For the first time in three years, Erich and I returned to Valparaiso University for the occasion of Homecoming Weekend. A lot has changed in three years.
In 2005, I had just graduated and therefore still had a lot of friends still at school. I had brought Erich, who I thought was my boyfriend, along for the weekend and as a bonus I got to stay at his grandparents' house for free! Turns out, on our way back to Naperville on that Sunday, we officially decided that we were boyfriend and girlfriend. Glad we got that cleared up.
Now it's 2008. The campus is a lot different with a new student union and parking structure, and what was once a road through campus is now a grassy field with a curb(?). And obviously, Erich and I aren't just "special friends" but husband and wife. Also, I don't know any current students.
We had a great weekend! Do you want to hear all about it? Sure you do!
We got there Friday night, visited with the grandparents then headed to bed. We're old now--no more of this going out at 10pm, going to bed at 2am or later. No, sir.
Saturday morning, I walked over to campus to attend the Sigma Alpha Iota women's music fraternity Alumnae Breakfast. I got to visit with my great-grandlittle, which was nice. She's the only current student that I kind of know since she attended our wedding as my grandlittle's guest. It was nice to get to know some of the other active sisters. There were a few alumnae there, but no one from my class.
One good result of the Alumnae Breakfast was that I heard the buzz that there was an Alumni Choir rehearsal at 11 in the chapel to sing the next morning in church. I decided to wander over and got sucked in.
It was great to sing in the chapel again! When I stopped to think about it, I realized that I hadn't sung in the chapel with a choir since the Baccalaureate service in May, 2005. It felt so natural. Back when I was in the Kantorei and the Chorale (who both sang with the "Alumni Choir" which wasn't very many people), singing for Homecoming was an annoying obligation, but now I know what a treat it is for the alumni.
Erich was headed to the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (men's music fraternity) house to rehearse the National Anthem to sing at the football game, so I walked over there to meet him. Our friends Matt and Christina were there--Christina and I got to be the groupie fraternity wives. That was fun. When they were ready, we walked to the football game and waited for the frat boys to sing. Once they were finally done, we got out of there. I've never attended a Valpo football game, and this day was no exception.
We headed to lunch at Passtimes with friends Matt, Christina, Ryan, and others. Passtimes was our absolute favorite bar during college. Disappointingly, it has changed a lot. It's trying to be something like a cross between RockBottom and Buffalo Wild Wings. Does not work at ALL.
Then the five of us didn't know what to do next. We ultimately decided to head to the movie theater (another new addition to the Valpo community) and see what was playing. When we got there, we settled on Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist beginning an hour and a half later. To kill the time, we went to Chili's for margaritas and chips and salsa.
The movie...SUCKED. It really wasn't good. I do not recommend. But by this point, I was starting to feel like our day was like "Susan and Erich's Infinite Playlist." Then Erich said it shall be called "Susan and Erich's Infinite Platelets." No, that doesn't make sense. But the beer and margarita made it hilarious. My husband cracks me up.
After the movie and a brief stop at the grandparents' for warmer clothes, we trekked to the outskirts of Valparaiso to visit the BRAND new (as in just done enough to be lived in) house of our friends Dan and Tammy. They built their own house! We are extremely impressed. They have a wooded lot that backs up to a lake. Being out there really made me and especially Erich want to live further out in the open than our current suburban digs. They had a bonfire in their backyard with a few of their Valpo friends and their adorable 10-week-old yellow lab puppy! We had a nice visit and left by 11pm. See? We are so old now. I was so glad we were home by 11:30. :)
Sunday morning: I walked to chapel to sing while Erich went to church with the g-parents. We got back around the same time and decided to get packed up and changed. Then it was lunch at another Valpo favorite, El Salto, with friends Sarah and Chris, Krystal and Amanda. By the time lunch was over, I was t.i.r.e.d. It felt good to walk so much all weekend, but I was not used to it. We relaxed and watch the Bears game before going to the Chorale concert. Not much to say about that other than that it was awesome!
From the concert, we went to Erich's aunt and uncle's house, where they were having dinner to celebrate his uncle's 50th birthday. It was very nice to visit with them and to enjoy a very delicious lamb dinner before we had to leave. Aunt Suzanne cooks a mean lamb!
Back to Naperville in time to have dessert with my family to celebrate my baby brother's 23rd birthday. (Old! Old! We're all old!) And at last, our long, crazy, awesome weekend came to an end.