Sunday, November 30, 2008

Reflecting on the Past

We anticipated the gathering for nearly a year; it was late January when we first started plotting a reunion on the Lee University InCirlce page. As quickly as that year flew by it is easy to see how we allowed ten years to slip past us. Many of us have maintained friendships within our group - best friend-ships - but other connections were lost, and for no real reason except "life". Seeing each one of you again, though, showed me that despite time and distance, we are connected through a Milestone experience, and always will be.

When I ever have to take stock of "who is Michaela?" there are a few defining moments that have helped me answer that question. Some moments are good and others are not, as I'm sure we all have examples of. But who I am, how I present myself for a first-impression, the way I combat difficulty, and the method I use for making decisions are all influenced by events in my life which have been Milestones of learning and growth. Such things are encounters with God, divorce, death, birth... and Cambridge. I believe we all could put Cambridge on our "list".

Remember the status of the Cambridge People? I remember having this pedestal on which I placed all the people walking around with Cambridge patches on their bags. These upper-classmen regaled us with stories of an entire semester spent playing by different rules: rules made just for them. Having the opportunity to go was the only club I wanted to join at Lee! Sure enough, I did enjoy that status when we returned. I loved answering questions and showing off my tattoo...

But the real effects and benefits came slowly. Every day I looked around the life I was living through a new lens, and I had to adjust my focus. The limited scope of "my future" was suddenly broadened. I wanted more for myself, something deeper and more substantial. I wanted to discover how I could truly contribute, because I felt a part of something as big as the Planet, for the first time.

When I was in Cambridge I didn't do everything that I wished I had done. There are things I regret, and that apologize to myself for doing, or not doing. It was not the perfect trip. But I learned so much from my own awkwardness, more than I have from the things I did right. The greatest benefit of learning those lessons in Cambridge, though, were the 25 of you who were there with me. We learned together! We learned through interaction with each other. Whether it was learning how to race down a busy left-lane-driving highway on a bicycle (intimidating!), or how to react when in tight quarters with 19 other women... month after month! We missed our families and homes, we missed our boyfriends and girlfriends, we hurt each others' feelings, we spent too much money (on some things we no longer have), we took pictures of things we don't remember, and we said things we wish we could forget.

But I'll never regret each one of you. For the last ten years I have told the tales of Cambridge and have carried the wisdom gained into all areas of life. Through the telling, the story has almost become just "mine", and I forget that the person I am is because of each one of YOU! Spending that afternoon together on November 8 reminded me of that. Every one of you had a hand in participating in who I've become. Thank you so much for that! It was my honor to plan the reunion because you all are instruments of my Cambridge Milestone.

The 20-year reunion will be on Jesus Green; so bring your Peppercorns and meet us there!

Regarding the slide-show, I'd be happy to mail anyone a copy! send me your address if you'd like one (and I'll be sure to correct all the typos before it goes out!).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Final Count (Down)

Well, old friends, I am *so excited* about homecoming! After who-knows-how-long I'm back in touch with Sarah (Walker) Cuison, and she just sent some photos that blew me away. My camera broke on Independent Travel, so a picture of me in front of Rome's Colosseum... was the first I'd ever seen!! I just had to stop and stare.

When we get together, we all are going to remind each other of memories we didn't know we'd forgotten.

Have you registered for Homecoming, yet?

All the funds for this event are being handled through the alumni office, so you don't have to worry about me getting my grubby hands on it! You'll pay for this event the same way you would any other reunion event (meaning if you're last-minute, you can still register late). You can go to this link: Lee University Homecoming. You can register for all events here (sports, entertainment, food, this reunion, the 5K, etc.), and also find hotel information (I'll be at the Baymont!).

By October 30 I need to give a near-final headcount. So, are you coming, Dave?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The News!

Alright my friends, hopefully you have all received your homecoming information in the mail, but if you have not, I wanted to let you know our information is live on the Lee University Homecoming Website:

There is also another page where you can indicate "yes" you are coming to the reunion:

We are all set for this event. It will be fairly simple, really just a dinner among friends with time to look at photos and re-tell stories. There may not be as much of a program like we girls planned on Valentine's Day, but I guarantee the story-telling will be just as fun!

After dinner everyone is welcome to make their own plans. I know Some people would like to attend other Homecoming events on campus, and others have children to put to bed, but I would like to open the invitation to maybe go out afterwards.

Or, as Sir Walter Hooper said it after the Lewis Society Meeting in Oxford, "Please adjourn with us to the Bird and Baby for refreshments as we continue our discussion."

Now, since we're a month out I'm currently making menu selections. I requested a "British" style menu for old times' sake, and that the children eat for free. So, when you send in $20 per person do NOT pay for your kids! If you all had teenagers we I could charge, but everyone has babies and toddlers, so the caterer is providing some kid-friendly options at no-charge. As for us, we'll get an elegant dinner, but every caterer is restricting our options (must be the busy-ness of the day). There will be ONE entree option for the whole group.

