I had met my roommate and soon-to-be best friend, Megan, while auditioning for Chapman's theatre program. We decided that day that if we both got in, we'd be roommates. So unlike many first-time college goers, I actually knew who my roomie would be. It took some of the stress off of moving to a new state where I knew absolutely no one.
When we started school in 2008, both of us had long-distance boyfriends, but both of us would break-up with them by the end of our freshmen year. Now, I wasn't as smart as Megan. I was on again, off again for four years with the same person. It's not a slight to him, please don't misunderstand me. Megan left her guy in the dust and understood she wasn't meant to be with him. I, on the other hand, needed some heavy-handed, long-term God-hitting-me-over-the-head-with-a-bat intervention.
It is insane how hard God worked to put Kyle in my life and even more disturbing how long I ignored God speaking directly to me like, "hey lady, would you just look at the man right in front of you!?" Look, it wasn't a Moses and the burning bush kind of speaking, so cut me some slack. It was subtle. Persistent.
So here we go, let's restart the story.
We drove cross-country with all of my stuff packed into a Ford Focus. I had purchased a new college appropriate wardrobe of Chapman t-shirts, baseball hats, sweatpants, tennis shoes, flip flops, a wide variety of bathing suits, and basically all summer clothes. I didn't pack anything nice - no dress shoes, no professional clothing, nothing fancy - at all. I was living California casual now, baby! Plus, I was a serious actor. I needed clothes that could move.
It was August 2008. Move-in day at Chapman University. We had parked in a weird spot not really near where my dorm room was (newbies). The campus, unlike the day I took my tour, was cluttered with people. It seemed like everybody knew somebody but me. And all the young women were drop dead gorgeous. And they were all wearing designer clothes and perfectly put-together outfits. Looking back, this was probably not the reality, but it was all that I could see. I was intimidated and scared. I was wearing jean shorts, a t-shirt, not a drop of make-up (seriously, not one drop), no straightened or curled hair (it was probably blown dry at least), and flip flops (no pedicure, cracked heels). Put yourself in a Kansas girl's shoes for a second: no make-up, comfort casual (aka no fashion sense whatsoever), walking onto this pristine campus with a totally different definition of beauty. I thought college would be relaxed and casual. After going to Catholic school for years, I was pretty excited to not be in uniform or dressed-up, but Chapman was NOT any more casual than Catholic school and it was a bit more on the skin-bearing side of the pendulum.
As we walked across Walnut from our odd parking spot near Argyros towards the dorms through swarms of beautiful people, a golf cart full of orientation assitants/leaders drove past. I swear it was like a clown car, but on a golf cart. And that golf cart carried a familiar face, my tour guide, David! Hey, I know him, I thought. I waved shyly. Then a bald guy hanging off the back end of the cart screamed at me, "WOOOOOOOO!!!! WELCOME TO CHAPMAAAAAAN!" Tongue out, shades on.
Oh my god, they're yelling at me, what do I do, I thought. This was my introverted nightmare. I'd made a mistake. Someone turn the car around. I stopped dead in my tracks. I had to say something. Think, Erin. Dammit! "Uhhhhhh....WOOO!" I yelled back, voice cracking, cart speeding away. Oh, boy.
Let me introduce you to my future husband. He was the bald, screaming dude hanging off the back of a clown-cart.
No wonder I wasn't able to pick-up the first hint.
(I'm going to take a little break from this story to get to some other topics that have been on my mind, but I promise part 4 will come before Valentine's Day. I'm not sure how long it's going to take to tell this story, so buckle-up!)