Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summertime, Finally!

All I have to say is thank goodness for 5-hour breaks! Tonight has been sooo wonderful; I had a sandwich for dinner at Kyle’s apt, bought my airline ticket (for break in July) at the public library, had ice cream from Maggie Moo’s, talked to various family members and friends, and even got to watch a few episodes of Jon and Kate Plus 8. I love love loveeeeeeeee 5-hours! (It’s only too bad that this week’s long break is on Monday night, but oh well.)

As promised, I want to attempt an entry about my first two and a half (three by the time this is done?) weeks here in Little Rock. Oh, before I get started, I must give a shout-out to My Favorite Arkansan Red Head, Miss Claire Antoon and her crazy antics with my beloved meugle (stuffed cow—as named by Vicki Sanders, l’ete 2004). There, Clair, are you happy??? Sorry it’s not the quality story you hoped for, but at least it’s there, lol.

Alrighty, here goes. Just like last year, I am spending the summer working at a camp for children with special needs in Little Rock, Arkansas. The camp serves children ages 6-18 with various disabilities, including: Muscular Dystrophy, Autism, Asperger’s, Cerebral Palsy, assorted behavior disorders, Spina Bifida, cardiac conditions, arthritis, kidney disease, asthma, and cancer, as well as “typical” kids. Last summer, Allie and I (affectionately known as The Cajun Girls) worked for the first three weeks of camp, and this year we managed to grasp a few more (or different ones, in Allie’s case).

Staff Training
As much as I never dreamed it would happen, Camp Aldersgate has truly become “my home away from home.” Allie (my Summer Sister!) and I were so very excited to drive up to camp on June 6th. We arrived a day early since it takes us so long (8 hours) to drive up to Little Rock, so we made arrangements ahead of time to stay at camp that night. However, we later heard that one of our good friends had recently secured an apartment in Little Rock and we were invited to a get-together at his house that evening. Upon arrival in LR, we hurried to find a church (with help from KF), went to 5 pm mass, and then headed over to Kyle’s apartment for a bit. We didn’t stay out too late because we wanted to get back to camp before the gates closed at 10 pm.

The week of staff training was super fun, as expected. It’s always fun to hang out with old friends and meet new ones. Plus, spending a week at camp without real responsibilities was pretty nice. It’s like camp for us, the big kids, lol. It was also very exciting to find out that we’d be working with some people who we’d made friends with last year but were scheduled to work different camp weeks than we were. On the other hand, we were bummed to find out that some of our best friends would not be working very many weeks this time around. Boo. We decided we’d have to cherish the few good times with everyone while we have them.
For our first full weekend in Little Rock, we stayed at camp with Clair, since she’s staying in LR for the month of June and didn’t have anyplace else to stay. We didn’t want to leave her alone at camp because that is just plain creepy. (Believe me, you do NOT want to stay at camp alone…eeek.) Since we were staying at camp already, we offered to help with the volunteer training that Saturday. A few other people came to help out too, and it was kinda cool to be there as resources during the beginning and end of the day. I think/hope the volunteers appreciated getting the chance to meet a few faces that would later be familiar ones when they came to work. Aside from training, we also hung out at Kyle’s once again. (This will soon become a regular occurrence, you just wait.)

Week One: Muscular Dystrophy
Each week at camp, kids come with a variety of disabilities or medical conditions. For the first week in 2009, most of the campers had Muscular Dystrophy. I worked with a great group of counselors, and really enjoyed getting to know some people who were new to camp or that I didn’t get a chance to know last year. We had the oldest girls—five girls ranging in age from 12 to 17. There were four counselors and four volunteers in our cabin, which may seem like a lot of staff, but it’s definitely necessary. All of the counselors are assigned to work at specific activities, and we each have 2 – or 4-hour breaks each day, so it’s very important to have extra hands available. In fact, I worked at the archery range this week, and found out that I will be working there for most (if not all?) of the summer. It’s super exciting because that was my first choice assignment and I didn’t expect to actually get it. Oh, Allie and I had the same breaks for the first time ever, so that was pretty sweet too.

At the end of camp on Friday, K. Bost and I brought Allie to the airport for her 4 p.m. flight. She decided to leave two weeks earlier than I so that she could work at heart camp in Louisiana. Unfortunately, she’s going to miss Kota I and Diabetes weeks here at Aldersgate. It’s also going to be the first time that she or I have ever worked at either camp without the other person. It’s quite odd, to be honest. Hopefully we’ll be able to do a good job of keeping each other abreast of events at either camp. It’s going to be difficult to be apart but we’ll do our best to channel each others’ Summer Sister vibes across the miles. Heh.

