a weekend to remember

When I woke up this morning, I couldn’t stop thinking about what an amazing weekend I had.  Every single part of every day was wonderful!  I am sharing about it here partially because there may possibly-but-not-likely be someone out there who is interested in hearing about why my weekend rocked so much.  More so, I want to be able to reference this post and remember fondly what a great last full weekend I had as an undergrad at the University of Florida.

Friday

On Friday, one of my best friends, Cameron, turned 21.  Cameron is one of the greatest people I’ve ever met.  We ate dinner at the Swamp restaurant (classic Gainesville) and then went on to the stadium (also known as the Swamp) to watch the sunset.

After that, I went with my friends Blaire and Nicole to see a movie called “The Other Woman.”  Since I don’t have cable and I never go to movies, I rarely know what’s in theaters, but I went on a whim to this one with the girls.  IT WAS THE FUNNIEST MOVIE I HAVE SEEN IN A LONG TIME.  I loved it so, so much and want to see it again as soon as possible.  I officially have a girl crush on Leslie Mann.

After that, I met back up with Cam and our friend Joanna and we went line dancing!  We had a great time laughing our butts off attempting to keep up with what seemed like a bar full of professional line dancers.  It was pretty funny because, although I own two pairs of cowboy boots, I wasn’t wearing them this particular night.  So, surrounded by boot-clad girls, I line danced in my gold sandals.

Saturday

On Saturday, I slept in and met up with my friend Blaire for a Publix sub.  I am convinced that the best days always start with Pub subs.

We went on to the pool where we met up with about 10 other Cicerone seniors for a relaxing day of sunshine and daiquiris.  (Our friend Tyler literally brought a blender to the pool. It was 50 percent hilarious and 50 percent genius.)

After the pool, I went home, showered and changed and Drew picked me up for what would be the most random, spontaneous night of adventures.  First we got snow cones; then we snuck into Sam’s Club to sample foods.  Yes, you read that right.  We’re rebels.  Well, Drew is a rebel.  He walked in like he owned the place.  I, meanwhile, went with the “Wait up!” method of chasing after two random strangers and their baby past the card-checker and into the store.

After an underwhelming selection of samples, we went to the La Chua trail to see the wild horses/hogs/alligators and a stunning sunset.  It’s always crazy to me to find places of such open, natural beauty so close to a crowded college campus.

We then went and played beach volleyball which was an event in itself.  We met what might be the weirdest, goofiest kid to exist at the University of Florida.  He dove into the sand on every play and spent time saying things like, “I’m going to grab this sand so hard it’s going to turn into diamonds!”  What time I didn’t spend trying to serve or hit the ball, I spent laughing at this little oddball named Nate.

After that, we went to a late dinner at Outback (another entertaining event–there was plastic in the Bloomin’ Onion) followed by a spontaneous (and incredibly complicated) card game with some friends and watching Pride and Prejudice.  It was my first time to see that movie and holy mackerel did I love it!  My favorite part was, of course, at the end, when he was kissing her and calling her Mrs. Darcy.  Sigh.  So sweet.

Sunday

On Sunday, after a great church service with friends and lunch with my Cicerones executive board replacement, Cynthia, I went to play a modified game of backyard softball with friends.  It was called sloshball, and it involved drinking beer while you play.  I partook in the softball but not the excessive beer drinking; 2 p.m. on a Sunday just isn’t really my ideal time for that.

Afterward, I baked chocolate chip cookies and went to our Cicerones Bible Conversation, which had a record turnout!  It has been so cool to see this group grow from 3-5 people meeting sporadically to a group of more than 30 people gathered to discuss the Bible and share life together.  I feel so confident leaving the organization I love so much in the hands of the new leaders that are stepping up.

After Bible Conversation, a Cicerone named Avery and I went to the Black Community Awards.  Several of our friends were nominated for awards, and we went to support them.  It wound up being one of the most entertaining events ever.  Between seeing our friends on stage, laughing about various A/V problems and taking in an array of performances (including a rapper named “Bandz” who had two hype men on the stage with him), we had a fabulous time.  I sat right between my friends Reggie and Brianna, and that seat is one I would choose again and again for every show I ever go to!

Avery and I went for a spontaneous milkshake after the event was over.  We had what turned out to be such a memorable conversation as we sipped on our shakes.  One of the things I like about Avery is that he’s able to have such a good time and be so goofy and confident (we were changing the lyrics to “A Whole New World” and singing them out loud as we ordered in Baskin Robbins) but then shift into a serious, far-below-surface-level conversation.  I am someone who thrives in the balance of these two dynamics, and it was special to find someone else who can switch so easily between the two.

