Friday, April 24, 2009

Let's All Meet in Nashville!

A couple of weeks ago, I drove up to Nashville, TN to visit my old coach Buffy. I'm getting to the point where I think of Buff more as my good friend than my old coach, but nonetheless I drove the 10 hours to go visit her. In addition to the opportunity to visit with her and her family, I especially wanted to visit since Sasha and Maaria (old teammates) were going to be there. Sasha lives and works in London, so it is a rare occasion that I get the chance to see her by spending just a few hours in the car. I hadn't seen Maaria in years either, so I was more than excited about the trip.

I arrived in Nashville late Friday night just in time to say hello to everyone before we all hit the sheets. The following day, we were all awoken bright and early by Buff's very rested children. In an effort to show Sasha a thing or two about Nashville, we all decided to head downtown and take a Duck Tour. This was a pretty neat experience until we got less than a mile away form the water and the vehicle decided to die on us. I guess it's good that we hadn't gotten in the water yet. Plus, we got a downtown tour and got all of our money refunded because of the break down.

When the duck tour was safely over, it was time to head over to the tennis courts so that Buffy could teach her Saturday group. Sash, Maar and I took this opportunity to hit some tennis balls ourselves. It was really fun to hit around just for fun, since the last time we were all on the same court together it was a lot more intense of an environment. We then headed back to the house for a cook out. Eric (Buffy's husband) made some fantastic vegetables and meats on the grill.

Sadly, in our old age, us girls were pretty tired at this point and thought for a moment about ditching the idea to go out on the town. We had, after all, just spent an hour making signs for the Easter Bunny. However, with a little push from Eric and a strong desire from Sash to see some live music, we finally made it out. We started by going to a place that had a 5 person band playing "old school" country music. The band wasn't quite as entertaining as some of the folks in that place, but the music was enjoyable too. We then moved to a bar that was supposedly known for it's intentional "trashy" decor. We weren't too impressed with the bar, but the music there was pretty good. After that we decided to call it a night.

About 6 hours later, we were again woken up by excited kiddos. Since it was Easter Sunday, they were excited to see what the Bunny had brought them. We had a slow morning and got ready to see Maaria off, as she had the earliest flight. After that, Sasha and I came out of retirement to play Buffy's number one High School team. It sure wasn't pretty, but we did pull out the victory and we had a lot of fun. We quickly grabbed a variety of Popsicles from the Mexican Popsicle stand I fell in love with on my last visit to Nashville.

After that, it was time for me to head home. It was a long and tiring drive back home, but I made it safely with the help of Iain, who was forced to stay on the phone with me for a couple of hours.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Compass Points West

After a lot of soul searching and experimenting with different things over the past year, I have finally made a huge decision. I'm heading West to pursue a job in wilderness field instruction.

Before I started Outward Bound, a friend told me about this program called Second Nature Wilderness Therapy Program. It uses the wilderness to help treat and heal people with substance abuse or disciplinary problems. The program works mostly with 18-23 year-olds, but also has adolescent groups ranging in age from 14-18. Second Nature has 4 locations in the United States. The one I have applied for is in Saint George, Utah. They also have programs in Northern Utah, Oregon and Georgia. From the very first time I heard about the program and looked over their website, I thought it was something that would be really cool to do.

About two months ago, I finally decided to apply for the position of Field Instructor. I was eagerly awaiting a response from them after I had my telephone interview. On Friday I got a call from the recruiter, who let me know they would love to have me and invited me to their May training. At first I was thinking I would fly out there for the training and then decide to drive out there at a later date to start work. But, I decided it would probably make more sense to just drive out there in the first place.

The scariest part about this big move is that the job isn't guaranteed yet. The training is merely a try out to actually become a field instructor. So I'm taking a huge leap of faith by driving out there. I also will have no place to live when I finish the training, so I will probably be hopping from camp site to camp site until I can get some kind of housing worked out. If things don't work out or for some reason I get out there and change my mind, then I will have driven cross country, which is something I have always wanted to do.

