Friends from Home

Last Thursday night marked the start to an epic weekend, and the weekend was epic for a number of reasons. To start, Thursday nights are always free entry for ladies at all of the most popular bars situated on Greenville’s downtown Fifth Street strip—exciting because the bars here are always packed with lines out the door with people waiting for hours to finally make it into the party, although the bars are not nearly anything remotely similar in comparison to the goodtime bars in the Wildwoods. Secondly, the first weekend of April brought some milder, nicer weather—the sun always draws out crowds of upbeat people ready for a good time. Another reason the weekend was, and needed to be, epic was the fact my friends and I are all leaving Greenville in a month, soon to be graduating from East Carolina University in May. The countdown officially began, and this weekend marked one of the last weekends we would all share together. It was a necessity for our need to make it memorable. The last reason the weekend was such a hit was not so much a reason, but more like the icing on the cake—friends from home visited.

Okay, so they were not my group of friends from home, but one of my friend’s friends. Over ten of them. My friend informed our ECU crew of friends that her friends from home would be joining us for the entire weekend and that we needed to show them a good time.

There is always some skepticism when anyone’s friends from home come to visit. The anticipated arrival is always greeted with lingering questions. I wonder what they are going to be like? Do they like to go out? Are they friendly? And most importantly, how far am I going to have to go in order to make them feel comfortable here?

My friend informed us that we would not have to worry. Her friends from home were cool, very easy-going and always ready to have fun. Most importantly, though, her friends from home were from Jersey. A little over an hour and half away from the Wildwoods, to be precise. This eased my mind.

We met her friends at the bar. Both the boys and the girls greeted us with hugs. Real ones. Both the boys and the girls were hilarious and loud, just like our ECU crew. Instead of making them feel comfortable, they made us feel comfortable to be around them. In fact, I felt like I’ve known them for years. They reminded me of my own friends from home. When I asked for how long they have all known each other, they all answered since high school. A few met in elementary school. Some even went back as far as diapers. The fact that they all grew up together also reminded me of my friends from home, which made me miss them, and home, even more so than I already did.

That is one of the things I miss most about home—growing up with the same people for most of my life. A lot of people would hate growing up with and being surrounded by the same people every day for years, but I stand on the opposite side of the spectrum. I am lucky to have such close relationships with a lot of good people. I have experienced some of the best and worst times with some of those people. They have watched me grow, they have grown with me and they still continue to grow with me. In all aspects of my life. I don’t know if it would be that way if I came from a much larger, not so secluded town.

Like my ECU friend and her group of friends from home, I have known most of my own friends from home since I was old enough to go to school. And I am still a friend to majority of them today. And that is another thing I find so rewarding with being from the island—my friends all spread out to different states, but we somehow all manage to find our way back to where we are from, at one point or another. On our own. There is something about the island that draws us back to it every time. That has to say something.

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