Greetings from Washington, D.C! (Well, 13 miles from there if we're being precise).
With two and a half months down, it's hard to believe that one month from today will be our last event already! Time sure does fly. Thinking about being away from our little dream team family can't be had yet because then I'll get sad, and there's no doing that with time to go! So we've been to North Carolina, Virginia and now I reside in Maryland since my previous post.
7/22- Trip to Duke's plantation. Can I just get married there? It was honestly one of the most beautiful places we've been to. All of the flowers and scenery was SO green and bright. We walked around there for awhile then headed off to a girls lunch and then made the drive to Lynchburg, VA.
7/23- This was a B event, so I had the day off. We were headed out that night for the next stop so I headed out early and finally found a decent chiropractor so I took care of that. I headed downtown for lunch at the downtown area with Bri, then we just took it easy at the hotel. There was free laundry there so obviously I had to do laundry that day before anything else. We stayed right down the street from University of Virginia, so I walked down there and explored their campus a bit. Then I went to a jazzercise class with Debra, which was a whole lot of fun!
7/24- Event at Charlottesville, then drove to Richmond, VA. Gotta love all the driving we've been doing! The land is more interstate and less green, so I'm already starting to miss the south! We were lucky enough to be at this hotel for a few nights, which was a good change of pace.
7/25- Event at Richmond, followed by a team dinner at a nice place in the downtown area. We were able to treat ourselves to a nice dinner, so that was awesome. I ate so much, so as soon as I layed down I was out that night.
7/26- Yay for sleeping in a little bit. I woke up and went to church, then Marie and I went to Carytown to explore. There was a bunch of little shops with cute things and a farmers market. Then we plugged in a random point on the map to take us to the river one of the client advisors had suggested. Parking was at the top of a hill and whatnot, so we parked in a random spot that looked promising and started walking. There was a random guy walking to his car as we were leaving and he said hey to us and offered to show us where to go. Well, good thing he did because we had to walk down some winding road, climb over a siderail of the road, hike down a dirt path, turn at some railroad tracks, then climb through some more trees to get out to this spot. Once we got out there, it was like a whole new world. There were lots of rocks in the river that you could walk out on, so we hiked out to the middle of the river, then swam out to a spot where a bunch of people were hanging out and jumping off this little platform thing. I wasn't going to do it, but after watching Marie and Daniel and a bunch of other kids jump, they finally convinced me to climb the ladder and go for it. and that was the most exhilarating moment. ever. It was probably a good 30 feet in the air, and my body didn't even know what to do as a free fell through the air. So I guess you do gotta live on the edge a little sometimes. Opens your eyes to life! If anything, this life is way too short to let your fears determine what you do. That night, we grabbed some dinner and walked around a bit.. and yes, of course we got the homemade ice cream.
7/27- Marie and I met Daniel at the Midlothian Apothecary for breakfast. The hole-in-the wall places are always my favorite and this was a little diner in the corner of a pharmacy, served super cheap and amazing breakfast! I had to get one of the cars serviced so we dropped it off after and Daniel chauffeured us around to the mall and a coffee shop to kill some time. Then we ventured back to the river for a few hours. We had a little picnic on the rocks and floated in the river, so that was nice! We went and checked out the graffiti on the walls downtown Richmond and walked on this pipeline by the water, so that was really cool! Then we grabbed some dinner again and walked around and wound up at a park sitting and enjoying the night. There were these huge rats that kept running around the fountain, so it was like being out on the farm again (except these were alot bigger!)
7/28- EVENT & then some 2 hour travel to Virginia Beach!
7/29- EvEnT! Casey was back as our athlete for this event, so it was fun to hang out with him one last time! Can't wait to (hopefully) watch him in the Olympics next year! If you're feeling super kind, go vote for him on teamusa.org/awards as male athlete of the month!! I promise he deserves it! That night we drove down to Virginia Beach for dinner. The place we went to had super good food & there just so happened to be a bikini contest there, so of course we had to stay and watch that. Then we walked out on the beach for a little bit before heading back. It was a pretty standard place, I've liked other places better, but it was nice to at least see it.
7/30- super duper travel day of driving around 5+ hours to Silver Springs, MD ft. a pit stop in Richmond because why not?! I already love the traffic and the way people drive in this area, its wonderful! (Heavy sarcasm noted)
7/31 & 8/1- Woah, is it really. August already? I couldn't believe it when I had to write 8/1 on the sheets at the event.. Where is the time going and can it slow down, please? I'm in a wrestle with time right now. It's going way too quickly and I'm already dreading having to be away from my teammates in a few weeks.. After four months together seeing each other nearly everyday and making so many memories, it's going to be so weird going our own ways.
On the other hand, I got a phone call at work on Saturday that my grandma was being airlifted to Peoria hospital because she had a stroke. There's nothing worse than hearing that and not being able to be there for her and for my mom. She is doing okay, but she has a long recovery ahead of her. They're still waiting to do tests on her, so my hope's just been going up to God and trusting that He has it under control. My mom skyped me yesterday from the hospital, so it was so nice to be able to at least see my grandma that way. Thank goodness for technology, especially when I'm states away at a time like this! My family was also supposed to arrive on Saturday to spend a week out here with me, but that's been canceled, so it's been tough thinking of that too. But, it's another day that I'm alive and I'm just trying to stay positive in that. It's insane how quickly time can change things in the blink of an eye. One minute things may be fine, and the next a life could be changed forever. Over the past few days, my mind's been full of thoughts and memories. I was going through pictures on my computer tonight and I found some from back when I was messing around with the photobooth app on my computer and found a picture I'd taken of grandma and I. I can remember her, never understanding how technology works and thinking how crazy it was that I could take a picture with it. She's a riot!
If I can tell you anything, let it be this. Life will not always be easy. No one ever promised it would be. You're going to go through things that will feel like the worst thing in the world. You're going to cry, and it just might bring you to your knees. You'll be flooded by thoughts and wish you could change things. Time will keep passing, though. And you will get through it. The challenges make you who you are. Times may get tough, but we can't give up hope and we can't get defeated and worn down by the trials. I know that things will never be the same as they were before, but we can't focus on what won't be any longer, but only be thankful for that which remains and that which we did have. It might take every ounce of patience, tears, and a million prayers a day, but at the end of each day, I know that God will be there every single step through every single challenge and every single happy moment, He'll never let go, through every high and every low, and sometimes that's all we can truly depend on. I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future, and for that, I am forever thankful.
Saturday night I had my first time ever experience in DC! We went and walked around the Washington monument, visited the Abraham Lincoln statue, and went to a yummy pizza place.
8/2- Today I woke up feeling like I didn't really have a voice, so I ate breakfast then laid in bed and watched one of the sermon's from Eastview then fell back asleep for awhile. It's insane how much I miss going to church there every week! I worked out and drove to DC again. Rob and I walked around the city and saw the White House and all of the monuments again. It feels like such a dream! Seeing all of these places and thinking of the history and just the people that are in this city and all of their responsibility makes it all seem unreal, but it's been incredible. I drove around aimlessly for over an hour tonight just looking at all of the houses in the neighborhoods, they're all so beautiful.
I've been sitting outside on the patio of our hotel for about two hours now, just working on things on my computer and taking some time to do some writing. It's such a nice night! The stars are out & I know that wherever I am, I'm always under the same stars as everyone that I want to be next to right now! Four weeks from right now I will be back in the lovely countryside. Four weeks too far yet four weeks too soon-- making the most of it! Cheers to August!