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2016 Convention Stories

Finding Home by Finding a Friend

Rachael KahnRachael Kahn
Alpha Gamma Omega Chapter
University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

It was “on a dark and stormy night,” that two girls from two different warm climates met in a SuperShuttle and found a home.

After dropping off the first two passengers, we made eye contact for the tenth time, and I figured, what the heck. I asked her where she was headed. She responded, “The Hyatt Regency.”

I startled at that. “For the Sigma Tau Delta convention?”

Even in the dark shadows of the van I could see her eyes light up, “Yeah.” From that point on the two of us could not stop talking. In a very Hollywood-like moment, two complete strangers—she from Puerto Rico and I from California—met while heading for a convention in Minneapolis with roughly a thousand people presenting. And I had just met one of my fellow panelists and best friend at the convention.

Rachael and Denise

Walking into my panel I saw her already sitting there and my nerves started to settle. I had a friend here, and that made it feel like home.

Denise and I attended many of the various creative writing and fandom panels. We laughed over meals and spent a good thirty minutes, in the cold, at night, contemplating the bizarre and slightly disturbing statue in front of the Presbyterian Church. We walked, talked, and took photos of the lights playing off of the buildings, just right to get our creative writers’ juices flowing. And both of us played in the soft, light snow for the first time in our lives.

We didn’t want Saturday and the Gala to come.

The convention’s theme was finding home and we did. We did not want to leave our new home. Unfortunately, my new friend had to leave at 2am, but that left us time for one last hour and a half hanging out in the lobby during a poetry reading.

At this convention you meet strangers with similar tastes and you realize, “You are not alone, just home.” Books and stories that might have been read or created in private are now being shared and discussed in the open. It is through this immersion and discussion that you’ll make new friends and find your own version of home. And you’ll come back to your school with a smile and a story to tell about how you have made a new friend and found a new version of home.