Sunday, September 21, 2008

Morgantown Birthday

Well another year has come and gone for me. I'm 27, in grad school, and one year ago I was living in a mud hut eating chocolate cake and chapatis with the Scotlands and my Sudanese host family, Agnes, Malish, Wanni, and baby Solomon. 26 was a good year and I can only hope that 27 will bring as much adventure and learning possibilities (being in grad school, you'd think at least I'd get the learning part in).

So last Wednesday on my bday, I had to go to class, of course, but 2 of my classmates made my afternoon class a little more exciting than I'd planned. My friend Maggie baked mini chocolate and vanilla cupcakes and my friend Joe biked in 2 2litre bottles of soda, a bag of ice, and some cups. When I walked into class, the cupcakes were sitting on the table in front of the desk in which I always sit. I walked passed them and thought "are those for me?" I didn't want to say anything just in case it was some strange coincidence. but then Maggie looks over, and with a huge smile on her face says "I baked those cupcakes for YOU!" I laughed and was super excited all at the same time-- I wasn't sure if I was even going to get a birthday cake this year...its hard moving around all the time because you're always changing friend networks. Not that I don't have any friends here, because obviously from the previous blogs, I have spectacular friends here, however, one never really know if anyone knows its your birthday/wants to do anything for it (thanks goodness for Facebook reminders)-- Then Joe came in with an overstuffed messenger bag and one-by-one emptied the soda bottles, bagged ice, and cups. I gave him serious props for biking all the way to class with all that stuff! Later, during our mid-class break, we partook of the birthday goodies. I've never had so much fun in a college class (ok, well the ropes course was pretty fun too). BUT don't be fooled, grad school is NO fun and games...its kicking this 27 year-old's rear in a big kinda way!

That evening, with my Sunday night community group, we held a joint birthday party with my friend Tara, who's a day older than me (that's Alexis Blidel's, from Gilmore Girl's, birthday, for those who are a fan) at Kassar's Mediterranean Restaurant. I had a lot of fun with my new group, plus Joe and his wife Ellen. I enjoyed some veggies Gyros and falafels with hummus, washed down with a cookie cake. Although it was a school night and everyone, including me, was busy with school and work, we were still able to have some quality birthday fun! Here are some pictures from the night:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Maybe if I wasn't going commando: another party with a purpose

I don't know how many of you have ever seen the Friends episode in which Joey and Chandler get into an arguement over clothing and then Joey walks onto the scene wearing all of Chandler's clothes at once; but that was the inspiration for our recent Party with a Purpose. On Sunday all of us who meet regularly on Sunday nights for a community group came wearing, or brought with, them all of the clothes they wanted to give away. The winner was the person who had the most articles of clothing on their body at one time. In 80 degree weather people were rolling into the Rickard's house wearing downe jackets and sweatshirts. For me, I changed into my give-away clothes once I got to the house, and then proceeded to die of heat stroke wearing about 3 sweatshirts! Crazy people such as Tara, who one first place, not only had on 5 times her body wieght's worth of clothes, but taped a toaster to herself as well. Kent, pictured below, is wearing about three hats, a downe parka, and some sweat shirts.
One-by-one we watched as each person pulled off an article of clothing until we got to the last layer (yes, we stopped at the last layer-- it wasn't that kind of party!). The funniest part was watching everyone go from being morbidly obese, to a regular size or even down right skinny. It was like watching a before and after infomercial of Weight Watchers clients. What was grossest, was everyone's bottom layer-- like I said, it was 80 degrees!
After everyone had their turn at the contest, the talli came in, Tara was first and Brittani in second (pictured below in her award of pink hat and pink tie). Then everyone changed into non-give-away clothes and we proceeded to sort through ALL of the clothes-- including the clothes that people brought but didn't wear. We gave away all the t-shirts to be brought to Uganda by a group that's leaving for there soon; all the business clothes and most of the girls' clothing will be going to Christian Help here in Morgantown, and all of the warm-weather clothing will be going to the homeless who live on the Rail Trail, also here in Morgantown.
I know I've said this in a previous entry, but I am so thankful to have this group of friends who takes their faith into action by serving the global community!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

We all need a little help from our friends

Last week Thursday, my Community Counseling class went out to the WVU ropes course just outside of Morgantown. For those of you who know the area, its near Cooper's Rock. Our prof, T.Anne, wanted to incorporate it into our studies as a way to get closer to one another, learn different forms of group counseling, personal growth, and of course, to have a lot of fun! The School counseling students were for sure jealous of our alternative classroom. But, shhh, we were instructed not to rub it in their faces. Here are some pictures from the morning's events:

Our group had to transport the "platonium" from one side of the course to the other, while staying off the ground. We couldn't touch the bucket, only the strings, and had to have 4 people holding it at a time.

Maggie being lowered onto the zip wire to attempt to shimmy across to the other side. Way to take it for the team!!

Adrian volunteered to sprint across the wire with his amazing lightning speed...he almost made it.

This is my lame attempt to jump over the hurdle. we could only go over it, not under it. It was one of those moments where I realized my dreams of being in the olympics are over.

When we got the the middle of the coarse, meeting up with the other half of our group, we passed off the platonium and they handed us "Bobby," our stretcher board victim whom we had to take back over to our side.

"We have to do what?" When we got our victim to "safety" we were told that Bobby needed to get across a steel wire, over to another platform in which the meds can reach him. Here, we cast lots to walk the plank.

reinforcements: the other half of our group got the platonium to safety and rejoined us on our side in order to find a solution to the crossing of the gap. As pictured above, my classmates are pretty creative...and brave!

After the course, we separated back into our small groups and discussed the good, the bad, and the ugly of the days' events. ...then we sang Kum Baya-- just kidding.