Every one of us needs a friend who is invariably happy to see us, interested to know us and leaves us with a smile and warm fuzzies. Marissa Kennedy is just that girl—the one who will wink at you as she hands you a cup of coffee or flash a grin on the long haul to Morton. Forthcoming and cheerful, this week’s That Girl is a fixture not only at the Daily Grind and Christian Life Center, but also in the hearts of her many, many friends. Self-described as both “interesting” and “insane,” if you haven’t met her yet, you should — chances are she’s delighted to make your acquaintance. Here, Marissa talks about being Greek, bicycles and how to hold a “fredding.”
**What exactly is a “fredding”?**
This is so embarrassing. A friend of mine and I decided that we wanted to be friends for life. So people decide, if they’re romantically involved, they decide that they’re going to get married and be together forever. So we decided to celebrate our friendship by having a fredding.
p. What’s funny about it is that my friend counterpart didn’t show up because he had a meeting that he had forgotten about. So we had a stand-in. It was so perfect. We had an accordion player, a violin player, tiki torches. It was held on the Crim Dell bridge. We both bought these red Hugh Hefner robes. It was an experience. The people who came to it were amazed and confused and bewildered. They were mostly people who knew how ridiculous we were.
p. **Speaking of kilts — sort of — I hear you’re half Greek, half Irish?**
Yes, my life basically mirrors “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” I’m like that little girl right at the end, the half-and-half one.
p. I was a Greek folk dancer for seven-and-a-half-years in high school and middle school. I had pictures of me with full-blown costumes, coin necklaces — really good blackmail material for later on in life, with me in my social awkward phase, plus head wraps and all that. It was really good fun, and it was a good way for me to get in touch with my roots, so to speak. It sounds really cliched, but it was a good way to meet other people of my ethnic background. We don’t practice together anymore because everyone has jobs and is at college and stuff, so we just pull something together when we need to. But I still practice in my room in my shorts and my spandex.
p. **You rode your bike through Lodge 1?**
Oh yeah, I did. One day there was no room at that bike rack — there are never any spots out there and I always have to put my bike on top of another bike — so I decided, whatever, and I asked my friend to press the buttons for me to open the door, and I just rode through to check my mail. One of the ladies behind the counter said, “Watch out! She’s dangerous! She’s got a bicycle!”
p. And because I’m an idiot I took the elevator up to the third floor and rode around in circles. I went up to where they were setting up for Charter Day Gala. I rode my bike in there and said, “Oh, excuse me, I was looking for the James Room, I was at a cycling meeting.”
p. Someone official looking with a tie said, “Ma’am, please take the bike outside.” And I went from being really crazy to leaving all humbled with my tail between my legs, walking my bike outside. I have not made a return for fear of getting yelled at by that guy. He had a mustache, too — extra intimidating.
p. I wish I had a mustache, actually. It would be good for keeping my face warm in winter.
p. **I know what Wren 10 is, but what’s Wren 11?**
My sophomore year, me and five of my friends — I consider myself the founder — decided to put together a “mockappella” group, because half of us are bad at singing and half of us are good. So we decided to have a mockappella group where we sing what we want to sing, not really rehearse at all. We meet at the Wren Portico at 11 p.m. Wednesday nights (now more like 11:15 because it takes a while to get everyone together) and perform songs of our own desire.
p. For example, we sing the theme song from “Doug,” the Greek national anthem, “Don’t Go Chasin’ Waterfalls” (with a scat solo by yours truly) and “My Heart Will Go On”. We do an interpretive performance art version of the William and Mary Alma Mater. It’s a little scary. We do Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” We do a version of the “Circle of Life” which, I’m sorry to say it, is better than DoubleTake’s. We have more social interaction, we pretend to be animals and interact with the audience at various points, we have a true “Circle of Life” — you should come.
p. **What is Pump it Up!?**
That’s a campaign that we did last year that was started by John Bell. We were raising money to build a well in rural Malawi, in Africa. The Pump It Up! campaign had a deal with someone in the community that if we raised enough money for one well he would spot us for another. So we fundraised like crazy. We had a bake sale homecoming weekend last year. I just remember it as this big horrible blur. We didn’t finish baking until about 4 a.m., and then had to set up our stand at 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. I just went home and slept from there on out. When I woke up the next morning it was like “Where am I?”
p. **Do you know what you want to do next year?**
I might stay in the Williamsburg area because I’m really involved in the Christian Life Center and I’d like to stay in the area to attend that church. The other option is to go to China for a little bit, at least to do some language intensive program. That’s the scary option. I want to make a difference with what I do, I don’t want to sit in an office not doing anything. I just really want to help people and to love them.