I’ve been putting off this recap post for a few days because really, how do I sum up such a unique and ridiculous and awesome experience appropriately? And how do I even EXPLAIN it to people who don’t understand what would possess me to fly 1000 miles to spend the weekend with people I barely know- half of them I’ve never even met in person? (last year I flew even further and I’d only ever met ONE of them in person for like 2 minutes!)
When I got to Austin last year, I was nervous. Like I said, I only knew one person. I “knew” about half of the rest of them. We always had the most obnoxious and hilarious and sometimes serious and helpful conversations on Twitter. But would seeing them all in the same room be the same? Would talking to their faces instead of their tiny square icons be as much fun?
And of course it was. It was fantastic. Weird, at first. But fantastic.
This year in New Orleans, I was much more relaxed upon arrival. I was SO EXCITED to meet K and Sara, the two of my three roommates I had yet to meet in person (Katie and I were roommates last year) so at first, I just focused on that. The four of us had planned on a dinner out together Thursday night before the craziness started the following day, and I think that was the most excellent idea EVER (Thank you KATIE!) because it really gave us a chance to catch up and chat without pressure and distractions.
After dinner, we were all wiped out from the day of travel so we headed back to the hotel and were in bed at a reasonable hour (so mature of us!) This also meant that we were up and ready to go pretty early Friday morning, and somehow four women in a hotel room with one bathroom got showered, dressed, put on makeup and fixed our hair in under an hour. I was impressed, you guys. Very impressed. Who says mothers don’t possess superpowers?
The next two days were a blur of food and laughter and hugs and walking and fake cocktails for me and snapping pictures.
(Sorry, that’s a lot of pictures, I know. ha)
I’ve read a few posts from other attendees and there seems to be a common thread through them all: there was just NOT ENOUGH TIME. Not enough time to meet everyone we wanted to meet, hug everyone we wanted to hug, stalk everyone we wanted to stalk (what?) I learned that last year for sure, mostly because I was a total chicken about walking up to people and saying HI! I’M A HUGE FAN AND ZOMG I LOVE YOUR HAIR AND YOU’RE SO FUNNY AND CUTE!!!! This year I felt more comfortable (slightly) and I was proud of myself for being brave enough to talk to a few people I probably wouldn’t have approached last year. That being said, there is a LONG list of people I wish I could have spent an entire day with in the city, just walking and chatting and stopping for a beignet together. (IDEA! Individual Blatherings with each and every one of you! GENIUS!)
My takeaway from this year’s trip to New Orleans (besides a few extra pounds from the food and some very achy feet from all the walking!) is that despite my protests to the contrary for years, I DO in fact like hanging out with girls!! In high school, I seemed to always have better friendships with boys and I had very little patience for the pettiness and silliness that girls seem to create (not that I wasn’t sometimes part of it too, I mean COME ON, IT WAS HIGH SCHOOL!) And through college, I kept my circle of girlfriends small and simple, opting out of sororities and large groups of ladies. To me, that meant Instant Drama and Shenanigans and I just did not have the energy for it. But here, for the second year in a row, I witnessed 50-60 women from varying backgrounds and life stages and ages and religions get together in pinchy shoes and fancy dresses and from what I could tell, everyone had a fabulous time and there was no drama. At least not at my table :)
So thank you. All of you. Even the ones I only waved to or smiled at as I hurried past you toward the food or the bathroom (hey, I’m 19 weeks pregnant, I pee a lot!) Thank you for a wonderful trip and for going from being my pocket friends to my real friends. And thank you for getting me. Thank you for being my people.
(And I have to give Dan props for taking such great care of the girls while I was gone. I came home to a pretty clean house, and apparently he curled Maggie’s hair one morning before school AND trimmed Audrey’s bangs. All while I was shoving food in my face with my friends and sleeping in. I love him.)