Friday, May 7, 2010

A Gift of Adventure Indeed

It has been four months since the Love Bug extravaganza has taken its final bow and I have been awarded with the admirable title of Love Bug Ambassador. The experience as a whole taught me how many people are supporting and encouraging me. Even though they are not along side of me coaching me through every all nighter, stressful tech week, or rough day, a huge outpour of love and support enveloped me during this contest, and for that I am so grateful.

Every voter and every kind word spoken is what granted me this LOVE Bug for a whole year and has opened many doors for learning and engaging with others, that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do otherwise.

I am currently pursuing a PR and Advertising major and Photography minor at DePaul University. During the voting period, my mother encouraged me to have fun and use the skills to become the top vote getter. I see life as one big learning experience; one should seize every opportunity to learn more. This was the perfect opportunity to have fun and color outside of the lines a bit. I took silly (but effective!) photos to capture a sense of who I was. I decided to sing The Beatles ever popular “All You Need is Love” on YouTube in order to capture the attention of voters. People appreciated it and this contest; I’ve been told it was the highlight of many people’s days. It was exciting and at times, stressful. It became a community event.

The last few days were to say the least, nerve-racking and spent breaking the top record of refreshing a computer screen. It was evident how hard Donna (winner of Love Bug 2009) and I were working to get as many last votes as possible. It came down to the wire, when Fox Valley VW took away the vote count during the last 24 hours! At that point, the prayers started flowing as well as the phone calls from friends and family!

The night before the Fox Valley LOVE Bug reveal, I was exhausted. Before the vote count disappeared, Donna had taken the lead by a couple hundred votes. I felt overwhelmed and sad that if after all of my hard work, the efforts of my family, friends, friend’s friends, co-workers, and classmates, I wouldn’t win and I would have let everyone down. Everyone supporting me was just as invested as me at this point.

I woke up the morning of the reveal and was overwhelmed by the sense of peace I had been searching and longed for. I came to the realization that this contest gave me a wonderful insight to marketing, brought my family and I closer, and brought to the surface just how many people care about me, are rooting for me and stuck with me until the end. I felt so blessed and grateful for this opportunity that the results were going to be just as they should.

During the reveal, I met Donna, the woman whom I had been competing with fiercely for the last six weeks. I came to find that she and her family couldn’t have been kinder. Donna had a similar experience to me. She felt stress as well as the outpouring of support; it had been quite the ride for both of us.

We were geared up for the results as our stories were read by Emir Abinion as he shared Fox Valley VW’s experience of the first ever-successful LOVE Bug contest. I was shocked when he announced that the second place winner would be granted the opportunity to drive a LOVE Bug for a year and act as their LOVE Bug Ambassador.

The results were in and I took a very the generous offer for second place Love Bug Ambassador and learned I’d get to drive a brand new LOVE Bug for a year! I was thrilled! Even after four months, I am still in awe. I gratefully accepted his offer and have been having the time of my life since then.

I have been able to visit my dad, whom I do not get to see very often in Wisconsin, visit my hometown Geneva, and offer rides to my friends in need. Living in the city with the LOVE Bug has had its challenges; Chicago parking is not an easy thing, my friends! However, as I said before, it is a learning experience and I am learning in style.

I am a pretty serious babysitter and having a car has given me the opportunity for more jobs, which I am incredibly thankful for! Already, I have had meaningful conversations with friends after a long night class as I dropped them off. This car has brought me closer to others and improved my life significantly. No longer am I taking the bus and carrying 30 pounds of groceries home. I have felt safer driving home from my night classes and a capella rehearsals.

On May 2, I will be driving the LOVE Bug as well as four of my fellow DWaC (DePaul Women’s a Capella) ladies to Milwaukee to sing at Hope for Harmony at Marquette University as we raise money for the victims of Haiti and Chile. As you’ve already guessed, I love to sing and one thing you can’t do on the El to a downtown class is sing. I am a shameless singer when alone in the LOVE Bug and have LOVED busting a tune out on my way to class. Fox Valley VW wasn’t joking when they said, “And just like a concert hall, it makes for fantastic acoustics.”

Thank you, thank you, and thank you to each individual who made this possible. Every single vote made this happen and I am eternally grateful. Just like I said in my video, the offer is still available if anyone ever needs a ride! Please look for me at numerous events this summer as the LOVE Bug as I will be basking in the summer sun and spreading the love!