As for Week Two at camp, we’re past the half-way mark, but I’m going to wait for another blog to write about that. Instead, I feel the need to speak about a few random things that I keep forgetting to mention. First, I never mentioned that I have, in fact, chosen a school for the fall. I’m not going to discuss it in this blog, but if I forget to write more in the coming weeks, someone should remind me so I can blog about it as promised. Second, the heat here has been sooooooooo unbearable since the very beginning of camp. Temperatures are in the upper 90s with heat indices in the upper 100s. It’s absolutely ridiculous and I am literally scared to see what July and August has in store for us. Also, my thoughts go out to everyone who was involved with the recent shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and victims of the DC metro crash. I will always have a piece of my heart in DC, and still have many friends who live in the area. Thankfully, everyone is okay, as far as I know, anyway.

I’ve got to quit writing for now, though. My 2 hour “paperwork” (break) will be coming to an end soon so I’ve got to get on the road and head back to camp. (I’m writing from Kyle’s apt.) Now that I’ve found access to the internet (when I’m not completely exhausted), look forward to more frequent updates. …Or so I hope.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Well, I did it again. I started a blog before leaving to camp, hoping to catch up, but obviously, that didn’t happen. Wanna know how far I got? …not even two whole sentences into it before I had to quit. Yup, this is all: “I WILL be up to date with blogging before I leave for camp, I will! Starting. Right. Now.” We all see how well that turned out.

Now, I sit here in the Khaki Cabin at Camp Aldersgate in Little Rock, Arkansas, relishing the last 15 minutes of our 5+ hour night off during Training Week. Allie (my Cajun counterpart) is in the shower, and the very beginnings of our 40-person counselor crew are starting to stroll in as the clock ticks closer to 10 p.m. (the dreaded time of camp gate closure). Let’s see how far I can get into catching up on writing about my 10 days at home in Louisiana, before I give up and decide to retire (or relocate—outside to visit with friends) for the night.

Back tracking a bit, on the morning of Tuesday, May 26th, I packed up my bags and bid adieu to my Warren Hall family. Saying goodbye was hard, but not as hard as the realization would hit once I touched ground in Cajun Country. Colin generously drove me to the airport so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the whole SuperShuttle ordeal. I was a bit early arriving, but better early than late, that’s for sure. My first flight was pretty rough, and the restless weather prevented me from getting a good departing view of DC (boo). Memphis is surely not my favorite airport, but I did very much enjoy lunch from Popeyes, in preparation for my return home. (Totally not what I usually eat, but a yummy pre-Louisiana idea.)

Upon arrival in “God’s Country” (lol), I headed straight for the luggage claim area in hopes of quickly gathering my belongings and meeting my mother outside. Fortunately, my luggage appeared fairly soon, but when I got it, I realized that two of my three pieces were damaged. Then, I went outside to greet my mom, and showed her the damage. She insisted that I go back inside and talk to the airline representatives. Long story short, after a half an hour of waiting by the empty desk, calling two hotlines, and asking several airport staff members, I was finally able to talk to an airline representative. It was a really ridiculous conversation and process, I settled with a $250 (or 25,000 SkyMiles) voucher for a future trip.

By the time we made it home, it was time to change, and rush over to EHS for Austin’s senior ring ceremony. I’d recently begun to feel really bad about missing out on big things in Austin’s life, so my mom invited me to present Austin with his ring as a means of being a part of something big; I felt incredibly honored and excited to do this. After the ceremony, we went to Nanna’s for dinner, yay!!! Nannie Lois, Uncle Ray, and one of their son’s family was there too. I was sooo happy to finally see them, and eat some of Nanna’s tasty food. Woot Woot.

I will say that I was thoroughly surprised to have been able to see so many people during my 10 days at home. The day after I arrived, I went to a 4-H U (Short Course) meeting; it was nice to visit with a bunch of the kids who went on the WOW trip to DC. One afternoon, I met Kyle, Kayla, and Jodie for Sonic lunch at the park in town. It was fun to see those ladies, and I very much enjoyed FINALLY seeing Kyle, for the first time in six months. He’s a graduate now! Heh. On another day, I visited with Victoria and younger siblings for a bit as we sat out and played Blockus by her backyard pool. My family even went out to dinner together one night in hopes of planning a vacation for the summer (we weren’t very successful). I also had plans to see my former roommates Annie and Jen, but it didn’t end up working out. The hope is to see them later this summer when I go home from camp for a break.