I'm planning to embark on my journey bright and early on May 16th. In addition to visiting some friends along the way, I'm also going to try to plan a visit to a few national parks before I land in Saint George on May 21st. Whatever places I fail to visit on my initial drive out there, I will have plenty of time to explore on my days off. The way the schedule works, I would be working in the field 8 days in row and then I would get 6 in a row off and the schedule continues that way year round.

I'm really excited and a little bit scared at the same time. Please feel free to check out Second Nature's website if you want to read more about the program and my potential job.

Cherry Blowwoms

I guess I should first explain that the title of this blog is due to a typing error I had in an attempt to spell Blossoms. But then it became funny to call them the Cherry Blowwoms, hence the title of the blog.

Anyways, I have never done the Cherry Blossom thing and this year I really wanted to make it happen. Unfortunately during the week when I had a lot of free time and it wouldn't have been so crowded, it decided to rain and rain and rain. So, with a huge effort to get out of bed after a late night, my Cherry Blossom experience became a reality.

Iain and I headed downtown around 11am and subsequently sat in a lot of traffic before deciding to head away from the craziness to find parking. Since I was going to the Caps game later that day, it ended up working out perfectly because we found a spot near the arena. However, the less than perfect part was that I was wearing sandals for the first time in months and my feet paid for it. It was totally worth it, though!

Even though the crap load of people there were getting on my nerves, I couldn't help but smile at the gorgeous weather and scenery. I probably took about a hundred pictures along the way. We had a great walk around the entire Cherry blossom display and then walked towards the arena to meet up with my Mom and sister for lunch before the game.

I am always amazed at how beautiful a city DC is and how much it has to offer. Even though I have lived in the area my whole life, I still find new ways to appreciate things about the city. I hope you enjoy the pictures!

A Family Affair

I can't remember the last time all the BeVard girls got to attend a Capitals game together, but it has been a very long time. Thanks to a Christmas gift from my Mom, I had two extra tickets to the game on Sunday and decided to take my sister. My Mom took her friend Nora, who we have decided to adopt into the family since her daughters live far away. We all met up at our favorite salad joint, Chopt. After we got our sandwiches and ate, we headed to the game.
My sister and I were supposed to sit in the nose bleeds, and had been mocking ourselves for this the whole day. But, just before the game started we got a call from my Mom saying that the two seats in front of her were going to be available. Lucky for us, we didn't have to squint our eyes to be able to watch our favorite team. We also got to chuckle at how cute my Mom and Nora are during the game with their constant commentary.

The CAPS hap a slow start, but ended up winning 6-4. They have 3 games remaining and the opportunity to finish in second place in the conference. We have high hopes for this team making it all the way, and we will be cheering them on in the playoffs in about a week or two!

After the game, we all went to Jill's house for dinner and games. We arrived just in time to entertain Peter a little bit before he went to sleep. Actually, he probably entertained us more than we did him. It was such a fun night and good to finally have all the BeVard girls at a game together!

P.S. I totally kicked everyone's butt in SMACK! Just wanted to put that out there.

PSU Reunion

A couple of weeks ago, several of my friends from college were going to be visiting State College for a weekend. Because all of us live in various places, PSU was a good middle point to meet at. Plus our friend and my old teammate, Leyla, still lives there so we would have a place to stay. Because I had to work on Saturday, I wasn't able to make it up to State College until that night. As soon as I got there and got a quick shower, we immediately began partaking in some old traditions. We began with a game called manimal, then on to some catch phrase before heading out on the town.
We started the evening at Mad Mex, where Jenny and I knew we could get some great gaucamole and chips. We then headed to the Gaff, which was home to our weekly Tuesday night of dancing. In an effort to recreate the past, Jenny and I decided to request every song we use to get really excited about in college. To our surprise, the DJ played all of our requests. Needless to say, we were probably the most excited about him playing the song SHOUT!
It was a really fun evening of dancing and spending time with friends. And, it of course ended with a piece of pizze from Bell's, our favorite pizza place. The following morning we got ready to bid our farewells with a quick breakfast at Waffle Shop. Slowly, but surely, we all left one by one. I was the last to leave, but it was still a very short trip for me. I'm a strong believer in doing what I can to see my friends and family if I have the chance. I hope to be able to get together again in the future!