After three awesome years of totally dominating Japan, Mike left this afternoon to go back to Michigan and start med school. To show our thanks for all the good times we've shared, we threw Mike one last Michigan party last Monday and, as expected, he went out with a bang.
Like countless Michigan parties before, we ate, we drank, we laughed like crazy. While part of me felt like we should have done something all-out and over the top for Mike's last party with us, somehow having a party just like the ones that have brought us so many great memories up until now felt right. When I look back at my best memories since coming to Japan, these parties are one of the first things that come to mind. I like to think that Mike feels the same way.
Later in the evening, we had a toast to Mike and all the good times we'd shared together. Mike went, one by one, and told the story of how he'd met and gotten to know each of us. It was one of the classiest ways to go out that I can think of and was really moving.
We closed out the night with one of our great Michigan-traditions: drunken arm wrestling. I have absolutely no idea why we do it, but it started back at a joint party for me and Mike back in '08 and we've done it on a number of occasions since. I usually get completely dominated by Mike (and just about anyone else for that matter), but this time I got my first win when we went at it left-handed! Of course, that prompted Mike to call for a right-handed rematch, where I was absolutely obliterated... Our arms ravaged, our bellies full, and our hearts contented, we called it a night and went our separate ways home.
There aren't words to sufficiently thank Mike for the past three years. We've become really great friends and it's going to be tough not being able to hang out with him anymore. The other Michigan kids are great, but it just won't be the same without Mike. I know going back home is the right thing for him, but I can't help but wish he would have stayed for a little longer.
Mike, I've said this over and over, but I'm so glad to have had the chance to get to know you. We've had some great times and made some amazing memories that will stay with me forever. It's been a great ride buddy. Take care of yourself and I wish you all the best luck with the next stage of your life!