Monday, May 21, 2012

Time for an Update has been so long, and there are so many updates to share. Let's see if I can do these last 5 months some justice, and perhaps avoid writing an entire novel this time. :)

In February (2/11/12), I was FINALLY able to see my beloved favorite band of all time in concert for the fifth time in my life!! RF!!! Yeahhhhhhh!! Morgan and Lindsey, two friends I met my very first summer at Aldersgate, joined me for a lovely girls night of sushi, good music, and late night pillow talk. It was much needed and well deserved, to say the least.

The only other real highlight from February was my very long weekend trip to Tennessee. On Wednesday, the 15th, I drove to Memphis after work to spend the night with Lindsey, who was finishing up her last semester at Rhodes College. The following morning, I drove to Nashville to meet Alex who was there with the Upstate men's and women's basketball team as they traveled to take on Belmont College and Lipscomb University. We stayed on the Vanderbilt Campus, so I was able to take in a total of four new universities on the trip. (Super cool.) Alex and I did a lot of walking to explore the area, and we even walked through the snow to Mass on Sunday morning. (That's a new one!) I may have missed a fun Mardi Gras celebration this year, but I suppose the trip to Nashville was a decent alternative. ;-)

And once favorite month of the year was upon us!! During the first full week of March (5th-9th), my boss, Amy, and I drove to Raleigh, NC for the National Inclusion Project Conference. It's a 15 hour drive, so we budgeted two days of driving each way, just for a measly two-day conference. On travel day #1, we spent the night in Knoxville, TN. The following day we made it all the way to Raleigh and met up with Lendy to spend the evening enjoying hummingbird water and having delicious Eastern style barbecue at The Pitt. The second night, I was able to have dinner with Kara at the Village Draft House in Cameron Village (Raleigh); later, Lendy picked me up and I spent another night cuddling with her in The Forest (Wake Forest, NC).

Overall, the conference was pretty lame. Most if the material presented was exactly the same as what had been covered the year before (I also attended in 2011). Amy ended up getting sick on the second day of the conference and so she was out of commission for most of it. So, if nothing else, spending time with my sweet girlfriends made it all worthwhile...

After the conference, I drove Amy and I to Asheville, where Amy stayed for the night, and Alex retrieved me for a weekend in South Carolina. Since it was my birthday weekend, I had the Monday off, and we were able to spend a good, relaxing weekend together. We crossed several things off our bucket list (progressive dinner, eating spaghetti with our hands, and going to an open house) that weekend, as well. And while I managed to avoid it for 24 years, my 25th birthday involved an airplane flight, as I headed back to Little Rock and the grind that is Spring in the camp world.

On April 1st, Camp Aldersgate hosted its annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony. Since I'm the Volunteer Coordinator, this was really "my deal" as for sending out invitations, securing the guest speaker, planning for food, decorating, arranging the certificates and awards, etc. Needless to say, I was especially nervous about this event, even more so because I'd never actually attended one of these before so I didn't really know what it was "supposed" to look like. Looking back, I'm not sure what bright idea I had to host the event on April Fool's Day, but my co-workers behaved (lol), and everything turned out just fine!

After the event, I loaded up the car and drove to Memphis for a quick overnight/day trip. My mom was there with the Vermilion 4-H Junior Leaders for their annual community service learning trip, so I drove up to hang out with them for a bit. While there, I was able to enjoy some Tennessee barbecue (meh), and tour both St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House. Essentially, it was the same itinerary from the year we did this very same service learning project (2004), but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It was really fun to be back in 4-H mode (especially since I missed Conference this year), and spend time with with my Vermilion 4-H family. Sadly, I did not get to see Lindsey while I was in Memphis, but I know we'll be seeing a lot of each other this summer, so we'll make up for it soon!

As for the rest of April and May...these months deserve a blog all their own. So for now, these are your updates! Enjoy.

- Lauren

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