I cannot believe that it has already been a week since I was in Texas! Time is really flying by and I am becoming aware of how quickly graduation is approaching. Two weeks ago, I started my Spring Break with the knowledge that it could very well be my last (that sounded more morbid than intended- what I mean is that Spring Breaks are traditionally celebrated by students or those in the education field and I may never have an official Spring Break again). In that spirit, I vowed to make it a memorable one. It certainly was.
I landed in Dallas late Thursday night (3/8) at 10 PM. Julie picked me up from the airport and took me home. We took a little detour due to the poorly signed D/FW airport construction site, which is starting to resemble a large meteor crater. After finally making it home, we spent some time with my parents and talked for a while. Julie went home and then I stayed up late reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (my plan is to write reviews for each book in the trilogy). Friday, I spent some time helping my dad look for jobs and we actually found a few that fit me. It was nice to spend time with him as he was scheduled to travel the following week. That evening Julie and I watched 50/50. This is a fantastic film and I highly recommend it! It takes the audience on a roller-coaster ride of emotions and is a truly "human" film.
On Saturday, I met my good friend Daniel for lunch and was able to catch up with him and hear about his life. Daniel is a friend from my home church and I have known him for over ten years. We always enjoy grabbing food and catching up whenever I am back in town. After lunch, I had to drive home (rather quickly) and change into my suit for the wedding double header taking place that afternoon and evening. Julie came to pick me up and we drove to Fort Worth in the pouring rain (which had started while I was at lunch). The first wedding took place in the chapel at the NAS Joint Reserve Base. The bride was a college friend of Julie's, so there were plenty of Horned Frogs in the building! It was a really nice ceremony and reception! The only problem was that we had to leave the reception early in order to make it to the second wedding ceremony in time. We left the base with about 45 minutes to make it to the next location (the chapel on TCU's campus). The rain was really coming down at this point, but we made it across town with plenty of time. The bride for this second wedding went to high school with Julie and I. Julie actually went to elementary school with her as well! It was another beautiful ceremony and reception and good times were had by all. The rain persisted until we left the reception at around 10:45 PM. The only downside to this evening was the fact that the clocks sprung forward, robbing us of one hour of sleep.
Sunday morning came rather quickly, but it was wonderful to be back at my home church, Metrocrest Presbyterian. I played guitar, my Mum played keys, and my Dad played bass. Playing in the "family band" is always a blast! After church, Julie and I came back to find Brother Bear at the doorstep!! He returned from Waco after having played at the Big 12 tournament. We all enjoyed a nice lunch together and then Julie and I met up with Steve and Albert (two friends from high school) for Bubble tea. I always enjoy hanging out with old friends. For a few hours, it seems as though we have accessed time travel by taking a trip down memory lane. Reminiscing about the past is something that I love doing and this afternoon brought forth strong feelings of nostalgia. I hope to be 50 years old and still in touch with high school friends (I have actually known Steve and Albert since Middle School).
Julie and I then planned our discussion for that evening's Bible study. That night, we had a great discussion of the Believer's Prayer in Acts. Another thing that I love is small group Bible study. It is so encouraging to hear how people are being used by God! It was another fantastic night.
Monday was a rather chill day that consisted of practice and hanging out with my brother. My brother and I are very close, so we really took advantage of the fact that we had the same spring break. We went running, watched a fair amount of NCAA college basketball and American Dad!, went to several sporting good's stores, and ate amazing home cooked meals (this isn't the grand total of our activities, but these were certainly the highlights). Monday night found Julie working late, so I got a chance to hang out with the family.
