Life Updates: Future Travels, Current Favorites, and Career Goals

Easter break already! I’m not going to lie, I’m very grateful for this long-weekend break. Seeing that it has been a while since I have posted, I thought I would do a light-hearted update blog for those who are interested.

New Passions

Social Justice

My experience with service while at my college as well as my love for Royal Family Kids Camp has shown me how passionate I am about social justice issues—ranging from the environment, to foster children, to health problems. I realized that I just can’t sit still when there is so much hate, pain, and suffering in the world. I’ve learned that I not only need to educate myself about these issues, but also do my part to be a positive change in the world.

Public Health

I’ve been in this confusing state of not knowing what I want to do with my life for a while know. I always knew that I wanted to go into the medical field, but nothing was really clicking with me because I felt like most medical careers didn’t really encompass my other passions (the new one being social justice issues). Then I stumbled upon a dual degree program that allows participants to get their Doctorate of Medicine and Masters of Public Health in 5 years. I know it seems like a lot of school, but I can’t see myself not incorporating public health into my career. With a public health perspective, I will be able to view health problems on a societal level, rather than an individual level. While I will still be treating patients, I also have the opportunity to look at overarching health problems within a society and figure out solutions to these situations. Specifically when getting my MPH degree, I could see myself specializing in environmental health because the environment—the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe— is so crucial to our health, and I want to be an advocate for this important issue.

Favorites

Podcasts

I’m a newbie when it comes to podcasts, but I’ve realized how amazing they are! Specifically, I have been listening to them when I go for runs because they are entertaining, but also informative. My favorite podcast at the moment is Ladies Who Lunch by Ingrid Nilsen and Cat Valdes. I love this podcast because they discuss a wide range of topics: feminism, relationships, mental health, LGBTQ issues, etc. The conversations are very open, honest, and nonjudgmental, which I really appreciate.

TV Show—The Fosters

This show is so intense, but I love it because it brings awareness to so many issues—the challenges teen foster children face being at the forefront. Kids need stable, loving homes, and without them, they are more likely to be influenced by gangs, drugs, violence, and even sex tracking. Like I said, the show is a lot to take in, but it addresses real issues that could spark conversations that lead to change. I can’t believe I have to wait until July for the new season to start…

Exciting Adventures

Edinburgh, Scotland

In May, I will be visiting my friend who is studying abroad in Scotland! This is my first solo travel trip and my first time to Europe, so I am very excited 🙂

Quito, Ecuador

I am very excited to announce that I will be studying abroad in Quito, Ecuador next fall. The plane tickets are bought, so it is official. I am so excited for this immersive experience. I know that this experience will both be exhilarating and exhausting, but I am ready to witness a new culture and step outside the bubble I currently live in.

 

I think that is everything… School is going well! Only 4 more weeks left I think. I enjoy all of my classes (even physics), and I truly couldn’t ask for better friends and professors. They have shown me so much love, support, and encouragement, and I am extremely grateful to be at this school.

 

Lots of love,

Hannah

A Lesson in Humility: A Recap of My Children’s Medical Trip

Before embarking on this Children’s Medical trip to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, I couldn’t help but create expectations for what I wanted the trip to be like. I wanted to spend one-on-one time everyday with sick in-patients, giving them joy, hope, and encouragement. I yearned to hear stories from the families about how they were dealing with the stress of having a sick child so that I could offer a listening ear and an empathetic heart. What we got instead was little patient contact and a lot of filing, copying, and stuffing of envelopes.

The reality of this trip was so drastically different from what I envisioned, and for a while, I was bitter. I knew that other Children’s Medical trips to Iowa and Tennessee were having a very different experience than we were having. I realized, however, that I was being selfish with the service that I was willing to offer. As the week went on, my group discussed how we could all benefit from a dose of humility. We came to serve this hospital. No service (administrative or patient care) is below us. With that notion in mind, our group was able to enter the hospital every day with positivity. When we got to do arts and crafts or play games with smiling children, we cherished those moments. Other times when we were doing paperwork, we tried to use that opportunity to learn more about the behind the scenes jobs that need to get done in order to make the hospital run.

