Growing Up Prep
I went to a small, southern all-girls boarding school for high school (except freshman year). The first year had a steep learning curve both academically and socially. As a tomboy since birth, being around 115 girls 24/7 took some adjusting... So did all the hugging.
I went to Chatham Hall and my graduating class was 26 girls. It was situated in the middle of tobacco field Virginia where the most exciting things were the really terrible Italian restaurant, Sunday food trips to Walmart and the occasional journey to Danville for a movie and IHOP.
Unlike all but three other girls, I got to leave campus twice a day and go to the neighboring boys school for swim practice. When it wasn't swim season, I played field hockey, lacrosse or soccer....and rode a horse or two. Sports kept me fairly sane in this environment.
I haven't stayed in touch with many people since the day I graduated. Social media makes it a little easier but it's been almost 20 years and my interest has waned. I've never been to a class reunion and I'm not sure if I ever will.
So when Mari said she was getting married, I knew I had to go. She was one of my best friends in high school and someone I've stayed in touch with over the years, despite us both hopping around the globe. Luckily, it was at the point in the season where I could actually disappear for about 40 hours. So I jumped on a plane from Brussels, had a slightly ungodly layover in Prague and landed in JFK. Got picked up and a few hours later landed in New Haven, Connecticut. Home of Yale.
When I accepted my invitation, I had no idea who would be at this wedding. I assumed Mari, similar to me, wouldn't have stayed in touch with many people from high school. I planned to fly in on Saturday and back to Europe on Monday. I knew one of our shared best friend's, Andrew, would be there, so I immediately roped Andrew into being my pseudo date.
Turns out I knew a total of five people at the wedding, including the bride. I'd met maybe four others randomly back in high school. Aside from Mari and Andrew, I hadn't seen any of those people in twenty years. Two others I've at least stayed in touch with via social media, but that was it. What impressed and amazed me was how quickly that core group of us fell back in step. It felt nice to be me...to know I'm still the same me. And everyone else was basically the same too. Sure, there are various career paths, babies and partners now, but everyone else was who they were when we were all semi-angsty teenagers.
It was a super fast trip and one that left me wrecked with jetlag, but I'm really glad I went. I had more fun with these five people than I anticipated. The exit was fairly uneventful with an Amtrak train ride to Newark Airport in New Jersey, a flight to Amsterdam, a quick connector flight to Brussels, a train and then a tram and I was home in Gent.