The Sunday after I got home, my family, plus Nanna and Poppa went to Loreauville for the day. My Nannie, uncle, and cousins decided to have a crawfish boil for me (kinda). Basically, it was their bribe to get me to go visit during my few days at home, lol. The crawfish was yummy (of course) and it was fun to spend the afternoon hanging out by the pool and playing with my cousins. Noah, the littlest one just turned two (June 8), and is growing up so fast. I haven’t been around since he was born, which makes me sad. Boo.

So besides seeing friends and family during my short ten day stent at home, I also had to take care of some business, such as doctor appointments and tetanus shots for camp, as well as signing a lease to secure my new apartment in Raleigh. In addition, I spent two days driving to and from Baton Rouge, as Austin had dinner at the Governor’s Mansion and 4-H Day at the Capitol on June 2nd and 3rd. I really enjoyed that whole outing though, because I got to spend some time with my dearest Sunshine (Dawn), for the first time in Louisiana in a year (the other few times I saw her was in DC--sad, lol), and my Summer Sister, Miss Allie Barbay. Allie’s dad even did a nice tune-up on my car in preparation for all the driving it would be doing in the upcoming months. Another cool thing about the visit to BTR was seeing all of my state 4-H people (who were sad that I wouldn’t be going to LSU in the fall) and… drum roll… meeting Governor Bobby Jindal!! Bobby Jindal is seriously the coolest dude ever and I can’t wait for him to be our president. He’s sooo genuine, and pretty much amazing in general! Plus, the crew from Vermilion (and Dawn) were the only ones who got to meet him that day. It was super cool!

A few days later, it was time to pack up once again and head up to Little Rock for camp, which is where I am now. I realize this blog is probably very confusing and quite a bit disjointed, but that’s because it’s taken me several different writing sessions to get it all out. My internet access is also nonexistent, so who knows when I’ll get to post this. I’m also hoping to get another blog out sometime soon, featuring my first two weeks of Summer 2009 in Arkansas. Just be patient, excuse the lengthy posts, and look forward to more updates from my gypsy life.

Stay cool (literally).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Departing Days (Pt. 2)

Picking up from where I left off...

Dinner with HR (May 19, 2009)
As is tradition, one of the ladies in Human Resources takes each group of PAs out to dinner at some point during their stent at Council. Because of the craziness that is work with weird schedules, our group didn't find time for the outing until the very end of the Spring. It was mine and a few others' first time at Mongolian Barbecue, which happens to be a very cool experience. It's kind of hard to explain the process, but each person is allowed to pile whatever raw vegetables, meat, sauces, and spices into one bowl, and then the chefs cook it on a hibachi grill right in front if your eyes. It's the coolest thing ever; being creative with designing your own dish, but be careful not to be tooooo creative or you'll end up with a spicy mess that's too flavorful to consume! ...hehe.

My LAST group! (May 20-22, 2009)
Finally, finally, finally, I made it through my last group as a Wonders of Washington Program Assistant. I do have to say that it is much easier working with one bus versus two, three, five, or more. For the first (and last) time, I finally had a bus driver who actually knew their way around the city. By this point, though, so did I. lol. At least it was one less stressor on the job that week. For the most part, everything went according to planned. There are always minor tweaks in the schedule, but the kids saw everything except for one monument, so that was good. I will say that this group of kids was very critical of everything they saw in DC...not necessarily in a negative way, but rather they used critical thinking skills to really analyze what they were seeing and how they thought/felt about it. Sometimes their comments gave off negativity, but I really feel like it was more of an analytical thought than expression of a poor experience. In the end, I think the experience was still a good one, so that's what's important.