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This trip was not what I expected at all. Despite the challenges we faced, I have many memorable moments with my group. My favorite child interaction was when I was running “Art Cart” for the out-patients. I saw a little boy running around, and his dad looked exhausted, so I decided to see if I could harness his energy. The little boy and I began playing a modified form of Red Light Green Light. Soon other kids were joining in, and we played this game along with Simon Says, Duck Duck Goose, and whatever other games I could think of on the spot. Needless to say, the kids had an endless supply of energy, and I definitely got my cardio in for the day.

My other memorable moment was making dinner at the newly built Ronald McDonald house. This facility was beautifully renovated. It is clean, cozy, and comforting for the families who stay there. Plus, their dog Mac brings a smile to everyone. On Thursday night, we decided to make “Breakfast for Dinner” for these families since we heard that many people were sick of eating pasta or chili. After getting a tour from the wonderfully dedicated maintenance man, Ernie, we whipped out the red and white striped aprons and got to work. We flipped pancakes (topped with your choice of chocolate chips, bananas, and/or sprinkles), scrambled eggs, fried some bacon and sausage, and even made cookies. It was a great feeling knowing that we could provide a home-cooked meal for these families. I am so thankful that Ronald McDonald house exists because if I had a sick child, the last thing I would want to do is worry about where to stay or what to eat. Here, the families can just focus on being there to support their children at the hospital. I’m so glad to have been able to serve in such a wonderful facility.

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Finally, my group was filled with funny, kind, and positive people. Before we began our service at the hospital, we bonded by rock climbing to the top of Pinnacle Mountain. Luckily, no bones were broken—just one scraped up leg resulted. Later we bonded further by cheering on the Packers at Buffalo Wild Wings, even though we were surrounded by dedicated Dallas fans. Luckily, the Packers were victorious, so we were able to leave with our heads held high. Whether it morale boosting Baskin Robbins runs, murder mystery podcast listening sessions, or intense games of Uno attack, our group couldn’t have gotten along better. Even when we were disappointed at times about our service, we were able to laugh it off and face each moment with the positivity needed to get through the week.

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So no, this trip is not what I expected it to be, but as a result I grew in my ability to lead, adapt, and remain positive in unpredictable circumstances. I was challenged to volunteer selflessly and humbly, realizing that we were helping the hospital no matter what type of service we were giving. I was able to bond with my wonderful group and meet some of the nicest people with Southern hospitality, such as Margie from church who cooked us a meal for free, the men from the simulation center with their passion and enthusiasm, and Blake from the research center who was so excited to educate young adults like us. Even though this trip didn’t go as planned, I can still walk away feeling accomplished in the ways that I served others and built relationships with the people I met.

 

Reunion with My Long Lost Childhood Friend!

Date: Sunday, January 8, 2017.

Time: 3pm

Location: my toasty warm room

It was just a normal Sunday for me and my family. I woke up, read my bible, worked out, went to church, and ate brunch at the Original Pancake House. We had returned from brunch and I was just laying in bed trying to “help” my mom order pictures via Walgreens. All of a sudden the doorbell rang. That’s not that unusual. I just let my mom get it. It was probably some kid selling something, right? What do I hear, though? My mom was yelling, “Hannah, it’s Madhu!!!”

Madhu—as in my childhood neighbor and best friend who I have not seen in over 10 years standing here at my door step. I was amazed, elated, and completely in shock.

Let me back up to when the story all began. My family moved into our house back when I was 4 years old. Maybe around a year later, Madhu and her family moved in. I was an extremely shy child, and I hated interacting with new kids, but Madhu immediately was ready to play. She loved our swing set and plethora of toys. While our dog scared her slightly, she came over to play with me almost every single day. One of my favorite memories was exchanging riddles with one another (nerdy, I know haha). Soon enough, I realized that Madhu was an amazing, bubbly friend, and I took the initiative to start knocking on her door after school to play. Honestly, when I think back on my childhood, I remember these times with Madhu.

