I had a great time up island and I'll post the pictures later this week. Anyway, on with the story.
I'm looking for my Regalia receipt and I'm not yet at the point of tears but I'm getting there. I have twenty minutes before we have to leave and everything hits the fan. I dashed into my room and rifled through papers on my dresser when my eye fell upon a piece of pink paper sitting between two books. I didn't dare to think but I plucked it up and gingerly opened it to see "Regalia Receipt" printed in bold across the top. I swear you could hear my sigh of relief all through the house.
My mom, who is always cool as a cucumber told me to hurry up and get dressed after I yelled and waved the slip above my head. We drove up to campus early to try and get some extra tickets for our American friends. After a desperate hunt for a parking space we walked over to the box office. It was weird seeing students walking around and knowing there were still classes going on around me.
The scene at the box office was ridiculous. We arrived at 12:30 and they weren't going to open for an hour, knowing that the line up outside was for extra tickets. Why on earth they didn't just hand them out when the line started I'll never understand.
I wandered off to find my Regalia and fortunately there was lots of signage for the directionally impaired like myself. I handed my slip off to some towering giant of a graduate and like a dumb sheep, followed him into the Senate Chambers. When he got over to the rack of gowns he turned around and gave me the strangest "What the heck are you doing here look" and told me I was supposed to wait outside. Bashfully I apologized but in my defence he had said nothing to the effect of "don't follow me in here".
He handed off my gown and hat and my sash which was a lovely green. Strangely enough I'd worn a green shirt to go under the gown, not knowing the colour of my sash. Back at the box office the line stretched the length of the Centre while the man in the booth calmly staring at a computer, probably playing MineSweeper or some other mindless game. My next task was to make a phone call home about where to meet and get tickets. But my hunt for a pay phone proved elusive. It's strange how a place can change so much in one month. I wandered to the back of the Centre and then to the Clearihue building where I knew there were phones. Unfortunately though, they were replaced with "courtesy phones" for emergencies and 911 calls. So in frustration I walked over to the SUB, all the while, carrying my gown and hat and sash, my arm growing hot under all that polyester. But alas, the SUB phones are all courtesy now as well. I threw up my hands and just grabbed a receiver. On the way back I managed to drop my sash twice on the dirty sidewalk and heard a strange bird racket behind me. When I turned I saw a falcon and crow duking it out amongst the trees. They were extremely loud and you could hear their wings hitting branches.
I wanted to stay and take bets but I had to get back and find the room where I was supposed to "Assemble". Fortunately the rooms were also clearly marked and there were quite a few half-dressed graduates-to-be leaning against the walls. By half-dressed I mean they had their gowns on but their hats were askew and their sashes hung limply about their shoulders.
There was a list of instructions on the chalkboard that I desperately tried to remember. It involved removing your hat, kneeling, putting your hat back on accepting degrees and pins, lining up, not tripping on stage, smiling for a photo, hitting your mark, etc. This was when I started to get nervous. Everything got worse when I picked up a program and noticed that I was listed first in my degree. I hate going first! If you're in the middle you've had a chance to watch how people ahead of you perform and can iron out any wrinkles.
So my sash was pinned on, I had to keep straightening my hat and then we had to line up, holding name tags for whomever would introduce us to the audience. We filed out of the room and I got this sick feeling deep in my stomach. This was a bad idea. People graduate without attending the ceremony. I didn't need to be here; I could still back out and avoid throwing up and/or tripping on stage. But by the time I considered my options we were moving.