An Easter Surprise

This Easter weekend I had planned on visiting my boyfriend down at his college. While there, we went bowling with friends, ate a scrumptious breakfast at Cracker Barrel, played tennis until our arms ached, and caught Jim Gaffigan’s comedy show down in Roanoke. I could dedicate a post to every noteworthy element that made up our time together, and yet, there was something missing come Sunday morning. Though it had the all the essentials for a memorable weekend, the fact that I was missing Easter Sunday with my family was rather devastating.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I didn’t have to sit in a stuffy church listening to babies cry for an hour and a half, but I missed having the “Easter Bunny” hide eggs around the house and having an excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast. I know I’m not a kid any longer, heck, I’m not even a teenager any more, but those are some quality family memories that I never wanted to lose. And that fact that there weren’t going to be any hidden eggs for my brother to find due to my absence left me riddled with guilt and an urge to change this year’s depressing Easter fate. I had to make it home for Easter.

After waking up that morning, I embarked upon my Easter adventure through the rain and fog. I called my parents to let them know that I wouldn’t be heading back to school until later that night and that I was bummed out about not spending time with them, they ate it up. I took pride in my lie as I drove the 5 hours up north to bring me closer to their long-lost faces and hoards of candy stored in the cupboard.

When I pulled into our driveway I made sure to park the car far back from the house and close the car door as silently as my anxious hand would allow. I ducked under windows while trying to maintain balance with my suitcase and made it to the front door not a moment too soon. Not only was I proud of my undeniable stealth, but I was positively giddy with the excitement of being reunited with my family. I rang the doorbell and hid below the glass window in the middle of the door, not daring to make a sound. Out came my grandfather looking rather confused until he spotted me stooped low to the ground. He began silently laughing and helped me up into the foyer where he called for the whole family to gather. My dad came first, and as he tried to hide his shock, a big smile broke out onto his face. My mom and grandmother could hardly believe I was real, so thoroughly convinced were they that I would be going straight back to school. My brother met my arrival with an air of teenage indifference…

What followed was a sweet and memorable Easter day with my family. We ate a great dinner, talked about our lives, and watched a documentary about the Raven’s championship season. Suddenly, I had a new highlight from my weekend.

P.S.        My cat usually sits in a box on our big table. When we took it away for Easter dinner, she just wouldn’t have it. We’ve never had a cuter centerpiece. IMG_1923

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Alternative Spring Break

For the past year or so I’ve been attempting to try new things and expose myself to new experiences and activities. So, fall semester of last year I applied to participate in an alternative break program sponsored by the University of Maryland. I received my first choice assignment, spreading awareness of domestic violence in Knoxville, Tennessee, and last Saturday we departed in 2 vans, traveled for 9 hours, and made 13 beautiful friends.

The first place we went was the Appalachian Museum where peacocks roamed around an open area, bedpans were considered the ideal of creating musical instruments, and small shacks were expected to hold a household.

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After, we walked around a lake and listened to a bunch of old people play bluegrass music in the museum. What a way to connect with a group! We had a blast getting to know each other and explore this beautiful and sunny area.

Over the next couple of days we got down to the real work and collaborated with the YWCA to assist women who were rebuilding their lives, chalked in Market Square to spread awareness, visited a courthouse where they were processing domestic violence cases, and explored the Family Crisis Center. While it felt amazing to help the survivors of this all too frequent problem, the truly wonderful moments all came from my gaggle of girls.

734013_10200207791871636_917922898_nEvery night we would put loving comments into paper bags for each member of the group, describing a quality or occurrence that we loved about that particular person. We also placed statements about what we were hoping to receive from the trip on a huge bulletin board that made us feel accomplished by the end of the week. In addition, we shared amazing and inspiring stories about our lives, the highs and lows of our day, and three jars of creamy peanut butter. I can’t believe I could have gotten so close to so many people in such a short amount of time, but that’s what happens when you put yourself in a situation where you can meet sweet and like-minded people.

I did something good for the community in terms of spreading awareness of domestic violence and speaking to the availability of resources for those in need. And in turn, I was rewarded with 13 great friends whom I hope to keep in contact with even after our trip. No matter what it is you choose to do, if you put good energy  into the world, you can expect to receive good experiences back.

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