On Tuesday, I slept in for a while and then finally rolled out of bed so that I could hang with another old friend, Parth. He had just put the finishing touches on a wicked custom-built guitar made out of a cigar box, so we spent the afternoon playing with it. After hanging out with Parth, I went back to Coppell to have a belated celebration of my Dad's birthday. Julie came over and my Mum made a really excellent curry (traditional British fare). We ate cake and did the whole birthday thing as a family. Another great evening was had by all. If you didn't already know this, I love my family.
|Yes... those are my legs and my new shoes!|
|The Downtown Canadian- Brady Heslip|
|Swift Meat Packing Plant- Ft. Worth|
|Julie and the Horned Frog|
Saturday morning was spent fueling up for the afternoon's 5K. The race was called the Pickle Palooza and it was enjoying its debut as an official race. Everyone was wearing green and the atmosphere was really fun. Willy and I decided that we would try to stick together as much as possible. With the sounds of Run DMC blasting from the event speakers, we approached the starting line to get into ready position. The horn sounded, starting the race, and we were off! There was a large crowd to wade through at the beginning, but it started to thin after the first quarter mile and Willy and I settled into a rather quick pace. We picked off runners one at a time and managed to hold 10th and 11th position for a while. Even though the pace was fast, we were feeling pretty good as we ran downhill with the wind at our backs. The hill turned into a winding trail that ended at a turnaround point where a water station was positioned. At this point, I was feeling exhausted, but we decided to keep up the fast tempo. As we made our way back through the winding paths of the course, we encountered our first problem- an onslaught of about 500 runners heading straight for us. We managed to weave through the crowd and came out of the trail feeling fully drained. And that's when the fun run became a pain run. As we turned the corner to begin the long hill climb, we realized that the wind would no longer be behind us. The wind beat down upon us with furious gales that didn't dissipate. It took all of my strength to keep moving. I eventually told Willy to press on as he was looking strong. I ended up stopping for about 15 seconds to catch my breath as I was physically spent with about a half mile to go. After regaining some strength, I willed my legs to move forward. As I rounded the last turn, I gave one final sprint to the finish, glancing at the clock to see if I had reached my goal. I had wanted to run around 22-23 minutes and Willy and I had wanted to come in 1st and 2nd place in our age division. Well...
I ran a 22:18 (7:11/mile split) and finished 2nd in my age division (19-24 yrs. old) and 9th overall. Willy ran a 21:35 and finished 1st in our age division and 6th overall. Mum ran an excellent 34 minute 5K and finished 8th in her age division. These results were nearly identical to last year's Bearathon results! It was great to get outside and compete with my family. Hopefully Dad can come to the next one!
Saturday afternoon was spent in recovery. After some relaxation, I went to the mall with Julie in order to help her pick out a bathing suit. I thought it only fair since she helped me find shoes. After some shopping and several successful purchases, we went back to my house for dinner. My Mum made fish 'n chips and it was superb (I love home cooked food!) After dinner, Julie and I drove to Allen to spend the evening with Doug (my old roommate) and Parth. We had fun celebrating St. Patrick's Day by playing cards and drinking Smithwick's. Another evening spent in great company.
Sunday morning came and brought forth another much needed worship service. I was able to lead the singing which is something that I always love doing. After church, Julie and I ate lunch at my house before falling asleep on my couch. I was mostly packed at this point (and by mostly packed I mean that my suitcase was empty). I packed my stuff while Julie slept and then I fit in one last go on my Rugby Xbox game. After that, I had a cup of tea (PG Tips) and then got ready to head to the airport. I sat at my gate, watching NCAA basketball on the TV and thinking about the next time that I would be home.
These trips back home are reminders of how blessed I am to have so many wonderful people in my life (if you have read this far, then I include you in this sentiment). Whilst many of my contemporaries jet-set off to the beaches of Florida or some of the "world's greatest cities," I choose to come home. Not because I have to, but because I want to. Seeing my family, Julie, and my friends reminds me of what is really important in life. Sure, going to the beach is great, but the beach doesn't love you back or laugh with you. The greatest food in the best cities can never live up to the feeling of eating a home-cooked meal (that's right, feeling- home cooked food doesn't just taste better).
Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family. Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often as if we take our family for granted. -Paul Pearshall
Living away from home has taught me many things, but the greatest thing that I have learned out here is the importance of family and friends. Everything else in the world can seem wrong and yet your loved ones will always be there for you. I will never take them for granted.