Chicken, beef or pork?

They all look good to me!!

Here's my count:

No Answer:

Dave Wiley
Chris Souza
Laura Page Hayden
Paul Van Fleet (still cannot contact!)


Erin Smith Vile
Cadle McGowan Edwards
Tiffany James
Tiffani McLuhan Reid
Whitney Bolding Bradbury
Amanda Osborne


Me :)
Sarah Walker
Jo Cline Chumley
Sara Lamagna Turner
Fred Wiechman
RaeAnna Hooper Goss
Tamara Taylor Humphres
Erin Cole Shyamji


Erica Parrish Caskey
Rob Moorehouse
Jessica Palmer Edgerton
Lindy Whitter
Jeni Weil Grieger
Angela Baldasaro
Brandon Decker
Rosemary Rutland Starr

If any of this is wrong, it's not too late to change your answer! I just need to offer a tentative headcount ASAP.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

So Cool!

Anita Ray has done us such a solid on this one. We've got the room! (see post below) We'll be catered by Sodexo... but don't worry! Remember how their catering was always tastier than the Deacon Jones? The cost is a whopping $20 per person. Also, Mrs. Ray scanned in that first photo of us. Now if only I could Photoshop "Richelle" out and Tiffani in!

Please let me know if you can come so I can begin the food-getting process.

Pictures, I need pictures! In my personal photos I don't have very many of people. I think I thought I would "get copies" from all ya'll. Didn't we all think that?!?! So any great pictures you have of the crew, please share! Especially of special days, like soccer on Jesus Green. As much as I love the scenery, we don't need a ton of pictures of that. It hasn't changed much! If you have a really distinctive shot of the landscape you can share, of course.

I love all of you guys so much!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back to School

Hard to believe our summer is coming to an end! (Of course, here in central Georgia it's still as hot as ever). With school beginning, though, it makes November and homecoming seem a little closer!

What I've ended up deciding for us is to do this reunion where it ought to be: on campus. It's so economical, they can supply all our needs, and it's the University which brought us all together in the first place. Anita Ray has been happy to help, and is including us in her brochure of reunions around campus. We'll be on the 2nd floor of the new Leonard Center (no clue where that one is), and of course it will be catered.

Now, this doesn't give us a hotel discount. In order to procure a discount generally a block of 10 rooms has to be reserved, and I don't think we have 10 couples who are certainly needing a hotel. However, since we don't have to pay for a room-rental fee, the overall cost is much lower.

So: On Saturday, November 8 at 4:00 we have a reunion scheduled! I hope that you all can be there, but understand not everyone will make it. However, can I get you all to tell me if there's a possibility or not? There are some of you who I haven't heard anything from at all! tough crowd...

RaeAnna sent me some fabulous pictures via shutterfly that completely took me back (I know we think we have all the same photos, but we don't!). Unfortunately, though, I can't manipulate pictures sent on a sight like that. All I can do is order prints, etc.

What I want to do is have all the photos on my computer, so that I can make a slide show using my software. I don't mind you emailing me pictures, but I understand that can take a while if you have a lot to upload. Perhaps placing your pictures in a .zip file would help, though. Finally, if you use Yahoo, then you can upload pictures to Flikr, and if you use Gmail you can upload to Picasa: both of these enable me to "down load" your photos onto my computer. If you don't use either of those... I'm sure we can come up with something!

I began scanning pictures yesterday, and it is not so simple... I understand. Maybe we'll just put together a highlight reel? Pictures of kids and marriages and "where are they now" are also welcomed!

Finally: does anyone have any idea how to find Paul Van Fleet? I know he graduated from Southeastern University in Lakeland, and I even saw a write-up about him on the alumni page for that school, but no luck in finding his contact information. He and Sarah Walker are the last ones...

Friday, July 18, 2008


Today we pray for blessings for Johanna and her child (she's delivering through a c-section today). Also, we are blessed because we're finding old friends! First we connected with Angela (thank you Facebook!) and now we've found Laura, too! It feels so good to be in touch; I guess this is what reunions are about. Thirdly, we can rejoice in the blessings our girl Lindy and her husband Joel have experienced in their recent move to Kauai (talk about a change of pace from Minnesota!).

By the way, thanks for giving me confirmations, those of you who have been able to. I'm tallying that list, and hope to have everyone's set plan by late August. At that point I can firmly make arrangements. You guys are seriously reminding me of planning my wedding!

Music: All I can say is "Oh-oh-oh, the sweetest thing!" and also those of us at the back of the bus singing "As the Deer" all the time... (tough crowd).

Pictures: Please send them to me digitally. I'm going to compose a slide-show on the glorious Mac, and so CD's are good, so is web-hosting (make sure they're big), and emailing. Since this is a Google blog application, perhaps using Picasa - for those of you gmailers out there - would make transferring them easier.

