Music: Closer – Tegan and Sara
Drink: H20
Mood: Chill

Make a wish upon a star, and forever trust in who you are
Let happiness be the source, and love be the force…

I’m baaaaaaaaaaack!

baaack

I’m alive, and a little heavier from constant Starbucks and pizza, after these 18 months of CPA exam studying. But its over! I’m done! And my blog can be back in action. It amazing how much free time I have now, now that I’m not studying. And before all this CPA stuff, I was SO OCD about my house. I couldn’t leave without my bed being made, floors spotless, laundry done, home immaculate. But from constantly having to study, it broke me of all that. So now, not only am I not studying, I’m not spending every waking minute cleaning, so now I have even more free time than I had before!

But enough about all that, lets get to the point of this post…

Lets go back. 10 years ago. I wore nothing but preppy frat guy clothes and Abercrombie anything.  Days revolved around recovering from the night before so I could be rested up to go out again that night. Class was a constant inconvenience on all the other things I had to do, which solely consisted of being a social butterfly and fraternity commitments (i.e. croquet, hanging out at the frat house, parties, getting ready for parties, themed parties, getting costumes for themed parties, throwing toga parties at my apt, etc).

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I was busy…

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Really busy….

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Ya know, busy not studying…

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Me and some fraternity brothers

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I obviously didn’t have time for classes

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Study group? Probably not….

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Spring breaks!

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Formals!

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Pool days followed by free drinks after? Sure!

I was about to start grad school…sometime in June? The end of July? I really wasn’t sure, cuz I really didn’t care. So I finally checked one day after searching for the crinkled information form I had in a desk drawer in my apartment, and low and behold orientation to my masters graduate program was TOMORROW. OMG.

I woke up and got ready that morning, leisurely. I lived almost directly across the street from the business school buildings so it was a quick walk. It was the first day I was meeting everyone in my Master of International Business grad school program. First impressions are important, and I would be traveling to London with these people so I wanted to look good. Pink button down, sleeves rolled up, blue seersucker shorts, flip flops (either Reefs or Rainbows), and a fratty fish belt. Done.

And…I was late. Damnit. (I MAY have stopped by Starbucks. I don’t recall. Either way, I was late.)

I opened the door to the lecture hall where my two day program orientation would be, and of course it was packed and had already started. I flung open the door and immediately ran into chairs that had been placed in the back for extra seating because there were so many people. NO. EMPTY. SEATS. CRAP.

I stood there for a brief second, trying to figure out what to do, which seemed like an eternity. The chair immediately infront of me had a backpack on it as if to save it, and the girl next to that seat could tell I didn’t know what the heck to do or what was going on. Then, the following exchange occurred with someone I had never seen before in my life:

Girl: (quietly) Here, sit here. (Motions to seat with backpack on it)

Me: That’s not my backpack.

Girl: Yes it is, sit down.

Me: No, that’s not mine, that’s not my seat…

Girl: Yeah, its your backpack, just sit here

Me: Someone is sitting there…

Girl: Just sit here, this is your backpack….

WHAT IS GOING ON!? WHAT IS SHE TALKING ABOUT!? Whose backpack and seat is this?! Why…why…WHY does she think this is mine?!

By this point I don’t want to cause any more of a ruckus, so I reluctantly sit down, fully knowing someone is going to come back and take their seat, and be pissed I moved their backpack.

I then try to quickly figure out what the head of the program is talking about, and whats going on. Everyone has all these papers and things that I don’t have. Way to go Brandon, you’re the last train to pull into the station again.

In looking around in angst and frustration, the girl next to me can realize I’m pretty much completely clueless at this point and says:

Girl: Everything is in your backpack.

MY backpack. It finally hits me as I look around. Everyone has the same backpack. Cuz one was on each seat. We all get a Masters of International Business backpack and everything we need for the two day orientation is inside.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!!!!!

I don’t recall if we had anymore exchanges, or if she saved me once again during that 2 or 3 hour morning info session, but eventually we ended up talking before or during our walk together to where our lunch was being served. I could tell she was kind and outgoing and so I decided she was going to be my buddy for the day since none of us here knew each other. Almost everyone in the program had come from either another country or another school. I think there were only a handful of us there that had done our undergrad at UF as well.

Her name was Liz, and she and I sat down at lunch and other people joined us one by one. Liz and I were happily chatting and no one else was speaking. So Liz and I made everyone go around the table and say your name and where you were from.

From that moment on, that was our group. That was our little clique. Little did we know in that moment all of us sitting around that table would travel to Dublin and London together, party together, study together. Over the next year the friendships around that lunch table grew into lifelong ones.

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Our crew in Dublin. Liz is kneeling with me. The guy in the trenchcoat kinda leached on to us for this picture.

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Part of our crew

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Happy friends

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London grad school trip

And yes, it was all Liz and Brandon’s doing 🙂

Thank God and my lucky stars I was late that day! If I had been on time I wouldn’t have been seated in that back row, and “the backpack incident” would have NEVER occurred. And a trillion things and a trillion travels in my life would have never occurred.

Since that fateful day, Liz has become one of my best and dearest friends and now lives in Paris. I went to visit her in Switzerland after grad school and now visit her in Paris often.

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Zurich

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Zurich

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First time in Paris

We have now traveled all over France together, we have had crazy nights sleeping in a double decker bus in the middle of a field, we went to the Royal Wedding, had a private photo shoot at Versailles, danced together in the streets of multiple countries, lived through the infamous “red hat night” (that night deserves its own blog post) and having my Louis Vuitton messenger bag named Rex being stolen, went biking through vineyards, via boats and trains and planes you name it and Liz and I have probably done it. She’s made me dozens of breakfasts and cups of espresso and has always been there for me, especially when I lost my favorite pair of sunglasses and cried. Oh, and have done a lot of shopping and drank a LOT of wine. We like the same things 🙂

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La Tranch Sur Mer, France

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Alone at Versailles

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Versailles

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Ill de Rey, France

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Versailles

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Kong, Paris

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Outside Buckingham Palace for the Royal Wedding

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Outside Buckingham Palace for the Royal Wedding

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Versailles

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Chateau Chenonceau, Loire Valley

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This was our home for 3 days, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, France

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Blois, France

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Liz playing the piano for me upon my arrival during one of my trips

Liz instant messaged me the other day with:

“Can you believe that it’s been 10 years since our fateful backpack incident?”

10 years. We have done so much together in 10 years. She has been a remarkable friend and hostess to me in those 10 years, and I love her dearly and can’t wait to see what adventures lie ahead in the next 10 years. And another adventure starts in just weeks, when I am off to meet her second born son on yet another trip to Paris.

And all because of a backpack sitting in my closet.

As always disco stars, wishing you champagne wishes and caviar dreams.

xo

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