One year ago this last weekend was the first time I met the people that I now call my best friends. It was the first weekend that I decided to spend for myself - not in Madison, or up here with a visitor. I needed girl-time and was finally going to get it.
I had been looking for a book club in Appleton and finally did a Google search. What came up first was Northeast Wisconsin Women's Book Club on Meetup.com. So I clicked the link, joined the group and then continued searching around Meetup. I found a Northeast Wisconsin Girls Night Out group. Sounded interesting enough; I needed something to add to my social life.
The first Meetup I attended was Bunco. It was being held at someone's house on Stroebe Island and I was to bring a dish to pass and my own beverage. So here I am, in my car, driving very slowly by this unknown house. I'm about 15 minutes early (what a surprise) and too nervous to park just yet, so I drive around the island for a good 10 minutes before finally talking myself into just parking and going in. I had brought a 6-pack of beer, but didn't want to bring all of them in for fear of the group judging me for wanting 6 beers. So I brought in two and my chips and salsa contribution.
Well...after that night, joining the beer club at Bazils 3 days later, and then Tuesday night Happy Hour the following Tuesday, I can officially say I was hooked. I now live in that house on Stroebe Island and continue to play Bunco (sometimes), drink beer at Bazils and enjoy Tuesday night dinner club with the ladies I met one year ago.
It is mind boggling to think about all that has changed in this last year and how much of it has to do with me finally making the decision to have a Crystal-centered weekend a year ago. In just a year, many of this ladies have seen me go through difficult times, but also some of the best times of my life. We have experienced marriage, birth, and sickness together. We've seen relationships start, relationships end, and relationships grow. For some, it is hardly believable that we have only known each other for a year; it seems like we have been friends for as long as I can remember.
It is always funny when people ask how I met my group of friends - especially my roommates. I ask if the person has ever heard of Meetup...more often that not, they say no. So I say that I was looking for a book club and stumbled upon this website, and then describe is as almost an online dating site for friends. A bit of a stretch, but really the best way to describe it. I then usually try to convince them that it is legit - groups have to pay to keep their site up, members need to join Meetup before they can see any event details, and then join the specific group to see more details.
It has been a great ride so far, with the same ups and downs you come to expect with any friendships - especially those among girls. I can't wait to see what the next year of our friendships holds!