Memorial Day Weekend (May 22-25, 2009)
I was a little bummed about missing out on a weekend of camping with my family, but I had purposely purchased my ticket home for after the Memorial Day Weekend. From friends who previously lived at the Center during this time of the year, I knew there were many exciting events in DC that weekend, and I wanted to be a part of it all. I mean, really, when else would I have the chance to experience something so powerful as a local...and the reality of it, was that I truly was a local. (For the time being, anyway.)
  • Friday --> Thankfully, I finished working with my group early enough that I had time to say goodbye to the boss and then cherish a few hours of solitude in WaHa by taking an afternoon nap. Our dearest former housemate, Miss Amanda Hale, came for a visit, as she'd moved out to the Columbia Heights neighborhood in DC two weeks before. To celebrate, the WOW kids, Amanda, and one of our new housemates, Zach, walked to Bethesda for the evening. It was definitely an interesting adventure, but I'll spare you all the details. lol. Thanks for visiting, Auntie Amanda; we truly enjoyed seeing you!
  • Saturday --> It was a much appreciated lazy day. I started packing and getting things together for my departure on Tuesday. Also, I accompanied Scott to Friendship Heights as he purchased some food items (stupid Clover Cafe has been closed a lot lately). That night, five of us went out to Comet, a pizza restaurant/bar/ping pong place down on Connecticut in DC. Amber, Rachel, Jake, Scott, and I really enjoyed the evening out. Ping Pong tables at a restaurant/bar is pretty much a genius idea, if you ask me. It makes for cheap entertainment, and good times--much more interesting than sitting around a table looking at each other, lol. We even hung out chatting late into the wee morning hours once we got back to the Center. It's too bad that I would be leaving so soon, or I would have thoroughtly enjoyed many more nights at Comet. booo.
  • Sunday --> Colin and I went to mass (for the last time) at St. Bartholomew's in Bethesda. When we got back to the Center, we realized the Cafe was closed for lunch, so we invited Nekeisha and Scott to lunch with us at the Karma Kitchen in Dupont Circle. Scott had just eaten, so he declined, but Nekeisha agreed to come along. :) The Karma Kitchen is an restaurant that goes by a different name during the week, serving traditional Indian food to its patrons. However, on Sundays, the restaurant is transformed into the "Karma Kitchen," a generous restaurant working off of the "pay it forward" idea. Everyone is served family-style, sometimes patrons make friends by sitting with strangers, and all of the staff are volunteers. The meal is free, with the idea that patrons will make individual donations as they feel appropriate, as well as commit to performing an good deed within the community. The food was very tasty, and I very much enjoyed the mission of the Karma Kitchen. Again, it's too bad that I wasn't able to experience this earlier during my time in DC, as it's something I would have enjoyed doing frequently.
  • That night, five of the housemates went out to the PBS Memorial Day Concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol. Angela, Jordan, Zach, Scott, and I metroed out there for the event, and I'm pretty sure we all thoroughly enjoyed the show (especially Angela, lol). I'd never seen the concert before (it's broadcasted annually on PBS), so I was kind of surprised at the variety--speakers, musicians, etc. I definitely sat in awe, realizing how special and lucky I was to be in our nation's capitol on such an important day. Surrounded by monuments, memorials, and endless locations of historical importance, I felt like the luckiest girl alive. Living in DC definitely has its moments, that's for sure. :)
  • Monday --> Continuing the celebration of Memorial Day/once-in-a-lifetime events, 9 of us from the house woke up earlyyyyyyyyyyy (5:45 a.m.) in the morning to catch the first bus of the day, in hopes of making it out to Arlington National Cemetary in time to get a seat at the annual Presidential Wreath Laying Ceremony. Nekeisha, Angela, Darielle, Megan, Jake, Jordan, Zach, Scott, and I got on the 6:30 a.m. bus toward Friendship Heights, but upon arrival, we realized that the metro had not opened yet for the day. Instead, we had to hang around and occupy ourselves for about 15 minutes before it opened, and another 20 minutes once we got inside and realized the first train wasn't set to arrive for a while. Once we finally made it out to Arlington, we immediately got in line for the Tourmobile ride to the ampitheatre. The line was long, but not nearly as long as it became as time went by. Thankfully, all nine of us were able to sit together, only twelve rows from where the President was set to speak. Sure, 12 rows may seem like a lot, but the ampitheatre is small, and so we truly had a great view of the speaking area. Ironically enough, we also made friends with a family sitting in front of us--their daughter is set to start graduate school at American University in the fall, and they'd traveled down to DC for the weekend to look for housing. Of course, we recommended life in Warren Hall. hehe. And, without going into too much, I just have to say that it was a great to put aside all opinions about the leaders of our country and just appreciate the experience of this historical event. It's just another once-in-a-lifetime event that I could not pass up, though I'm still waiting on the pictures from those lovely housemates of mine. ;-)
  • I spent the afternoon packing up all of my stuff, as I was set to leave DC the following morning. In the evening time though, I took a break from it all to enjoy dinner with our entire WaHa family, all 17 of us (er, minus a few who hadn't returned from their long weekends away). We'd somehow magically convinced Chef Z to give us some yummy food from the Cafe for preparation on our very own barbecue pit. Together, we all sat around the commons room eating and talking like old friends. Also, Darielle headed up a game where all of us submitted questions into a hat and then we passed the hat around the room, so everyone could take a question and answer it. Once everyone answered their question, we did another round. It was a fun bonding experience, and very interesting too. Later, after I'd finished packing completely, a bunch of us played Apples to Apples in the boys' room (Nick & Colin's). I think their ended up being 9 or so people who played by the end of it--Nick, Colin, Christy, Megan, Rachel, Darielle, Scott, me, and someone else... We all had a good time; it was definitely a good way to spend my last night in DC.
Looking back, though some times in DC were very tough, I learned a lot, and definitely developed a deeper understanding, appreciation, and love for the city. My WaHa kids will always hold a special place in my heart, as we have developed bonds that will exist forever. LoL, WaHa...that place has got some character. To think about all the talented and amazing people who have walked through those doors, and the great things that have emerged as a result, I can only say it is an honor for me to have been a part of that. We mourned the loss of our alumni board, replacing the tangible item with memories that can never be destroyed. All of us have been a part of something very special, and it is my hope that generations to come will understand just what that means. Who knows, maybe I'll even be a part of the Warren Hall family again someday. Until then, I'm going to appreciate the experiences I've had and look forward to the future, as more doors continue to open for me. I hope that life altering opportunities are ever-evolving, and who knows where I'll end up next.
For that, you'll all just have to stay tuned!
:) Lauren, the gypsy

