Senior Portraits + Missing Friends I’ve Never Even Met

Graduation announcement photoI finished high school in May, but I’m still getting used to the idea that I’m DONE. I think part of the issue is my lack of a graduation ceremony – not that I’m complaining, though. One of the homeschool support groups in my area held a large ceremony for grads and I could have gone, but I chose not to because… well, because I didn’t know any of the people who would be there!

So instead, my family went out for dinner on the night I graduated, and that was fun, and… that’s it. Until now. My open house is today, and now it finally feels like I’ve actually graduated, because this is the last specific-to-high-school activity I have before I head off to college!

(Side note: I think in other countries, open houses are called “grad parties”? I was telling some of my friends about my upcoming open house the other day and they had no clue what I was talking about. Basically you invite family and friends and usually a few of your favorite teachers, and there’s food, and, like… IDK, a display of any academic awards you’ve won, and photos of you throughout your years in school? And this is usually at your house, but it doesn’t have to be. People can drop in at any time in the afternoon, hence the term open house. Also, they’re hosted by individual families, not the school.)

So, anyway. We’ve been very busy this past week and ESPECIALLY yesterday, setting things up. (Oh my god, assembling the 20′ x 20′ tent was quite the adventure. That took a while.) And today is the day of my open house, FINALLY!

It’s quite nice to be able to relax and hang out and smell the ridiculously yummy scents emanating from the pulled pork sandwiches and talk to my cousins whom I haven’t seen in forever.

It’s quite nice to spend time with my friends – I haven’t seen them, either, in a long time, due to the distance between our towns or to their health issues. I am ridiculously excited for my sleepover tonight because A) I haven’t had one since my sixteenth birthday party and B) it’ll be AWESOME to have more than one friend to hang out with.

And yet I can’t help feeling that there are people missing from this open house.

I didn’t invite a ton of people – we’re expecting anywhere from thirty-six to fifty people, depending on which families show up – and that’s OK. I’m an introvert, I don’t need to be SURROUNDED by TONS of people!

But I still feel like people are missing. Most of the guests are my relatives, and then there are a bunch of adults who influenced my school years in one way or another, and then there are a couple of friends.

DSC_0158Very few of my friends will be at my open house, actually. I’m NOT trying to downplay the importance of the friends who will be there, because I love them and they are awesome, but at the same time… they make up a very small percentage of my total group of friends.

I wish I could invite you guys – my readers! Seriously, online friendships are SO WEIRD in that you can grow really really close to someone without ever meeting up face-to-face. I talk to some of you EVERY SINGLE DAY, and we’re so close that sometimes I find it hard to believe that we live hundreds or even thousands of miles apart.

It feels weird to be celebrating without you. It feels weird to not be able to walk over to your house and just hang out and talk. We’d have the same conversations that we have via Facebook and texts and whatnot, it’s true, but it would be SO COOL to actually have a face-to-face conversation for once.

It feels weird that I’m not there with you people to celebrate birthdays and Christmas and New Year’s Eve and graduations. It feels weird that we can’t go trick-or-treating together or sleep over at each other’s houses. Seriously, I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve told someone, “Oh, I’ll loan you my copy of [insert book here]! I’ll go over to your house and bring it with me.” And then I realize they live in Australia or Ireland or Canada or somewhere else very very far away from me, and hanging out IRL just isn’t possible at this time in our lives because DISTANCES ARE ANNOYING.

I wish you could be here. I wish we could hang out and eat my blue-and-purple graduation cake and talk about anything and everything. But I have to accept that that’s impossible right now.

Someday, though? Someday it’ll totally be possible. There may not be graduation cake involved, though. (The lady at the store assured us that buttercream frosting freezes well but hey, cake doesn’t last forever.) Still. It’ll be awesome, cake or no cake. Someday we can meet up and have ridiculous conversations and maybe even celebrate something.

