Natalia Cuevas '14 | February 14, 2019
“And I heard that if you walk around the lakes in a figure eight holding hands and then he kisses you under the arch, you guys are going to get married!”
I think I rolled my eyes so hard that I saw spots when I heard that. Eighteen years old with a massive chip on my shoulder and a serious attitude problem, I was slipping out the side door of my new home, Lyons Hall, when I heard this excited chatter about the dorm’s infamous arch. The two girls talking, whom I’d met briefly during Frosh-O, waved hello to me — which I tactfully ignored as I threw my headphones on and lit up a Marlboro 27.
I was not the typical Notre Dame freshman.
I grew up in Mexico, and watching my country dissolve into a cartel la-la land had turned me into a bit of a cynic. I preferred the term realist, but in hindsight, I was too jaded about the world to simply enjoy being a teenager. Beyond that, I wasn’t Catholic, and I definitely didn’t believe in something as silly as a superstition about locking down a husband at all of 18 years old. Needless to say, I had a hard time making friends my first semester at Notre Dame.
Until I met Christina Bramanti.
Lying on her New York City couch during the Super Bowl this month, Christina ’14 and I realized that neither of us could remember the exact moment that we met. But in one of my many cigarette breaks under the Lyons Hall arch (my own little arch tradition and a silent retaliation to the “Ring by Spring” phenomenon), the two of us struck up a conversation. She took no issue with my attitude problem, and, in less than 15 minutes, she had cracked my hard little shell and gotten me to open up about my family. My home. My hobbies. The fact that I was already considering transferring. How unhappy and far from everything I felt.
In that one vulnerable moment, my Notre Dame experience changed. Suddenly, I had a friend. Not a roommate, or some forced-to-be-friends situation, but a real friend who I felt like I could be myself around. Someone I could call in the middle of the night. Someone whose door I could show up at unexpectedly. Someone with whom I could eat an entire bag of cookies still go to South Dining Hall afterwards for a full dinner.
Read more here.