Sadly, her dad got a job in New Jersey, so when I was about 10, she had to move away. Madhu and I had to say our goodbyes, but I had her new address, so I wanted to keep in touch with her (this was before I knew how to use social media). Soon afterwards, I lost her address information, and needless to say, I was devastated. I had no way of contacting her. Years later, I tried finding her on social media, but I couldn’t find her because I didn’t know her full name. She was just Madhu back then.So that was it. My friendship with her was over.

Or so I thought…

Now more than ever, I believe that God is up in heaven orchestrating miracles large and small. I never, ever thought I would see Madhu again. What are the odds that she comes back to Wisconsin to visit after all these years? How did she have the bravery to ring our doorbell not knowing that we would still live here? How is it that not only I was here to see Madhu, but also my mom, dad, and brother? Think about it. Sure I am on break, but normally I am at work at this time. Also, I almost decided to try to go on a Nicaragua trip rather than my children’s medical trip to Arkansas. Had that been the case, I wouldn’t be at home right now. I would be in a different country.

I truly believe that it was not a coincidence that Madhu stopped by today. I almost cried out of joy because I was so happy to see her, even if it was for only 15 minutes. I’m so thankful for even this short time to see her again, and now I have her contact information so that we can keep in touch from time to time. I know years have passed since we have seen each other, so I don’t expect this one reunion to make us instant best friends, but I am so happy for the chance to be able to communicate with her again.

God is so good. He never ceases to amaze me that is for sure.

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Lots of love,
Hannah

My Teenage Years Are Over…

I woke up this morning and realized that it was my birthday. It was like I somehow had forgotten that this day was coming even though I had been thinking about this birthday for a while now. The fact that I am 20 hasn’t really sunk in yet, but it’s crazy to think that I have been alive for two decades.

Twenty years is long time to be alive, but it feels like these past few years have especially flown by. Even though time it going by quickly, it’s so amazing to see how God has been working in my life. Firstly, he allowed me to find some of the best, most compassionate friends I could ever ask for in high school. They constantly ground me in my faith and they challenge me to live a Christian life with more authenticity. Secondly, God has blessed me with such a supportive family. My senior year and even now at times, I still feel at odds with my parents, but the more I am away at college, the more I realize how much they unconditionally love me. Family is something that I cannot take for granted, especially after spending so much time with foster children. The older I get, the more I realize how precious having a family really its.

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My brother and I this year as we searched for the ideal Christmas tree.

I’m especially grateful for the past year and a half that I have had at college. God has allowed me to learn more about myself and what I am passionate about. I have had the opportunity to partake in a lot of mentorship roles both with college freshmen and with children at a local elementary school. I’ve also been mentored in a way by my professors who are always there to support and encourage me. I honestly couldn’t ask for a better college community.

So now I am here, at age 20. I really have no idea what my future holds, but I’m eager to see what opportunities God has in store for me. I’m excited to see how my story unfolds as I learn how to trust in God more fully. I’m at a place where I really want him to do whatever he pleases with my life instead of me trying to plan every moment of my future. I just know that ultimately I will find the most joy by following God’s will for my life.

As far as birthday plans, I really have none. My parents and I are going to go out to dinner (the restaurant is TBD) and then later we will have Dairy Queen ice cream cake because that is a family tradition. Otherwise, I am just going to rest, read, and relax with my cat (who never leaves my room since I keep it so toasty warm)!

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Sleeping Beauty

I hope you all have a lovely day! Stay warm 🙂

Lots of love,

Hannah

I’m Alive!

