University of Mobile
This is where I lived from 1999-2002.
This is the first place I ever lived without my mama.
(for the record: I didn't get too crazy.
It was only 45 minutes away from her.)
This is where I made the best friends of my life,
ones I'm still friends with today,
ones who know the real of me, and love me anyway.
This is where I learned to laugh,
and be compassionate,
and find joy in all the moments:
the reading in the sunshine on the lawn,
the daily meals in the Caf,
the very first season (and many more) of Survivor in the lobby,
the early morning and Saturday classes,
the skipping class to go to the beach,
the late night walmart runs
the smell of Farr gymnasium basketball,
the love of Aunt Bea,
the safety in a girls-only dorm,
the board games in the study rooms,
the writing of thousands of study notecards with the roomie,
the hiding of a kitten in the dorm room,
until you get busted by the RA,
who happens to be your best friend,
the weekend mission trips called Urban Plunge,
the making peanut butter sandwiches in the lobby
to take to homeless people downtown,
the whole time praying no one takes a picture
because you know your mom will kill you,
washing dishes in the bathroom sink
because neither of your roommates will,
learning how to really do your own laundry,
borrowing clothes and makeup and tissues when you need a cry,
playing board games until the wee hours,
yelling at people talking in the hall
because you're student teaching and have to wake up before dawn,
mud fights in the rain with your one-day-husband,
before you imagined he would ever be that.
so much joy in this place.
This is where I made dreadful mistakes,
almost took devastating life paths,
experienced incredible loss.
This is where I learned what I was made of,
and it turned out to be pretty sturdy stuff.
This is the house that built me,
in many ways.
I look at this picture,
and feel nothing but deep, deep gratitude.