And God's blessing to all the rest of you, too!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Looking Good

We've got some excellent options for our reunion!

First: Anita Ray has said she'd be happy to find us a room on campus (maybe in one of those crazy new buildings they didn't used to have), but I don't know what the terms/conditions are for that.

Second: The Museum Center at Five Points has a pretty cool room for rent where we could have a catered meal, and the price is good. Fortunately catering is also fairly cheap in Cleveland.

Thirdly: The Holiday Inn has a room available, too, and they will cater. They're a little pricier than the others (though still reasonable) *but* they are offering room-rates of $64 a night for our guests.

If there is a good number of us present (i.e. 40 people), then we can probably make this work at a cost of $75 per couple, and $50 per single person. Since all of our children are very young they don't affect costs. This charge would cover the room at the Holiday Inn, with their catering, and such a reservation will guarantee us a good overnight room-rate.

However, if we end up being a much smaller group, then we probably will do just fine on campus.

And if there's only about eight of us we're going to O'Charlie's.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Do I need to ask...

... But is it wrong for me not to invite Dr. Hoffman? I'm happy to let him know we are meeting, if the group feels like we should. But it hadn't even crossed my mind before today! Is that bad? Should we invite him?

Second: Can I get a count of who among you will be needing a hotel room?

Thirdly: I know we traveled before the days of digital cameras (for many of us), but I would like to do a slide show of pictures for us all to enjoy. It seems easier than lugging a photo album to show over and over again. What I'm hoping for is:
  • scanned copies of your favorite pictures from Cambridge, captions included;
  • milestone pictures of you over the last ten years;
  • and songs that remind you of Cambridge (if you have the mp3 send it, otherwise titles will do)
Fourthly(?): I really would love to have Erica's video! or any other token of memorabilia you might want to share again.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Time and Date

Homecoming this year will be the weekend of Friday, November 7 through Sunday, November 9, 2008. This is a good year for us to meet in Cleveland, I think, because it shouldn't be a reunion-year for any of us. The schedule for homecoming is not available yet, so I don't know if there are events, Greek club gathering, or performances any of you are interested in attending. For the sake of argument here's what I'm proposing we do:

On Saturday, November 8th we get together with our families in the evening and enjoy a catered meal together. I'd like to have some sort of presentation of photos and memories and speeches (more information on that soon). This provides people with the option of traveling after work Friday and leaving Sunday if they need to, and also gives folks some time to enjoy Lee's Homecoming events.

I'm not anticipating the costs to exceed anything we would pay to just go out and have dinner somewhere together. In fact, I am checking out restaurants with private dining rooms.

Our other option is to use a hotel meeting/reception room and then have caterers come in.

Anyone have a membership to the Country Club? (haha)

PLEASE! Let me know if you have any problems with these plans (or if you have any of our missing email addresses)...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nailing Down a Place

Today I would like to make some strides towards nailing down a location for this reunion. There are some factors, though, to consider in choosing a place.

1: How many of us will there be? This is a reunion, so PLEASE bring your families! I can't imagine anything nicer than meeting everyone's spouses and children.

2: Are we interested in having some English pints available, or should this be a more campus-friendly Lee event? Clearly, in light of "please bring your children", I'm not suggesting a keg-party style reunion. I could see some sophisticated beer and wine, though.

3: If we block rooms at a hotel, we may also be given meeting space. I know I will be getting a hotel, and if there are at least ten rooms (usually) there's a price-break. This is a time-sensitive option (those who've planned a wedding know!), but I think one worth considering.

4: If we get a room at Lee, it may not be expensive, if anything at all. But if we are reserving hotel rooms regardless, having the celebration right there ain't a bad idea.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Getting Started

Hello, old friends! It's difficult for me to believe that it has been nearly ten years since we traveled together for that semester in Cambridge. On the one had it still feels kind of fresh in my mind as an event that remains relevant and frequently thought of. On the other hand I look at my passport which expires this year, and the fact there are no new European stamps, and I feel ten years older. In our own ways we've maintained a good network and I believe all 26 of us are probably still in touch, but here's a little help!
Welcome to the Cambridge class of 1999 Ten Year Reunion blog. You'll all be authorized to post blogs if you choose to, and of course leave messages. I'm taking it upon myself to get this thing organized, so here's what I'm thinking so far:

This November (2008) we can attend the Lee University homecoming and use it as a rendezvous point. I would try to get us a hotel with a meeting space to have a nice big party in: food, slide projector, speeches, and meeting each others' families.

Seems like a fine idea, but will it be too packed in Cleveland? Is Cleveland a place we'd all like to go anyway? Should we meet actually in 2009? I guess it could be any time between January and April, right?

Obviously the premier location would be Cambridge, the Hamilton Hotel, and a picnic on Jesus Green, but I doubt this is the reunion for that. Maybe in ten more years!

There is plenty to think about, so please share your thoughts, and welcome back!