Wow, this is the first night in almost two months where I have had nothing to do. This feeling of nothingness is so blissful– I never want it to end. Today I finally made it to the end of the semester. I had my physics and organic chemistry finals yesterday and then my genetics and theology exams today. I know, it was a horrible line-up. The timing was not ideal, but I managed to power through to the end. I’m so happy that this semester is over. Even though I have thoroughly enjoyed living with my friends and being able to spend time with them, this semester was tough. I felt as though I always needed to be on my A game because if I ever wasn’t, then I would hopelessly fall behind on my work.

But here I am. I came out on top. I don’t know how I did on my finals, but I can honestly say that I did the best that I could have given the circumstances. Also, with all of the people stressing out around me, it was so hard not to get caught up in it all. It’s so easy to get stuck in the cycle of feeling the need to succeed all the time. I used to feel that way (and I still struggle with that at times); it would cause me so much anxiety that I couldn’t sleep and my stomach was constantly a wreck.

If there is one thing that I learned from this semester, it’s that school doesn’t define me. I will fully admit that I am a nerd. I love learning. It’s a part of me that I love, but it can also make me lose sight of the big picture. I am here at school, not for my own good, but hopefully to gain skills to do God’s will. School is not about what information I can regurgitate on an exam or how much better I do in a class compared to someone else. School, along with the other aspects of my life, is never supposed to be centered around me. I’m supposed to be giving all the glory to God.

With that perspective in mind, I was able to get through the stress of finals. God gave me strength, peace, and wisdom to know that being at college is a privilege that most people in the WORLD never get to experience. He has given me the opportunity to learn in an environment that challenges me to think critically and to explore new perspectives. No matter how well I excel at school, I trust that God is going to use me for some greater good. I don’t have to be better than anyone else because I am already good enough in God’s eyes.

That being said, I am really excited for a much needed break! I can’t wait to relax at home with my cat (and with my family and friends). Campus is beautiful here, but it’s bitterly cold. In 24 hours, I’ll be in my room with the space heater cranked up, snuggled in a warm blanket. Nothing is better than going home. I cannot wait! Plus it’s my birthday on Friday, so that will be a fun time too!

If you are in the midst of finals, I pray that they go smoothly. Just remember that this is one small phase of your life. Don’t let these measly tests cause you so much anxiety.

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My own winter wonderland here on campus! Like I said, it’s lovely to look at (not so lovely to have to walk in).

Lots of love,

Hannah

Apple Picking Adventure

My family has a tradition of going apple picking with our family friends every fall. This tradition has been around for over 20 years–before my parents were even married! Every year, each of our families changes slightly. It’s so cool to look back at pictures from over the years to see how much we kids have grown. Last year, I didn’t have the chance to partake in this yearly ordeal since I was at college. This year, however, I decided to make the trip because creating memories and spending time with family helps me balance school’s chaos.

Early Saturday morning, I got my Salted Caramel Mocha from Starbucks and drove home. Then we as a family drove to our family friend’s house. There we ate lunch and watched a slideshow of us apple picking throughout the years. It was so precious! After that, we headed to the orchard. Our family filled up two baskets worth of Fuji and Golden delicious apples and ate our fair share of “free samples”– you have to try the apples to know what they taste like right? Apple picking is hard work. I was on top of my brother’s shoulders trying to pick the best apples (which were always at the very top of the trees). At end, I was extremely satisfied with our selections, and now I can eat multiple apples a day for a long time 🙂

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My brother and I like each other after all.

After picking our apples, we took some mandatory family pictures and then headed to the barn to buy delicious goodies. My all-time favorites include caramel apples, warm apple-cinnamon donuts (yes they are a gift from God), corn salsa, and pumpkin butter.

Then way too quickly, we had to pack up and leave because I wanted to get back to school–to get frozen yogurt, not to study 😉 I got back in the car and jammed out to music until I made it to campus.

