Saturday, February 23, 2013

Ups and Downs

Its amazing how quickly life can change.

Two weeks ago I was at Wellesley, happy about the day we got off because of the blizzard and loving the two and a half feet of snow covering my windows. That weekend was happy and wonderful and spontaneous and full of lots of fun.

This weekend I am home. Normally that would be a great thing, but this trip was rather unexpected and unasked for. A week ago Thursday my grandpa fell out of bed and broke his hip. He had surgery Friday morning, and just wasn't able to recover fully. They took him off of all of the monitors and everything so he could be comfortable, and on Sunday afternoon he passed away. This week has been hard in many ways. It was mostly hard being away from my family. Even though I knew it would mean missing class and getting behind, I knew that I had to come home.

It has been amazing to be able to spend time with my family, especially because I didn't expect to see them again until this summer. One of my favorite parts has been hearing stories about my grandpa, many of which I've never heard before. For example, when the game Monopoly first came out his family couldn't afford to buy it, so he borrowed his neighbor's game and replicated all of the pieces so he would have his own. He also helped start a potato processing plant in North Dakota, which I thought was pretty cool.

Mostly I knew my grandpa as a missionary. For most of their adult lives my grandparents lived in Africa, mostly in Nigeria and Cameroon. I've always loved hearing the stories about how he would hunt wild boars and hippos, how he helped start radio stations and built schools and delivered a baby or two when he had to. My grandpa was an amazing man, and I've loved this opportunity to learn more about his incredible life.

Anyway, that's about all I have to say. I just wanted those of you who keep up with my blog to know what's going on in my life. And my family and I would still definitely appreciate your prayers!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Road Trip: Part 2

Even though classes started a week ago, I still want to update you guys about how the rest of my road trip went! These first two paragraphs I wrote a few days ago, and the rest is just a summary of the second part of our trip.

So, I've finally found a couple of things that I don't like about roadtrips. One, not everywhere you stay has internet. I know that sounds really ridiculous and "first world" of me, but it was a little frustrating because I was getting important emails about scheduling work and classes and things this semester and I couldn't check my email for almost 3 days.

Second, I don't like being hit by a dump truck. I really don't like being hit by the same dump truck twice. He was trying to change lanes and apparently just didn't see us. (Even after he hit us the first time!) We're all fine and the car is mostly okay, but there is definitely some damage on one of the rear doors. (Good thing we had a rental car and not our own!)

One of my favorite things that we were able to do while we were in Virginia (visiting my mom's brother and sister-in-law) was to go to Luray Caverns. I believe its one of the largest caves in America, and it was spectacular. We went on about an hour long tour walking through the caves, and its hard to even describe what it was like. It felt like we were on a set designed for a movie or something, not in a place that was formed naturally. Here are a couple of pictures, although of course they're not anywhere close to the real thing.

This was actually a pool of water, so the rocks you see on
the bottom are really a reflection.

Another one of my favorite parts was driving through more mountains (Hurray!). My mom probably didn't appreciate it though, because she was the one who got to drive through all of the steep hills and sharp turns and switchbacks. It was pretty amusing to watch our path on the GPS nearly double over on itself as we drove along the road.

Finally, after another 9 hour drive or so (during which occurred our aforementioned run-in with a dump truck) we made it to Boston! Well, actually to a little town outside of Boston called Framingham, but close enough. We arrived on a Thursday night, so all day Friday and Saturday we were able to spend doing various things exploring Boston itself. It was very illuminating for my parents, my dad never having been in the area at all and my mom only having been here once before (in August, dropping me off at school). It was very interesting for me, too, because I don't often get a chance to do touristy things in the city. We visited Faneuil Hall and got a tour of the state house and walked part of the freedom trail (which was a little miserable because the windchill must have been close to 0). We visited the aquarium, got a tour of the USS Constitution (or "Old Ironsides") and ate at a fabulous sea food restaurant. Overall, a very fun (but very exhausting) couple of days.

This is me inside part of the captain's cabin on the
USS Constitution.

My favorite parts of the aquarium were definitely
the jellyfish and sea horses.

On Sunday we finally made it to Wellesley. It was fun to show my parents around, although by that time all of us were pretty tired from the whole trip, so we didn't do much on Sunday. And Monday I started classes. My parents were still around that day, so basically they came with me on campus doing whatever I needed to do, and when I had classes they just found a place to sit and relax for a while. It was a little strange having them there, because last semester they were always so far away, but it was kind of fun for them to experience what a normal day is like for me.

One downside of this trip was that I felt a little overwhelmed and unorganized before the semester even started. The first day of classes came very quickly because I was so wrapped up in our trip, and I felt rather unprepared for it. I'm finally now starting to settle back in and get back into my normal rhythm . Overall though, it was such an amazing experience, and I feel very lucky that I was finally able to go on a road trip like I've always wanted! Obviously I couldn't go into a whole lot of detail in two little blog posts (okay, so maybe they aren't so little) so if you have any questions please ask! My classes this semester are promising to be pretty fun, so I'm definitely looking forward to that! (And, as always, I will update you later :) )