new clubs had formed on campus. Other larger clubs began taking even more members. My sister was in one of the last pledge class Tri Kappa saw. I'm proud she was able to pledge as my legacy. And that's the thing about legacies… they live on even when the thing that started it all isn't around anymore. Maybe "The Key to Everlasting Friendship" wasn’t so corny after all.

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Guest Post: Rush Week

Hi guys! I am Mandy and I blog over at ...life's about a dream. Somewhere along the line, I found Patrice's blog or she found mine (after three kids, my memory is shot). I once posted about attending an AXO reunion (I am a tad older than Patrice) and she piped up in my comments about being a sister. She did an all call this week for guest posters, especially AXOs, and I jumped.

Come with me as we travel back in time to era of denim and Hammer Pants...


I rushed at Clemson University in August 1994.

I had my wisdom teeth taken out 5 days before I arrived on the Clemson campus.

So basically I still had some swelling and pain during rush.

That's just what someone needs when they have to smile and talk to hundreds of girls they don't know.

There were 600 freshman and sophomore girlsgoing through rush.

Each sorority "party" was in a different location around campus.

Did I mention Clemson has a big campus?

It's August.

In the South.

Which made it HOT.

And I resembled a sweaty chipmunk.

I think I answered the same questions from a zillion girls over and over.

Where are you from?

What's your major?

What dorm are you living in?

I didn't mind; I loved meeting new people. Rush was kind of my thing.

As the week wore on, the 11 sororities were whittled down to two. You then attended the "pref" parties (preference parties) and waited on a bid.

Standing outside of Tillman Hall on Bid Day, waiting to see if you received a bid from the sorority you wanted (or a bid at all) was one of the most nerve wracking things I have ever gone through.

Much to my relief, I had a bid.

Then it was off to the races.

All the rushees ran (literally) to find the spot on campus where their new sisters were waiting for them.

Upon finding my chanting Alpha Chis (A-L-P-H-A C-H-I Omega), I almost tripped down the steps to hug a friend from high school, who was waiting for me. I have such fond memories of being with my AXO sisters, my friends.

To this day, I always hear comments about "buying" your friends when you join a sorority.

But when those friends were in your wedding,

when those friends still meet up with you for football games and mini reunions,

and those friends are still staying in touch with you 15+ years later (thank you very much, Facebook),

then I'd say it was a pretty good investment.

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Excuse Me While I Fall Off the Planet...

If I'm not here for awhile, don't mind me. Don't worry,  I am going to fall off the face of the planet for awhile but I'll be back!

Tomorrow I leave to go back to school & all the madness starts Sunday! I have 8 hours to get moved in, set up, decorated and everything then Sorority recruitment starts. This means hours and hours of practicing conversations, talking to girls, lots and lots of work. And very little sleep. Which also means very little free time (a.k.a blogging time). So, yeah, I won't be here much.

I knew this was coming, which was why I had planned to post a lot this week, and write posts to schedule to post next week so my blog would not be neglected at all. Except then life got in the way. And all the sudden my to do list multiplied by like 1000. I was trying to finish up at work before I left for the summer, trying to complete all my shopping, say all my goodbyes. Needless to say, this did not leave a whole lot of extra time. So, I didn't get around to blogging.

Not only am I behind on my blogging, but I am behind on my 31DBBB stuff. Like probably at least 10 days behind. Clearly I will not be finishing the challenge in 31 days, nor will I be done in 5 days like everyone else. Maybe by the end of next month, if I'm lucky! What can I say, I just haven't had time! Seems to be the common theme of this post, huh!?

Anyway, this is all good stuff. Going back to school for my 3rd year (how did that happen!!?!) will be great, and sorority rush is such a great time to bond with sisters and get new ones!!! My blog can wait, I know that.

Since I failed to plan ahead and write posts for next week (I know, shame on me!), I was wondering if anyone would be interested in sharing your sorority story! Since I'll be out for sorority stuff, I want to dedicate the week to all things sorority (especially if you were an AXO, wink wink!). If you are interested, let me know! It would be so fun to hear y'alls experiences! (ETA: I don't think I was clear. I am looking for anyone interested in guest posting next week about your sorority experience!)

So, I apologize for my absence.  I sure hope you'll still be here when I get back!! I'll definitely be checking in as much as possible at your blogs! See you on the flip side...

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Are You Excited!? (Re-post)

I am out of town this weekend, and I didn't want my blog to be neglected! This is a post I wrote last year at this same time, and a year later it still rings true (truer than ever, I think). It has been on my mind lately, so I thought I would share it again for those of you who didn't read it the first time! Or even if you did, you can take a walk down memory lane with me!
"Are you excited!?"

I hear this almost everyday at least twice a day, probably more. It usually follows the question "When do you go back to school?" As soon as I answer, it always always follows "Are you excited?"

This is where the dilemma is. I know the answer everyone is expecting. I know I'm supposed to say "yes! I can't wait! I'm so excited!" The truth? I don't know how I feel. Of course I want to see my friends, of course I'm looking forward to seeing them again, but excited? Not really. Not yet, anyway.

When I think about this question, and how I'm supposed to react, it reminds me of an episode of Sex & the City (work with me, it's not what you think!) when Miranda finds out she is pregnant with a boy. She knows what the ultra sound tech is expecting; for her to get all excited! So, in her words, she "fake orgasms". She acts all excited, saying "a boy! oh boy oh boy!" because that's what is expected of her even though she wasn't really feeling that way.

This is how I feel when people ask me if I'm excited to go back to school. I feel like they expect me to shout for joy, maybe jump up & down with excitement. I mean, can you imagine if someone said "are you excited to go back to school?" and my response was "eh... not really."? I realize that most people that ask this are just being polite, and don't actually expect me to go into a long, deeply thought out answer. Which is exactly why I smile and "fake it" so to speak and say "Yes, I'm so excited!"

Don't get me wrong. I love where I go to school. I love my friends. It's just hard for me to go back & forth, and it's hard for me to be excited. It takes me awhile to adjust to a new situation. It's the same coming home from school; when I first get home my parents are all giddy and excited I'm home and I'm thinking getmeoutofhereandbacktoschoolNOW! But pretty soon it starts to feel normal again, and I know that's how it will be once I get to school. It will take a little getting used to at first, but then it will be normal again, and I won't want to come home because I'm so happy there.

So, for now, when I get asked if I'm excited, I'll continue to fake it. I'll smile and nod my head and maybe even jump up and down like an idiot (ok, probably not), but inside hold tight to the knowledge that one day soon I will be excited, and won't be able to imagine a time when I wasn't. Or maybe I'll just answer "read my blog"!

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