P.S. I thought it would be fitting to show you my senior portraits today! The first picture was taken by the woman who is in charge of my county’s 4-H photography project. She’s also the leader of my local 4-H club… and she takes senior portraits each year for her graduating members! (For free! YAY. Professional photographers are ridiculously expensive.)

The second photo was taken by my dad, who sparked my interest in photography in the first place. We did a photo shoot at the Indiana Dunes (and locations nearby – we also took a bunch of pictures at the Chellburg Farm area) and it was fun! But VERY WINDY. Hence why my hair looks a bit windblown and weird. (I have very excitable hair that goes “WHEEEEE!” whenever there’s even a slight breeze.)

So, anyway. I thought you might like to see some more recent photos of me since I haven’t posted any in quite a while! (The picture on my about page is from 2012, for example.) Also, I’ve been thinking – maybe I should do senior portraits next spring/summer after I’ve wrapped up my first year of college! I know a bunch of incoming seniors, and this would be a good way to further practice my photography skills… and maybe, um, to make some money. Because I am a wee college student and my Real Job only pays minimum wage, but tuition is ridiculously expensive.

About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
This entry was posted in Homeschooling, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Senior Portraits + Missing Friends I’ve Never Even Met

  1. matttblack42 says:

    Ah, yes. I know your pain. I have frequently imagined myself on a plane, where the passenger next to me just happens to be a blogger I follow. With you, I’ve imagined the situation going like this:

    The girl sitting next to me looks suspiciously like Engie. Knowing that the odds of this being her are very slim, I decide not to say anything. Instead, I give her a sly look.

    Engie gives me a sly look back. “Why are you staring at me?” she asks. “Please stop.”

    I apologize, then turn back to looking out the window. (I have the window seat, obviously.) After a few minutes of relative silence, I will casually pull The Miseducation of Cameron Post out of my backpack and start reading it, subtly glancing towards Engie for a reaction.

    Having originally thought I was a creepy McCreeperson, Engie begins to reconsider her opinion of me as she realizes I have excellent taste in literature. She makes small talk about the book.

    “Oh, yeah,” I say, as casual as possible. “This is my favorite book ever. Except for maybe V for Vendetta, or A Game of Thrones.”

    We immediately start geeking out about all the books, and spend the entire fourteen hour flight talking about Agatha Christie and The Raven Cycle and Doctor Who and so on and so forth. I show her the first episode of Orange is the New Black, which gets her hooked on the show forever. We have a brief argument over how good of a companion Clara Oswald is, but that is immediately forgotten once the conversation shifts towards Maisie Williams being in season 9.

    At the end of the flight we get off and are about to go our separate ways, but Engie realizes she forgot to ask my name. “Who are you?!” she calls across the street, as I’m about to get into a cab.

    “I’m Matt,” I say, making sure to pause at times for dramatic effect. “Short for Matthew. Matthew . . . Black.”

    Engie gasps. A bus crosses the street, and once it passes both me and the cab I was getting in have disappeared. “I think I just met one of my favorite bloggers,” she says to her mother beside her.

    “What are you talking about?” says Engie’s mom.

    “You know, the guy I was sitting next to on the plane?”

    Engie’s mom gives her a concerned look. “I was sitting right behind you, Sweetheart, and there was no one in the seat next to you.”

    • matttblack42 says:

      Wow, this comment was long.

    • nevillegirl says:


      • matttblack42 says:

        So glad you liked it. As I read your post I came to realization that I *needed* to write that comment. Twas my destiny, I dare say.

        Also, I don’t know your mother, but for some reason I imagined that she likes to call you Sweetheart. I’m hoping that part was accurate as well. (That would be a little too weird if it was, though.)

    • nevillegirl says:

      Thanks for writing it… it was amazing. πŸ˜›

  2. orphu44 says:

    I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but happy graduation! *confetti* I hope your open house goes well!
    Although honestly, with the grad open house, it’s not so much that we call it something different, but that we don’t have it, to my knowledge? ‘Grad party’ just makes me think of like. the grad kidnapping or some such.
    And /same/ about Distance. You are too far away. (Except there will be cake when we meet. I will make sure of it. Although I can’t really do anything about it being graduation cake.)
    Also you’re very pretty thank you for sharing your face!


