A beautiful weekend with my best friend

So, last weekend was awesome.

First, I took a retreat day on Friday, which I have to say was much needed. I spent the day at Fatima retreat house at a retreat called “Finding God in a Garden,” an experience that was very healing for me and helped me to understand a little bit more about myself. Of course, I now want a garden more than ever. Lord knows I can’t wait to have my own place and garden! Also, chickens. I never thought I would want chickens after growing up with them, but now that I’m older I respect how useful they are.

I’ll probably write more about this experience after I’ve had time to really think it through.

So, after a great day of retreat, I went home to my community and spent some quality time with them.

On Saturday, I set out for Granville, OH where my BEAUTIFUL best friend Hannah Mugel attends Denison University. Now, Hannah and I have been friends since we were like 3 years old. We haven’t always liked each other, but we have always loved each other. Our mothers are best friends and our dads are really good friends, so even when we weren’t best friends, we have always been together. I’m so glad that we’re best friends now. She’s such an inspiration to me and I can always trust her to even me out and remind me of who I am. She’s just amazing. If you don’t know her, I’m sorry, you should. Hannah belle, I love you so much.

So, being with a friend who is so wonderful, obviously it was meant to be a wonderful weekend. I got there Saturday around noon and Hannah took me on a tour of Granville and Denison. I got to meet Margaret, a cousin I’ve never met! She’s lovely, as anyone would expect from a Mugel girl. I can’t believe I’ve never seen Granville before, but it was so far from Dallas and we were always at school at the same time.

Now, Hannah is really a big city girl. She loves cities and culture and all the beautiful opportunities that cities have to offer. She’s never been a Rolla girl, even though we both grew up there together, and most adventurous things I have done have involved Hannah (except Rome, although I did go with her notes from her visit, which was before mine). So, the fact that she chose to live five years in Granville, OH, which resembles Stars Hollow out of Gilmore Girls, is amazing to me. But she did and somehow it suits her. Of course, Hannah has found the nearest city and fallen in love with it (Columbus), but she has also found all the neat little haunts in Granville and was eager to show them to me. We ate amazing ice cream, bought some loose leaf tea at a lovely little tea shop, and ate at a really awesome little bar/restaurant. I fell in love with the town almost immediately. It’s a good thing I never visited before, because I might have been tempted to transfer! (Not really, nothing would have tempted me from Dallas… well, maybe, but definitely not after I started working at Holy Family—I could never have left that.)

The campus is beautiful, too. I love it!! I can see why Hannah chose it. It’s bigger than UD, but smaller than Butler. It’s sort of on top of a hill, making it like a town all to itself even though its really part of the town.

After our tour, we spent a lot of time talking in Hannah’s room and then went to see Titanic in 3D. I’d never seen Titanic before, which I am amazed at. But, appropriately, I went to see it with Hannah on the 100th anniversary and it was great! Hannah’s friend Sarah went with us, and it was great to meet her and get to talk with her. She’s a big Titanic buff and also a geology major, which is pretty cool.

Then, that night when we got back, we did our nails and watched the movie A Fish Called Wanda. Hannah’s dad (who is like a second father to me) is a big fan of John Cleese and has passed that trait on to us two girls. Neither of us had ever seen this one and we loved it! I was a little distracted, texting back and forth with my other favorite person, a friend from Holy Family in Dallas. But the movie was great! We watched with Hannah’s roomie and good friend, Hillary. Hillary is just wonderful and it was great to meet her. She spent most of the day Sunday with us.

We went to Mass at the local parish on Sunday and Hannah got to show me their absolutely awful mural on the back wall above the altar (seriously, I’ve seen ugly churches, but this one is beyond my ability to describe). Then, we had breakfast at the apartment and studied. We went out on the field behind the apartments and enjoyed the sun while studying (well, more talking and fun than studying, but we did get some work done). Hannah spent most of the day making a bean soup, which had been left to soak while we were outside. Once we were back inside, we studied for real (really, we did!). Then, we ran to the cafeteria to grab salads to go and ate some bean soup for dinner. It was really good! Hannah’s becoming quite the chef, it seems. In so many ways, she is so much like her mom. I love it.

At any rate, I’m sure the step by step process of our weekend isn’t that interesting to other people. But it was the best weekend in a long time and I loved getting to spend so much time with my best friend. It’s a wonderful thing to be known and loved and to be with someone who I don’t have to explain things to—she already knows my stories, my habits, my faults, and for some unknown reason chooses to stick by me anyway. I’m so grateful for her! She has a free and beautiful spirit, which is the perfect compliment to my melancholic, old soul. There are so many things that we both love but so many things that are different….

I don’t have a real sister, Hannah’s the closest thing I have to a sister. Her family has meant so much to me and to my parents. I think of her parents as second parents or my aunt and uncle. I’m often much closer to the Mugels than anyone else in the world. I have so much to thank them for. I thank Teresa for my love of languages—something that has been central to my very identity. I probably never would have known Spanish or studied philology without her. I have Doug to thank for my love of Vincent Price and of John Cleese. Teresa and Hannah introduced me to most of my favorite romantic comedies. Teresa was the one who first introduced me to my favorite foods—pineapple, mangoes, and all sorts of citrus juices.

So, it was wonderful to spend a weekend with her and to finally see her school. I’m so excited that she will be graduating here in a few weeks (on the same day as UD’s graduation). It’s so exciting. She works very hard. Look out world, here she comes!!!

This week has been good, although full. Finals are approaching and my students are stressed. This weekend was mostly uneventful. I went out with my other friend Hannah, a Sister of Providence, on Friday and spent most of yesterday with my housemate Matt and his girlfriend, Megan. It was fun, too!

And here I am, almost midnight on Earth Day, looking back at a beautiful weekend and a great week, thankful for my many blessings.

Good night! Please pray for my students and my friends (the lovely Miss Hannah included) who are facing finals. I know they’ll all do well. Study well, not hard!