I was a little nervous as I got on my first plane to begin my trip to Savannah. I can be very quiet and reserved when surrounded by strangers and well with the exception of Jen I had never met anyone else before. We had interacted by email, twitter, facebook and of course our blogs but I was about to spend a whole weekend with people I had simply met online.
My journey to Savannah was great, I got upgraded to first class on my flight into New Jersey. Does that not say a great time ahead?
Savannah/Hilton Head airport has a staff that is super friendly and helpful. I don't see a lot of payphones at home (read: can't remember the last time I saw one) I don't know why I was expecting to see them in Savannah but hey. I asked one of the ladies at the information desk to point me to the pay phone so I could just let Jen know where I was. They were both really sweet they helped me make my call right from the desk all without laughing in my face for thinking payphones still exist.
I did some people watching while I waited for Jen to pick me up all the while thinking "yes it's finally happening". I was in Savannah, it was Friday and I was just a few short hours away from meeting everyone!!!!!!!
Jen and I got to the house first, it was a little surreal to realise that this was really happening. We did a little mini tour, dropped our bags upstairs and then I was banned to the downstairs while Jen worked on a surprise upstairs. I didn't mind, I got a chance to myself to just take it all in and take a couple pictures.
Beth Anne came not long after. We checked out the chicken coop and Jen saw an egg and wanted to get a closer look. I think one of the chickens tried to stop the paparazzi moment and another just wanted to get out.
|The escape artists|
|Going in for the shot|
The others were running a little late so we just hung out. Jen finished up with her surprise and we got a very mini sneak peak in that it was just there to torture us :). We could look in or touch but Jen hung the totes (our surprise) in the hall but I was just so excited for everyone else to get there. Tweets and 'grams were posted, texts were sent and finally we were all together.
I was not quiet or reserved, in all the excitement I was just happy to see and meet everyone. Hugs, hellos and introductions were just going around. As I type this I wonder what the neighbours were thinking all these crazy women all happy and excited on the sidewalk. I think "10 passenger van Dave" was hopeful.
We let the long travellers get some precious A/C while we checked out our totes, discussed our adventures in getting to Savannah and decided what to do for dinner.
Stop on the totes for a minute. Jen and Morgan did an amazing job on these things. I wasn't expecting anything and it was so sweet of them to even think of doing this for us.
The design was done by Rakhi from Pitter Patter Diaries and Rakstar Designs and I love it. Inside we had a lovely bracelet from Cindy over at The Veil of Chastity, it was super sweet of her to think of us. It's beautiful and the verse from Prv 3:5 is just perfect. Cindy, thank you for being such a great inspiration and encouragement to us. There were some other goodies that were in the bags as well, Jen and Morgan are having a giveaway for an extra bag that so check them out for your chance to win.
Back to Savannah.....
We had a dinner at this great hole-in-the-wall BBQ place. We had mostly all met less than 2 hours and there we were having dinner, talking and laughing like old friends. It was amazing.
Our group split in two for a little while as a few of us went to the grocery store. I have never had such an luxurious experience at the supermarket, gotta be a southern thing. Seriously we need to live closer to each other.
|The most luxurious supermarket in all of Savannah|
Back at the house we played balderdash and talked and ate M&Ms. The imagination on these people, I don't think I've laughed like that in a while. I have to get that game.
Sharing the bathroom and getting ready for bed felt perfectly natural. Talking to Rachel while brushing my teeth, scooting over to give Joan some counter space. It was hard to believe we had just met that evening. I felt totally at ease and relaxed.
Saturday we had tentatively decided the night before we would check out the beach but I think that would have requires us to leave the house before 1 p.m. No, we didn't oversleep. We talked. Around 7 we all started coming down grabbing coffee and breakfast, just filing into the living room. No plan, no outline we just started talking to each other, everyone just fit in and joined in as they come in. At some point we said we should get ready to go out yet somehow we ended up talking even more this time in Jen and Morgan's room. It was awesome!!!!!
We finally headed out, had lunch and enjoyed the riverfront and downtown. It was great exploring Savannah, goofing off and having fun.
|All of us on the Historic Steps|
|Joan and I|
|The Waving Girl|
|Morgan and Jen|
Later we went to Vigil Mass at the Cathedral of St John. It was really special to attend Mass with everyone.
We got kicked out of the church for a wedding, unfortunately we didn't get to see the bride. We had to hightail it out of there before the rain came down. We were able to take refuge in a little coffee/wine shop. I loved our time there, no one would believe that we had only met in person the day before. One of the highlights of the trip for me. Of course we talked some more, we laughed, it was the most natural thing, friends just hanging out waiting out the rain.
At the suggestion of one or a couple of the coffee shop guys we went to Chive for a seafood dinner. Live music, great atmosphere and yummy food. The company of course was top notch. I'll just say we enjoyed a walk back to the parking garage the long way.
We got back home, talked some more and prayed our St Anne novena before bed.
Sunday, the last day, a sad day. We had to leave by 10 but we still had breakfast and some small talk. Morgan made us breakfast from the eggs our chickens laid. We had six of them.
Goodbyes are sad. We raced to get everything cleaned up and packed so we could leave on time. We took a few last minute pictures and hugged goodbye. We prayed the St Anne novena out in the driveway. We hugged each other goodbye again before heading off in different directions.
Jen, Joan and I were headed to Florida where Joan and I would spend an extra night before heading home. It was sad saying goodbye to everyone else but it was nice that we got that extra time together.
We did a little tourist thing stopping off at Peach World. It was a learning experience the things you can make with peaches. We stopped off at Cracker Barrel for lunch, my first time and it was delicious. We also rocked out in the car to some 80's music, some Whitney Houston and some more modern hits. Of course we talked some more. I could talk to these girls forever.
We hit up the beach on Monday morning. Joan tried paddle boarding, so brave. Joan and I had Chick-Fil-A for the first time for lunch before heading to the airport where we had to say yet another sad goodbye to Jen.
Luckily Joan and I were in the same terminal so we got to stay and hang out until Joan's flight.
Even as I was excited for this trip and really looking forward to it I really didn't know what to expect but this was exactly what I needed. I loved the conversations I had with these girls. I loved meeting them and really getting to know them beyond their blogs and Mary Grace who does not blog.
Since the beginning I have loved the community that NAS has given me, now to meet people in person, spend the weekend with them, have them share their hearts with me and to share my heart with them. It was a truly blessed and priceless weekend. I love how comfortable it all felt. How easy and natural it was. How real and genuine friendships were made.
Thank you Jen and Morgan for organising this, for getting us all together. Thank you Joan, Katie, Beth Anne, Rachel and Mary Grace for coming and making this the great weekend that it was. Thank you for the laughs, the conversations and being there to pray with.
You guys who couldn't make it you were missed, we thought of you and I look forward to meeting you all sometime.
Check out the experiences of all who made it to Savannah. Visit Jen for the link-up.