    Lol I’ve never heard of an open house – we don’t have those here. Just lots of parties once school (finally) finishes πŸ™‚ But yeah, I know what you mean about online friends. The lucky thing for me is that a lot of the friends I’ve made on here are Aussie book bloggers, many of whom don’t even live that far away from me (some I’ve even met at blogger events!). But then there are people like you who live MUCH too far away, haha. Stupid geography ruining everything.

  4. Cait @ Paper Fury says:

    YES OMG YES I MISS MY FRIENDS I’VE NEVER MET IN PERSON. You have no idea how much I wanna come over to your house and binge-watch Game of Thrones and possibly eat copious amounts of chocolate as comfort through the trauma. XD I’m horrible at having friends IRL, but stillllll I feel like I know my internet friends SO WELL and it’s weird how, for most of them, I’ll probs never meet them. *heavy sigh*
    OH BUT HAPPY GRADUATION OPEN-HOUSE DAY!!! I’ve actually never heard of that custom and it sounds really nice and celebratory! AND PURPLE AND BLUE CAKE. *quietly invites self over* When I graduated…I don’t think we did anything. xD It’s never been a big deal in my family. We probably had ice cream or something, omg, my swiss cheese memory cannot even think. xD
    AHhhh, but I hope it’s a good day for you and love the graduation pictures!!

    • nevillegirl says:

      !!!! YES YES YES! I totally wish you could come over and watch GoT with me and I’d just laugh my head off when you get overly attached to characters who end up dying horrible deaths. πŸ˜›

      I know, right?! I feel like I suck at having IRL friends… I always feel super awkward around them, but SO comfortable with my online friends.

      *gives you a giant piece of blue and purple cake because we still have a ridiculous amount of it left*

      Aww, double thank you! πŸ˜€

  5. SpunFromInk says:

    Someone else who calls it an open house! I live in Michigan, and my friend who moved to Pittsburgh for school says that she seems to be the only person who calls it that. Also, congratulations on graduation!

  6. I wish I could meet all of the people I follow, the people on YWP, and so many more! Everyone is just awesome, and I wish we could just all meet up. Lovely post.

  7. Nirvana says:

    I KNOW THE FEELING. It’s like you know the person online so well, about their individual lives and so on, but as for meeting? Thousands of miles away, and yet you still know them enough to talk to them everyday. And ooh, congrats on graduation ❀

    • nevillegirl says:

      *nodnod* That’s such a weird feeling. Every so often I’m like, “Wait, I’ve never spent time with them IRL? But we know so many weird little things about one another! WHAT. WHYYY.”
      Thank you! πŸ™‚

  8. Mo says:

    !!! I’ve said this before, but YOU LOOK REALLY CUTE. ❀

    …I was under the impression that these types of shindigs are called graduation parties? Like, an open house is a style of party, but not necessarily for graduating people. In any case, I hope you have fun!

    • nevillegirl says:

      *blush* If you say so. ❀

      Actually, judging by some of the other comments on this post, I think "open house" might be specific to my area, and not the US as a whole? IDK, but I've literally never heard it called anything other than an open house. I've been receiving a lot of invitations both through snail mail and Facebook and everyone I know is referring to their party as their open house, sooo… IDK. MAYBE WE'RE JUST WEIRD.
      Thank you!

  9. Erin says:

    Congrats on graduating! It’s a nice feeling, that.

    Hmmm…here in Wisconsin, I usually hear people say it’s a graduation party. But then people will additionally say that it’s an open house, meaning that you can show up whenever you want within the given time frame. Maybe the name varies from state to state?

  10. Pingback: Quarterly Rewind, Summer 2015: Graphic Novels, Hozier, Halsey, & COLLEGE COLLEGE COLLEGE | Musings From Neville's Navel

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