Friday, October 30, 2009

Close Encounters of the Notre Dame Kind

I love spontaneously running into Notre Dame people at non-ND events, and over fall break last week, I hit a record number:

5 different groups of Domers in Chicago in two days.

It started at Giordano’s, home to Chicago’s most delicious pizza. If you don’t like Chicago-style pizza… you’ve never tasted Giordano’s. My sister and I were meeting some friends there for lunch and as we walked into the restaurant, a group of college students stood in front of us waiting to be seated. Some of them looked suspiciously familiar.

They looked at us. We looked at them. My sister and one of the girls blurted out, “Do you go to Notre Dame?” Of course, we all did.

Notre Dame encounters of the week: 1.

We had lunch with our friends- a different group of students, bringing our count of Notre Dame encounters up to 2.

Later that week, we went to The Art Institute of Chicago. Did you know that the Art Institute is free from 5 to 8 pm every Thursday? And boy, is it the place to meet people. It seemed like half the city of Chicago was there, including practically every college student.

The Notre Dame encounters came thick and fast:

The line to get in to the Art Institute stretched down the block. I was pleasantly surprised when I ran into my friend Katie and her boyfriend in line. Encounter 3.

In the room with all the Degas paintings, I ran into my music professor, whose parents were visiting from Italy and enjoying the art. Encounter 4.

And in the Ancient European Art wing, I saw my friends Kelly and Octavia. Encounter 5.

Why were there so many Notre Dame students in Chicago and especially at the Art Institute? I’ve run into Domers in some pretty ridiculous places. Once I was at the Princeton Junction train station and the girl sitting next to me recognized my Badin sweatshirt. She had just graduated from Notre Dame in ’09.

In April I was in Rome and I spotted Notre Dame students in the middle of St. Peter’s Square and on the Roman train. Finally, I was in line for Holy Thursday Mass with Pope Benedict and I struck up a conversation with the older woman in front of me. It turned out that she was a graduate of St. Mary’s College.

I’ve found the Notre Dame connection literally everywhere I’ve traveled and in the most unlikely places. What crazy Notre Dame encounters have you had?


  1. too numerous to count... every where in the US and even in Canada. just wear an ND sweatshirt or hat when you are out and about, someone will chat you up with "I graduated in '75..."

  2. I'm ND '07 and did the Angers program. Now I'm in grad school in Grenoble after teaching English in Lyon. I saw a French man wearing an ND hat at the Parc des Oiseaux (bird park) about an hour from Lyon in the countryside...turns out he did an Engineering program there years ago on study abroad. Small world! Of course, there are tons of stories like this. ND family.