Departing Days (Pt. 1)

It's official...I fail as a blogger. Okay, I really hope that's not the case, but I am pretty mad at myself for not making the time to blog in a month's time. Maybe after I finish catching up on all the busy-ness that was/is life, you will all understand why I never found time to write. This whole catch-up thing may take more than one blog; we shall see.

WOW PA Adventure Day (May 4, 2009)
For some reason, I forgot to mention our WOW PA Adventure Day in my last blog. With every set of Program Assistants, our bosses like to treat the group to a fun day of their choice. Previous fun days have included a day at the local water park (boringgg) or lunch at Hard Rock Cafe (even more boringgg...zzz.). Our PA group decided to be creative, so we threw out a bunch of ideas, some of which were feasible, others, not so much. In the end, we ended up having lunch at Ben's Chili Bowl (a Washington, DC staple), touring a real row house on the Hill, and finally visiting the top of the Washington Monument. I'm sure our choices appear somewhat boring to others--and cheap, comparably--but who cares. We wanted to be creative, and I think it showed. Thank you, M & F, for making our PA Adventure Day a great success. :)

WMZQ Fest (May 9, 2009)
As previously introduced in my last blog, Christy and I attended a huge concert in Bristow, VA. We bought the tickets months ago and were so pumped for the big day to finally arrive. The traffic was horrible to get into the Nissan Pavilion, but once we finally made it in, all was well. The three side stage musicians (Kate & Kacey, Catilin & Will, and Justin Moore) were better than I expected, and we even got autographs from two of them (Kate & Kasey, and Caitlin & Will)! Woot. For the main stage, we had awesome seats. It was so fun to watch Keith Anderson, Jason Michael Carroll, Joe Nichols, Little Big Town, and Rodney Atkins perform! I was somewhat disappointed in two of the performers' performances (yes, I said that), as they were not very dynamic or entertaining. However, I did develop a bit of a crush on Mister Jason Michael Carroll, lol. (Ask Christy about that one, heh.) In the end, I'd say $65 dollars for an 8-band performance and all day concert event (3-11p), was totally worth the drive. It was also nice to have a last outing before the arrival of a whole slew of new housemates.

