(hanging out in a fountain: photo stolen from the lovely Katelin and edited by me)
Needless to say, this past weekend was one of the greatest in the history of weekends. I am not even kidding. It's hard to put into words, because I'm still so in awe of how wonderful everything was. Throughout the weekend, I had to keep reminding myself how incredibly lucky I am. To be surrounded by so many incredible, hilarious, gorgeous, encouraging people. And how I would have never known any of these people if it wasn't for this blog. And really? That's amazing. Completely random, yet amazing. The whole weekend I felt like my heart was going to explode with love. I'm not even kidding.
I mean, how did we successfully bring together a group of more than twenty people that met each other online, and not have at least one creepy, awkward, deranged serial killer in the bunch? That may have brought the happiness vibe down a few notches, had that been the case. Seriously.
When I was all packed up and ready to leave on Friday, I was just standing at the door, too nervous and excited to leave. All I could think of was, "What if these girls don't like me as much when we meet in person? What if I get nervous? What if I'm awkward? What if we don't get along? What if I drink too much and end up doing something ridiculous like performing Hanson's entire Middle of Nowhere album on Las Vegas Boulevard?" (Actually, in hindsight, that last one isn't a bad idea.) Anyway, as I was standing there, Jay kept telling me to just go. He kept reminding me that I was going to come back on Sunday saying how they were the greatest people ever and that I'd had the most incredible time.
That was the kick I needed to get out the door and actually on the road. I knew what he was saying was right.
When I arrived (four hours later) and finally made it from the parking lot, to check-in, through the labrynth that is The Luxor's casino, to the awkwardly shaky elevator, to our room that was borderline cave-like, I was more than ready to chug a glass of wine and try to calm my jitters before meeting up with everyone. I gathered my nerves, then headed downstairs to meet up with everyone that had arrived thus far. From that moment on, I knew that I had no reason to be nervous.
Some of my favorite moments included:
- spending a few hours at the pool each morning.
- a buffet the first night with (almost!) everyone in attendance.
- everyone taking a million photos (which is good, because for once, I didn't feel the need to lug my camera around with me everywhere).
- bonding in the hotel room until 2:30 in the morning the first night - talking about everything and being completely and utterly content.
- mornings at Starbucks.
- finding the greatest happy hour everrrr, not to mention America's #1 Bathroom.
- reenacting SNL skits in America's #1 Bathroom (RICK!).
- McDonalds at midnight.
- having the best roomie ever.
- hanging out in a fountain - no, really, it was amazing.
There were a million little wonderful things that happened, and I would go over every moment in great detail, but I don't think I could possibly find the words! I think that what touched me the most, was the fact that this gathering truly felt more like a reunion than many of us meeting for the first time. It's odd, never having actually spoken with someone or heard their actual voice, but feeling absolutely no reservations when you actually do. Someone mentioned feeling absolutely surrounded with love all weekend, and leaving feeling richer than they'd ever imagined. And that is exactly how I would describe it.
I've never been a girl who has a huge group of friends. There have always been just two or three people at each point in my life (aside from my family) who I feel truly close to. That's just how I've always been, and although I'm generally okay with that and realize that much of it is a result of my personality, I've always been a bit envious of people who can count their best friends on both their hands. And I have to admit, that is what I kept thinking about the whole drive home. I realized that all weekend, I was surrounded by people who made me feel so incredibly happy, understood and loved. The whole time I was in Vegas, everywhere I turned was someone else that I just couldn't wait to talk to, to laugh with, to hug. Everywhere I turned, there was another group of people who, although we are different in our own ways, are very much the same. We get each other. And I feel like I left counting my best friends on both my hands - and then some.
So, thank you for helping me be that girl. It means the world to me.
And as for all of you who wanted to be there but just couldn't be? You were incredibly missed, and next year I'm saving you a spot next to me where we will share many glasses of $5 wine. And then? We will go get all up in Pavarotti's business:Why? Because, obviously, that's what bloggers in Las Vegas do. Amen.