One of the things Avery and I wound up talking about was our mutual love for Cameron (see Friday night’s birthday festivities).  This, of course, led us to going over to Cam’s place to see him.

I scooted Avery home and then found myself thinking about how much I’m going to miss the people I’ve become close with during senior year, one of whom is leaving today.  Before I knew it, I was outside Leah’s door waiting for her to let me in!

We had a great late-night chat, discussing the summer she’s about to spend in the Middle East and our uncertainty about the future.  We also decided that the skirt I was wearing, which is long enough for her to wear in Qatar, would become a “Sisterhood of the Traveling Skirt.”

At last, around 1 in the morning, I went home and slept blissfully with my fan on full blast.

I am so thankful for this place and the friendships I have formed here.  To say I had a stellar weekend is an understatement.

 

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surf’s (kind of) up

1743571_10152873962407715_919633151_nA week ago, I got a text from my friend Sean.

It said all it needed to in one word: “Surf?”

A short conversation later (and an internal debate on whether or not I should indeed skip my class to go to St. Augustine spontaneously), Sean was all set to pick me up.  I had tried to convince him that we should wait and go on Sunday afternoon instead but he was adamant that the waves were not to be passed up on this particular Thursday.  And seeing as it’s senior spring, and this was on my bucket list, I obliged.

We got to his house in St. Augustine, and after a quick meet-the-parents, I was putting on a wetsuit.  This is the first of many things people never tell you about surfing: wetsuits are totally awkward to put on.  My calf muscles have never felt more thunderous than they did as the neoprene legs of the wetsuit clung to them like that creeper from Plaza of the Americas clung to me back in January.  Following Sean’s lead, I left the top half of the wetsuit around my waist and prepared to load up for the beach.

We loaded the surfboards into Sean’s car and headed to the beach…where a red flag was flying and not a single soul was in the water.    Another thing no one mentions about surfing: carrying a 7-ish foot long surfboard is no monkey business, particularly when you are on a narrow beach walkover and trying not to hit anyone in the face as they try to walk past.

Sean knew that I had never surfed before and that he was dealing with a total amateur.  After we put our stuff down in the sand, I followed his lead and zipped up my wetsuit all the way.

“You ready to hit the water?” Sean asked me.

I was stunned.  In all the movies/episodes of Made on MTV I have seen, the rookie practices all of the motions of surfing on the sand before they even go near the water.  The instructor gives lots of tips and encouragement and then, only then, do they actually hit the waves.

1948210_10152873962472715_691846972_nBut Sean seemed to think this method was overrated.  He walked confidently toward the Atlantic, knowing I’d follow.

Let me tell you, that water was cold.  Yes, the wetsuit was miraculously effective at keeping my body warm.  But my poor hands and feet, and lower half of my arms, and neck and face and OH YEAH MY ENTIRE HEAD FULL OF COLD, WET HAIR were all freezing.

Then we began the painstaking process of paddling out.  The waves were rough and coming from all directions.  Sean made it look easily as I was repeatedly pummeled into the ocean floor and pushed backward (like one of those math problems from elementary school where you go two feet forward but slide back three).

At one point, Sean asked me if I wanted to go back to the shore.  No freaking way was I heading in after ten minutes of effort.

We finally got out past where the waves were breaking and it was the most peaceful, beautiful, awesome thing.  I was content just to sit on the board and soak it all in.  Sean was right when he said that it’s pretty tough to be stressed or upset out on the water.

If I gave you a vivid description of all that followed, you’d be reading until your hair went entirely gray, so I’ll be brief:  I never stood up on the board and caught a wave.  I did, however half-stomach/half-knees, clenching the board with all my might, ride several waves, literally screaming and squealing as I went.  I also cheered for Sean as he Johnny Tsunami-style made the whole thing look like a piece of cake.  The end of the day came when, as dusk was approaching, a giant wave came at me head on.  My board slammed into my nose and mouth, the wave pushed me under, then my board slammed into the back of my head for good measure.  Panicking, I went to the shore and Sean followed, concerned.

Of course, I was fine.  Of course, there was no blood.  My hands and feet were numb.  The board was heavy to carry back down the shore to the car.  My nose was throbbing.  My hair was a tangled mess.  My body was exhausted.  We were starving.  But I loved, loved, loved my first experience surfing, and I can’t wait to go again.