It's funny recalling the past. It makes you wonder how you ended up in the situations that you did, but also, those situations were the best place you could have been at the time.
When people hear the phrase: 'I lived in the basement of a frat house'. It paints a picture. It's the truth... the statement I made... but the picture that you create is probably not true. However, in giving you such a small statement, I have allowed you your creative devices, and it can be more exciting to create a scene that way. The truth, if it is something you care about, is much longer to explain but also more beautiful.
I look back with such gratitude as I recall my memories living in the basement of the 'Trap House.'
That was the name of it. Boise State doesn't have a greek row. Instead, what you have are these houses that are made up of fraternity/sorority members where they will sometimes have meetings or parties. The location varies as there are multiple houses for one fraternity. I stayed in one of the T.K.E. houses... though the house itself had a nickname that was more longstanding than the members that currently resided there... It was called 'The Trap House.'
What was my connection to the house? Well, my freshman year, I had lived in the same dorm as one of the guys, and he invited me to stay with them when he heard I had no place to live. This is one of those beautiful and rare male/female friendships that did curtail around some romantic feelings but SURVIVED and grew into a lifelong friendship.
Jordan was his name. He is one of those special people who make you feel more present, more alive. He is someone who never holds judgement and works hard to live life to the fullest. That's where our souls connect.
I don't remember the full extent to why he had to leave Boise State after his freshman year, but I do remember the dorms smelling of weed by his room. Though, my first impression of him was before our first day of college. Our business group went floating down the Boise River, and I lost ALL of my belongings in the river: IDs, car key, room key, etc. He was the first to offer to help... and he brought me water. I wrote it in my journal that night.
During our sophomore year, he went back to Orange County and studied at the community college before returning to Boise State my junior year. At that point, we started chatting, and I would hang out in the backyard for bonfires or playing Nintendo at the neighbor's house. They had Zelda. It was a fun and innocent escape from dorm life.
Fast-forward to January of 2013, most people were very surprised that I dropped out. I was very ambitious, very involved. Everyone saw it as a temporary thing. I think.
Jordan never judged me, and when he heard I didn't have a place to stay, he invited me stay at the "Trap House." The name coming from all of the random hiding spots in the house, I think...
I never thought too much about the name of it because everyone who lived there was amazing. There was Bryce. He was a track athlete on a competitive national level. There was John. He was so dedicated to Public Relations even then. There was Parker. He was this gracious, albeit loud energy that made everyone feel comfortable. And then, lucky for me, there was Nina. She was Parker's girlfriend who stayed over a few nights a week and gave me the feminine connection I desperately needed living in a house full of guys. She was spunky, lively, kind, and always herself. I loved all of them.
Jordan and I had a special relationship. At the beginning, we had to have some difficult conversations and set boundaries. You see, at first, we were sharing a bed. I think, perhaps the first night he tried to cuddle me? But I was not about it, and we had a conversation. That was that. He respected me and my space even though he was giving me his space.
He swears he wouldn't mean to cuddle, but we figured out a solution. He did have a GIANT teddy bear. It was the "Ted" teddy bear, and so I would just put Ted between us. Jordan was happy to cuddle that, and it was super cute. It still makes me laugh to think about.
The house was only two stories. It had a main level and basement. Parker and John shared a bathroom on the main level of the house. That was also where the kitchen and living room were, and in the basement of the house, was where Bryce, Jordan, and I stayed. There was a laundry room, bathroom, living room #2?, and some weird cemented space that you could see existed through the laundry space. There were hidden storages everywhere, and living there was exciting.
I was not much of a partier in college. My experiences drinking were only during Christmas or summer breaks, and there were perhaps only two of them. I would get so drunk that I would black out and simply feel so miserable that it would take 6 months for me to even want to drink again. Living at 'the Trap House' didn't change that for me, but I did get more involved in the fun of campus life.
I was more of the quiet type that went to the library or to a coffeeshop on a Friday night, so living at the house known for their parties was great. People would drink, and it would feel like the first time I would actually get to connect with people. I just love how open people are when they're drunk!
Though the parties couldn't hold my attention for long, and I would go to sleep waking up earlier than everyone else to clean up. It never felt like it was expected that I clean up. In fact, I was told that I really didn't have to do that, but it felt like I was earning my stay. Honestly after picking up 100s of solo cups and bottles, you just feel like you were part of the fun. Ya know?
That was how life went for awhile. I would go to the park, write, meditate, or chill all day in Jordan's room perfecting a Spotify playlist. I was super adamant about not doing anything while I figured out 'something' to do.
On Wednesday nights, the whole house would get together and watch 'American Horror Story.' I'm still not a fan of horror movies or tv, but I get nostalgia thinking of watching those shows together all packed on this fancy couch, that Parker was obsessed with, sharing popcorn as we would all scream in horror and surprise.
People give greek life bad names. Actually, I tried to join a sorority, but I didn't like it. Though, greek life in general has a lot to offer. The T.K.E. fraternity at the time had the 'party boy' reputation, but getting to know the guys, I found something so much deeper than that. I found a group of people who loved and celebrated life. More importantly, they accepted people as they were and encouraged people to be themselves. These 'frat' guys that I lived with made me feel more at home than being home at the time. And that was because they simply took me as I was.
From an outsider's view, a girl sleeping in the basement of a house with four guys sounds a bit dodgy. Though, I never feared my reputation because I knew that anyone who knew me would know better.
In fact, a love interest somehow came along. He was someone who knew me, so he wasn't phased by the fact that I was living in this house of guys... Though when this relationship happened, I moved to the couch in the basement because I wasn't quite sure how he would feel about me sharing a bed with a guy.
It's funny how life happens. It's beautiful.
He helped me get a job. I started tutoring high school students in French, Chemistry, and Calculus and middle school students in Algebra. It was a great job, and it turned out to be perfect timing for my next adventure. He was cycling across the United States for affordable housing, and though it was too late for me to sign up for something like that, I decided I would go on my own adventure. My time at the Trap House would come to an end after 4 months.
The adventures that followed inspired me to write a poetry book. The poetry/prose book is a collection of writing from the past 7 years of traveling. I hope it brings some faith and inspiration into your own life.
Living at the Trap House was amazing. I cherish the people. the memories, and the time so deeply.
Here's a street view of the magical house where it all began, and a fake bush because they cut the other one down... I can't even remember if there were two or not anymore.
And somewhere I thought a picture of Jordan snuggling with his 'Ted' bear existed... but perhaps, lucky for him, I could not find it. Bless you with all the greatest things Jordan. Thanks to everyone who was apart of this journey.