Johan Tota (NRES 07 ENVRM ENG 09) sent out email invitations to everyone he could remember back when he lived at the YMCA. Living in Canada, he was the only one to make it an international trip to reunite with the 3rd floor crew from the University YMCA.
In the end, there were six who made it for a night in Chicago.
- Sean EE ENG 07 who lives and works in Plainfield, IL
- Hari EE ENG who lives and works in Chicago
- Peter NUCL ENG 09 who lives and works in Chicago
- Steve EE ENG 08 who lives and works in LA
- and Ryan KINES 08 who lives in the South Suburbs and works for a Wellness Center.
As Labor Day weekend unfolded, it was Ryan and Johan, floormates for 3 years and roomates for over a year, that met up for a stroll through Grant Park in Chicago. The others, at a mutual friend's wedding wouldn't arrive until the next night.
Going around the Chicago night life, we found we were all unmarried, looked the same, people turned out as you thought they might, and for a first no one said a word about getting home to study for an exam.
We all recounted our favorite YMCA memories: the unique roommates that came and...stayed, the personalities that evolved, and the feeling of having a whole building left to 12 guys each night the YMCA closed.
Before the YMCA went through it current renovations and everything looked like a historic building of secret rooms around every corner, there was the 2004-2008 group that accepted and depended on that old 3rd floor, and there we were 4 years later as if it was just another bar on Green Street and 3 blocks down we'd be back home at the Y.
Ryan went on to be an English Teacher in South Korea 09-10, until returning back home and using his degree to be a Personal Trainer.
Ryan's first roomate of 2 years, Paul INT STUDIES, who is living and working in South Korea as week, wasn't there and was missed.
Through the night though, tbe most talked about roommate who wasn't there was Victor, Dong Xu Yang, FINANCE 07, 09. The Victor saga will remain unclosed as no one has been able to locate his whereabouts for a few years. Through his time at the Y, each one of the guys helped and taught Victor the different lessons of American life, and he always managed to keep his own personality, culture, language and philosophy alive. Though at times seeming to be new to American ways, he would later offer a certain mature and wise advice to any of us on anything we were thinking of. As having his family in China and coming to Oklahoma at 16, the guys on the floor always saw themselves as his second family.
Before leaving Chicago, a late night diner brought us together once more as we thought of where would be the next time we'd do this, and would we all have wives and children? Would it work out?
"Las Vegas," Sean said.