Well it's Friday, and I survived my first few days back at work after my birthday trip to Portugal. The trip was a great re-charge and I am excited for some fun upcoming events over the next few months. This weekend my friend Tricia is coming to visit me in the Burgh. Then on Friday, Ortie from the USA will be coming for a two week holiday, and we are travelling together to Morocco to celebrate her 27th birthday. With the warmer weather and longer days, live is so great right now! As I was looking at my calendar, I realized that tomorrow is April 16. For many people, April 16 is just another day, but for me every April 16 I will forever and always remember one of the places I love most in this world, Blacksburg, Virginia. It's funny how sometimes you can think back to a specific date and time, and know exactly where you were in that moment. And I remember waking up in Blacksburg on Monday morning, April 16, 2007 after having a great weekend with friends in the town I called my home for 5 years. I had made a life in this town, and my friends who were as close as family and I celebrated Blacksburg in all of it's full glory that weekend. I had just finished my master's degree and was headed up to Northern Virginia that morning for a job interview, when I heard on my car radio that there had been a shooting on campus. I was about 15 minutes outside of town, and my heart sank. The drive from Blacksburg to Northern Virginia was 4 hours, and believe me when I tell you those were the longest 4 hours of my life. As soon as I arrived at home, I ran inside to watch the news, and on every single channel they were broadcasting live from the campus of Virginia Tech. My home had changed in a matter of minutes that morning. It's really hard for me to write about what happened that day, and the 32 fellow hokies that we lost will never be forgotten.
But this Flashback Friday isn't about what happened on April 16, 2007, it's a tribute to one of the greatest places in the world, Blacksburg Virginia and to a group of people who exist in this world in the great Hokie Nation family. This blog post is the Hokies all over the world, who come together as a family on April 16, no matter where they are to remember a town and a University that has affected so many people's lives in a number of positive ways.
I will never forget my first trip to Blacksburg. I was 16 and took a road trip with a group of boys I worked with in high school. As we drove down highway 81, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but after spending 48 hours in this town, I was sold. This is where I wanted to go to school, and I had never been more sure of anything in my life. From the moment I stepped on campus, it was love at first sight. The buildings all covered in Hokie Stone, the massive Lane Stadium, and of course, the town and people who called themselves Hokies, I knew I wanted to experience it all. Looking back I know now that without a doubt in my mind I was meant to go to Virginia Tech. Those 5 years I spent in Blacksburg were some of the greatest years of my life, and I have made life long friendships, gained 2 degrees, and became a true Hokie. If you have read Eat Pray Love, you may know that Elizabeth Gilbert writes about how we all have labels. Mother, daughter, friend, lover, companion, these are all labels we can place on ourselves. But for me, the label of Hokie is one I wear proudly, in fact it is a true honor to be called a Hokie. I am sure some of you out there can't fully understand what a Hokie is, but for those of you who know what I am talking about, my fellow hokie nation, you have forever changed my life.
There are so many great memories I have from my time at Virginia Tech. The night we beat Miami on a Thursday night and rushed the field, the annual snowball fight on the quad after the first big snow of the season, being called a local Big Al's, riding around town in the hooptie ride, cabo fish taco, tubing down the new river, tailgating and playing corn hole, and one the proudest moments of my life- walking across the stage in the Colosseum to accept my Undergrad and Masters degree from the professors who mentoed me through academic career. All I can say is, Thank You Hokie Nation. Thank you for making my time in Uni some of the best years of my life. Tomorrow morning, on April 16, I will proudly dress in my hokie attire in honor of you Virginia Tech. As as we like to say in the Hokie nation, I will forever bleed maroon and orange.
One of my best friends who I went to Tech with, Adrian, put this up on her facebook this week, and I really liked her message. A- this one is for you;
''I ask each of you to take the time to be a HOKIE this week. Appreciate life a little more, take in every moment around you, count your blessings, tell the people around you that you love them, slow down, remember what's truly important in life, and live for those 32 HOKIES that can't be with us any more.''
♥ HOKIE LOVE ♥
Until Next time, this hokie will see you on the internet!