Monday, August 4, 2014

Four Years Goes By Fast

Graduation is a day that calls for reflection, and yet it propels you into the future, and forces you to focus on moving on. When that day came for my brother, I couldn't help reflecting on my own college experience, which was nothing like my brother's, who had gone away to college. I do not regret my decisions, but I marveled at how fast time had flown. Just two years ago, I was the one on that stage graduating, and now it was my brother's turn.

My family packed up their suitcases, and drove the two hours to Pennsylvania. Since my brother had technically graduated the previous semester, we had to stay in a hotel, which I didn't mind at all, considering it was the same hotel we had stayed at just four years before for family weekend, when it all started. Before we settled in, we decided to head to the wall on campus. Here we had taken a picture when my brother was a freshman, and now that he was graduating, I knew that we needed to compare how much we had grown since then. And while there isn't much about us that is different physically, emotionally and mentally we have grown, especially my brother who had gone through four years of biology, chemistry, and physics in hopes to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor.

We headed over to the hotel where we settled in and unpacked our bags, and I took a moment to enjoy our spectacular room that our hotel offered, of Pennsylvania. When I could no longer handle the beauty, I got ready for dinner with the family, Michele, and Sal. We ate and ate, all the while enjoying each other's presence, looking forward to the coming days. Once we returned to the hotel, my mom and I grabbed our bottles of wine we had brought, and poured ourselves a glass, or two. We had plans to sit outside by the fire pit, but that unfortunately did not go as planned. There was a broken piece in the fire pit, and they were not working. We weren't happy about it, but that certainly didn't stop us from breathing in the spring air as the sun went down. It might've been the wine that helped us relax, or it just might've been that we were happy to be there.

The following day we had all morning and afternoon to wander around the stomping grounds that were my brother's, the place he called home for four years. And against my will, we went shopping. I love exploring new towns, and so I dealt with the shopping in hopes that we'd be able to capture incredible moments on my camera, and that we did.

We got back just in time to get ourselves ready for the night. We would be heading to the presidential dinner for the students and their families. We were excited to party, and just have a good time, celebrating my brother and all his hard work, plus who could turn down an open bar? Before we headed to the dinner, we got dinner together, since we had heard that there would only be drinks and appetizers. We walked to the restaurant from our hotel; the views were beautiful, and though we didn't eat outside, we went straight to the balcony when we were finished.

Realizing we were going to be late, we paid our bill and left. We arrived to the dinner and were able to choose which way to go - the more laid back room with tables and chairs to sit, and lower music, or to the PARTY room with tables to stand at and just about the loudest music you've ever heard. You can only guess which room we picked. 

Sal may or may not have walked out with multiple balloons last night and shoved them into the trunk, with too many people as it was. When we got back to the hotel, we were amped up from the night we had just had, and did not want to go to sleep. We ate our leftovers from dinner, and sat around and talked. Eventually my brother brought us all to tears, and what was said in that hotel room will stay with me for the rest of my life. Needless to say, family comes first, and will always. 

The following morning we had to be up and ready for Kyle's big day. His graduation was at a huge center and would feature every graduate of 2014. I don't think we had any idea how long of a morning this would be, but we were all excited. My uncle and grandmother met us there, and you could tell that this made the day that much more special. 

We were seated, and as the students walked in, we had all of our eyes open, and started screaming as soon as we could all see Kyle. He didn't notice us at first, but eventually he saw his crazy family flailing their arms and screaming his name. The students say, and one by one they called each college, and each student, but grew antsy with each passing name. They announced every individual's name. It doesn't seem like it'd be a lot, but we grew tired, and insanely bored as we waited for my brother's name to be called. We ate our snacks, took tons of selfies, and tried to keep our eyes open (for my uncle this battle was lost). 

When Kyle's name was finally announced, all of our cameras were on, we were preparing to take video and pictures. They said his name, and we all went wild. He definitely could not hear us, but that didn't matter. We were all so proud of everything he had accomplished, and that he had finished his undergrad in 3.5 years, finally crossing the stage 4 years later. We listened to the speakers talk, and waited for their caps to be thrown up. They didn't throw them, but it didn't matter at that point. Sal and I rushed down the stairs as soon as the students were walking out, and waited for Kyle to appear and walk down as an official graduate. 

He was happy, anyone could see that, and we could not stop smiling. We headed out to lunch to celebrate, and even though the restaurant was packed with other graduates, and we waited a long, long time, it was worth it because it was delicious. As we cheered for Kyle, we clinked our glasses, and the smiles did not leave us as we ate our meals. Before we knew it, we were on our way home. Kyle was on to new and bigger adventures - medical school!

See those balloons? Those might have been the ones Sal took the previous night. We released them with all of our hopes and dreams for Kyle's bright, bright future.

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