New Housemates
Housemates, housemates, housemates! As of May 9 (same day as concert, yes), we'd lost 4 of our original housemates, and gained 2 more. Matt, Marcie, Brian, and Amanda had moved out, and Amber and Angela had moved in. On May 10, we lost another original housemate, and gained 7 more. Justin moved out, and Rachel, Nekeisha, Lauren, Darielle, Katie, Jake, and Jordan moved in. Finally, all the CWF PAs had arrived. However, we weren't done there...within the remaining 2 weeks of my time at WaHa (Warren Hall), 4 more housemates arrived. Those were Zach, Megan, Scott, and Jessica. All along, the WOW PAs (Christy, Colin, Nick, and I) remained in the house. Yep, you counted right--that brought the grand total to 17 people living in Warren Hall!!
For clarity's sake, I'll try to break it down a little better, into who's living there and why. Just bear with me. Rachel (MN), Nekeisha (GA), Angela (IA), Lauren (NJ), Darielle (MN), Amber (MN), Katie (NY), Jordan (AR), and Jake (WI), (9 people) are all working with the Citizenship Washington Focus program this summer. Basically, their job is very similar to that of the WOW PAs, except that they work with only high school 4-H kids, and their schedule is exactly the same each and every week (jealous? just a bit.). They're also working for a few weeks less than we did. Zach, Megan (GA), and Jessica are all "outside interns," which means they're working off-site at various places in Downtown DC. Scott (IN), on the other hand, is interning with the Resource Development team at Council, and also serving as the RA of Warren Hall.

High School Musical (May 12, 2009)
A few months ago, Christy won 2 free tickets to see High School Musical at Toby's Dinner Theatre in Columbia. She knew how much I wanted to go (I entered the contest too), and so she graciously invited me to go along with her to the show. Though the show wasn't exaaactly like the original, and the harmonies were a bit off, we very much enjoyed ourselves. It was definitely nice to get away from the Center for an evening. :)

Second to Last Group (May 13-15, 2009)
Christy, Nick, and I worked together on a 2-night WOW group during the second week in May. The group had 3 buses following 2 schedules. At times, it was an organizational nightmare, but for only the secondish time this Spring, I felt competent at my job. I think I lucked out, having only one bus to deal with (I was the odd bus out.) for most of the time. It was cool, too because I got to visit the Newseum again (3rd time, my favorite!) and a minor league baseball game where the group had a private suite all to themselves. We also enjoyed the rare moments of "PA time" to ourselves, as it's always fun to hang out with good friends in DC.

CWF PAs' First Weekend in DC (May 15-17)
On Friday night, some of the WaHa kids went out to explore the city a bit, but I decided to stay in since I was pretty exhausted from our group. On Saturday, 8 of us metroed into the city to do some fun things; three went to some of the Smithsonians, and 5 of us went paddle boating on the Tidal Basin. Paddle boating on the Tidal Basin is something I've wanted to do ever since I arrived (and probably even since Dawn did it last year), so I was very happy to finally cross it off of my "To Do in DC" list, only 2 weeks before leaving. Nick, Christy, Jordan, Angela and I had a a great time hanging out in the boats, though it's definitely tough work. Heh. Afterwards, we split up into even smaller groups to visit the Holocaust Museum, Smithsonians, and mall area. Along the way, we met up with some of the other WaHa kids, at various points. That evening, Nick and I ate at ESPN Zone so that we could watch the Preakness race on their huge tv screen. Nick is going to the Belmont Stakes race in June so he really wanted to make a point of watching the two preceeding races. (We watched the first one in Virginia Beach, if you rember.) I also decided that I'm going to make a point of watching the final race in Little Rock, as it's the day Allie and I are driving up to camp. I'll have seen all three races in very different locations. How exciting!
On Sunday, I helped to coordinate a church outing to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Angela and Jordan have a goal of visiting all the historic churches in the DC area, and Rachel and I just wanted to go to mass. Plus, Colin, my typical mass chauffeur, was out of town, so I was going to have to metro to church anyway. The church was just as beautiful as always, and I was glad that the gift shop was finally open (I've been there like 4 times before and it's never been open), so I was able to purchase Confirmation gifts for my brother and a graduation gift for Kyle (who just graduated from the seminary in Covington). All in all, it was a successful experience.

As for all of my adventures from May 18-26th (my departure date), those will have to wait for another blog. This one is long enough already and I really need to get going on preparing for tonight's trip to Baton Rouge. I'm hoping to catch up on blogging before Saturday, as that's when Allie and I depart for our summer at Camp Aldersgate in Little Rock. I never stop, do I?

Tune in soon.