The official count is now down to 9 days! WOW!
And I'm still as excited as ever. A lot has happened since the last post about the trip...namely a trip down to Mexico! But I also had VBS and a bunch of other stuff, too...
Dare I say...
Yeah, so the entire week before I left for Mexico, I went to the National High School Finals Rodeo here in Springfield. I knew I was going for weeks up to the event, but I wasn't really prepared for what took place!
On the opening night of Sunday, I went to the rodeo with my sister, Hammer, Josh, and Casey. 5 total. We walked in about 15 minutes late, so the stands were pretty full. We needed a place for five people, so we looked around. I found a spot in the lower seating area, so we made our way through.
There was goat-tyin', bull-ridin', calf-ropin', bronc-ridin', steer-wrestlin', and more! I loved it! The only problem was that I wasn't out there myself...
Well, the announcer said a name and then said..."from Utah..." and the whole section around us started cheerin'. After a few short words with the people around us, we realized that we were in Utah territory.
And little did we know exactly what that would mean...
Well, the rodeo continued, and then a bit later, the announcer said another name and then "...from Utah..." and we five found us cheering with our newly-found friends.
Except we introduced them to somethin' they weren't exactly used to. Not the "Yay, I'm proud of you because you are my son/brother/friend" cheering...but moreso of the "I am a SUPERFAN of rodeo, and I can't think of anything else that I would rather be doing! cheering...
And needless to say, the Utes loved us! We screamed louder than they did. We cheered the riders, the ropers, the tiers. And Utah invited us back. They wanted (dare I say needed!) our cheering...
So we went back Monday, then Tuesday, then Wednesday, then Thursday, then Friday, and, of course, Saturday for the National Championships.
A few memories...Sunday night we were asked by six people from Alaska if we would cheer for them. We said that our hearts were in Utah, but that we would do it for the right price. After learning about halibut and the like, we decided to be friends, but we couldn't sell short our Utes. (So I placed an eight-foot marlin on the Alaskan car at their hotel with the words "HALIBUT" written on it. Great times! Especially when the grandma said to me the next night..."So you did that just for the hal-i-but?!" ha! (Not to mention the Alaskan queen was cute...stupid high schoolers).
Pearl snap shirts all week long.
Or how about the night we showed up with huge signs that said U--T--A--H?! The moms asked if they could buy them off of us.
Or the night that we went to Fulgenzi's afterwards for a quick bite to eat. And the time when the seven rodeo moms challenged our table to a lil' competition involving....
BUTT DARTS?! That's right! You stick a quarter up your butt, squeeze tight, then walk eight feet, and try to drop the quarter into a little cup! Casey was a natural...my quarter missed by just an inch!
It was seven days of absolutely fun. This was how life was supposed to be lived...with friends each night...having good, clean fun! And enjoyin' the company of others! I desperately want/need this more in my life!
By the way, I am thinking of moving to Utah. What great people!
We were suspicious, but our thoughts were confirmed. By the second night, we learned that they were all Mormons.
On Thursday (my birthday), they celebrated by giving me cupcakes, cookies, and a signed Book of Mormon! Let me say that's a first! I celebrated with them by bringing some homemade ice cream to share! Yeah, Oreos!
All in all, a great week. One that I could re-live over and over. I wish all of life was like this!
And how did it all turn out?
Oh, you know...Utah turned out the National Rodeo Queen, a few individual national champions, and the much-coveted National Championship Team. And, of course, we took our pictures with the winning team...
What is more, numerous times we were told that we had places to stay...from north to south, from east to west...the moms have us covered! And you better believe that I will be holding up my end of the deal for mooching! I mean, they asked me to! (And on top of all of that, I was told by the Alaskan Rodeo Queen that I have a couch to stay up there, too!). woo hoo!
Well, that was Saturday evening when it ended. Around midnight...and I still needed to pack up and leave for Mexico in...
TWO HOURS?! yikes!
So I did. Threw some clothes together, went to church for some 2:30 A.M. pancakes, then hit the road at 3:30.
And another great week. We took 18 from our church, and the trip just went wonderfully. Only some minor setbacks...an over-heated van, some rain damage to our house we built, and stuff like that. Nothin' bad at all.
But I was just so thrilled with everything. God worked in the lives of our youth and adults, and I pray that they will forever be changed. We built a house for a guy named Martin, and I will forever remember his face when he received the keys for it. Words really do not describe such an event...
As for me? Well, I finally went over the top with what I want to do with my life. America has been good. But it's just not for me. My heart is with the poor. I find no greater feeling than working alongside the poor. I have enjoyed being rich, and perhaps I will forever be rich, but my heart remains with the down-and-out.
I don't know what my world travels will bring, but this past week part of me became excited to see it end! Well, don't take that the wrong way. I can just see myself settlin' down with the poor somewhere...not needin' to travel all over. That's all I mean by that. I really have no end in sight for my trip still, but there was just an overwhelming desire and contentment to hang out with the poor. And it might even be in Juarez, Mexico!
But, yes, I am still crazy excited about this trip. I just talked to Rubes today, and he is still in...he's goin' to try to hit up all of Europe before me! I love that guy!
And on top of that, I talked to a Dublin chick online who is up for puttin' us both up when I roll into town! August 14, City Center, by the spire. ha! I sure hope that works out!
But that's the name of the game...I hope to have a lot more of these opportunties in the next year. People offering up couches. So far, I'm incredibly confident that it will work out. And if all goes well, I have my first night taken care of.
So I have 9 days before I am gone for good. I've got a going-away party tomorrow (not sure what or who to expect there)...it's such a crazy feeling going into a party like this...I won't be crying or anything, but it's just good to know that people care about ya! I'm eager to see who shows up! Hammer called today and said he couldn't!
And I've got a week of hopefully tying up loose ends. My truck still hasn't sold, and it's not looking promising. And I have two motorcycles that are still unsold. I could sure use that money, and more than that, I just want to be done with things here in the States! It's hard to sell things from 3000 miles away.
I also had an interesting life lesson this past week...I tell ya, I really think everyone needs to just drop everything at least once in their life! Moving away gives me so much freedom...I'm able to say what I want, I'm able to call people out easier, and I'm overly able to see things in a different light.
What I mean is this: when you are so involved with something, and you know that you will be involved with it for the next unknown number of days/months/or years, you just look at it differently than if you know it is coming to an end.
In other words, I learned a lot about one of my students this week. That person has been a joy and a burden, a delight and a tragedy, but this week just opened up my eyes even more to the probably tragic and painful road that lies ahead. I think I knew it deep down, but from the outside, it is just so much easier to see.
Not that I want that person to go down that road, but if the actions or attitudes don't change, it's as clear as day...at least for me. Like parent, like kid.
Which was another lesson made all the more clear this week. Remember that one if I ever decide to go down that route!
VBS, Utah Rodeo, and Mexico. Wow. More stories. More endings.
But the beginning of something big just comes all the more closer.
Well, Rubes rolls in any minute now. Time to dream some big dreams with him!
2007-08-05 04:20:37 GMT