Sisterhood. It’s something that cannot be properly explained to those that haven’t experienced it. No, it’s not exactly like “Legally Blonde” or “House Bunny,” although I suppose that can be a starting point. “Sorority row” isn’t like the movies, and sorority girls aren’t just what you see on TV. Sisterhood goes beyond that. It’s something that gives you an instant connection, whether it happens the day you are born or the day you first receive a magical set of letters. But the beautiful thing is that the connection can never truly be broken. It is something that transcends time and space, it helps to smooth over awkward introductions, and establishes a unique bond between those who were previously strangers. It is a knowledge that no matter what happens, your sister is there to support you. It is a hope that when you feel lonely or anxious or confused, your sister will carry a piece of home in her smile for you.
The hardest part about being 4,000 miles across an ocean is the fact that I don’t have my sisters with me. I’m missing important events like Recruitment, Bid Day, Big/Little Reveal, and Initiation. There are 26 sisters that I won’t get to meet until August. There are songs I won’t sing, words I won’t say, and promises I won’t renew for a long time. I won’t be there to help craft for the littles, or make letter shirts for initiation. No one here will understand why I wear an anchor badge when I dress up (because believe me, that badge is going to be worn. It came with me on this journey). To someone else (and perhaps even to the new ladies), I probably look like a total Facebook creep (which I am, but that’s besides the point). But how can I possibly explain how much I love my sisterhood, and how much I trust that my sisters have picked out a perfect pledge class? I only wish I could express that love to our new members from 4,000 miles away.
But perhaps I get something even more special. I have the opportunity to see Delta Gamma outside of my own chapter. While Greek life doesn’t exactly exist in Europe, it certainly exists in the hearts of those Americans who are living here for the time being. And there are more of us than you would think. When Brits ask me “Do you know anyone studying here with you?” it’s hard to explain that yes, I have a sister in Manchester. No, I’ve never actually met her. Not until today, that is.
People like to talk about Greek chapters like they are worlds apart from one another. They say, “Oh, well our chapter is so much better than that school’s,” or even, “Our sorority is so much better than that other one.” But truly, at its heart, Greek life isn’t about divisions. It’s about bringing people together, and at our core we’re not as different as we seem. All of my sisters around the globe have all gone through the same rituals. They’ve all said the same words and made the same promises. Other sororities may have a different ritual with different words, but that doesn’t mean that their meaning is inherently different. I certainly don’t think so. Greek life isn’t easy to be a part of either, so if you don’t mean what you say then chances are you won’t be Greek for long. You’ve got to be able to live out your ritual, and that ritual revolves around sisterhood.
The two of us may be from different chapters at different schools in different states, but that didn’t stop us from hugging each other when we finally met. We talked about everything from the weather to our experiences in Manchester, and even bonded over Tony’s. It’s funny how something as simple as a seasoning can carry with it so much of home. It’s such a little thing really, a travel-sized thing of Tony Chachere’s, but I’m grateful to Kathleen for telling me it was a necessary thing to bring. It has a permanent home in my purse, so that whenever I go to grab lunch with a friend (like today), I’ve got some with me.
And to all of the lovely new Delta Gammas who may read this, I hope that you come to love Delta Gamma not only for our wonderful chapter (because it really is wonderful), but also for the organization that is so much bigger. Don’t ever let yourself get caught up in the mentality that you are somehow “different” from other Delta Gammas. You will meet sisters all over the world, for the rest of your life (it’s not an “if,” it’s a “when”), and you will find something in common with her. It might just be a casual conversation about a piece of anchor jewelry that causes you to realize your connection, or you might spot her wearing letters from a few feet away. Or she might be a mermaid in Disney World who likes to talk about anchors and sisters, and you will just know that she is one of yours. But wherever you are and however you meet, there’s something quite beautiful about finding each other, especially when you feel rather lost and on your own. Because truly, you’re never alone when you’ve got sisters. I hope one day you too have the opportunity to sit down in a pub for fish and chips, and know that the woman sitting next to you is your sister for life.