Going apple picking was the kind of relief that I needed. School is really crazy, and I feel like I never get a break– or I never want to take a break. While school is important, I don’t want it to rule my life. At the end of the day, I want to look back at my college experience and remember all the the great times that I spent on adventures with family and friends. Academics is one aspect of college, but definitely not the only aspect. I was so happy to take a break from school and spend time with family friends that I haven’t seen in two years. I even got a chance to see my brother, who started his freshman year of college. It was a very full day–full of travel, full of memories, and full of food! I can’t wait to partake in this tradition again next year!

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This is one of the mandatory photos–all the kiddos need to stand by the scarecrow and measure their heights.

 

Lots of love,

Hannah

Home Sweet Home

I’m home! Well, I’m back on campus, so it’s like my second home. Words cannot describe how happy I am to be back. I just love every aspect of college– the independence, the classes, my job, my friends, and so much more. This year, I am living in a suite with seven other girls. There’s a living area, a bathroom, four bedrooms, and get this, there is air conditioning! That truly is a blessing.

My friend Kelly and I arrived on campus early for our job training. We are both coordinators for ALIVE. The goal of ALIVE is to build community and to help students explore more about their passions, callings, and spirituality. Every week, we will work in teams to put on programs in the residence halls. Our programs might be socials, activity-based, or deep discussions, and the topics vary depending on what sparks interest in our participants. I worked with ALIVE last year as an apprentice in the honors dorm, and I am ecstatic to continue ministering in the honors dorm this year.

Training week was long and intensive. Even though we had to sit through many long talks, we still had tons of time for team bonding. We went mini golfing, visited the farmer’s market, had a lip-sync battle (which I rocked by the way), etc. The people that I work with are some of the coolest individuals I know. Not only are they a kind, outgoing, and diverse group of individuals, but they are also incredibly grounded in their faith. They are such a wonderful support group for me, and I can’t wait to spend a whole year working with them.

By friday, all of my friends were moved in! I’ve missed them all immensely. We spent our night playing “Girl Talk,” a board game created probably in the 90’s for preteen girls. It’s basically a lame version of truth or dare. If you complete the tasks, you can earn points that eventually help you gain cards that reveal your future– information about your marriage, children, and career. Failure to complete the truths/dares results in you putting a “zit sticker” on your face. Needless to say, this game is hilarious and will produce much laughter and memories among us.

I start my classes on Monday, and I couldn’t be happier. What can I say, I am a nerd, and I love being one. My schedule is full, but that’s how I like it. I just have a feeling that this year will be great. I’m hoping to grow more as an individual, to deepen the relationships that I have established with my friends, and to more wholeheartedly follow God’s will for me. This year, I really want to give my life to God. I need to hand over any anxieties I have about school and work, and just trust that God is in control.

Heavenly Father, bless this upcoming school year. Give me the tools I need to succeed the best I can. Help me to be brave–to step out in faith and to be more confident in myself and in my abilities. Whenever I am stressed, help me remember to lean on you. You are my strength, Lord. Please continue to reveal your plan for me this year, Lord. My future is still fuzzy, but I trust that you will reveal this plan to me one day at a time. That being said, allow me to listen to what you are calling me to do. It’s your will, Lord, not mine. Each day, transform my heart and mind. Help me to be more compassionate, patient, and selfless. Walk with me, Lord, each day, and help me become the best version of myself. I need you, and I love you. Thank you for this opportunity to attend college for another year. It is such a blessing, and I will take advantage of every opportunity that you present me with.  Amen.

I’m so happy to be back at college. I’m looking forward to all of the memories that will be made 🙂

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This is me and some of my amazing coworkers/friends from ALIVE 🙂

 

Lots of love,
Hannah

Swim, Bike, Run–Triathlon Fun

As some of you may know, I’m really into health and fitness. I just love feeling strong and confident in the body that God has given me. One of the ways that I have started challenging myself is by signing up for races. I’ve done 5k’s in the past, but my first real race was the Trial Assail half marathon in Nashotah during September of my senior year. I had such a blast training for the half, and it felt amazing crossing the finish line, especially since I am not the best runner. This year, I decided to sign up for the Lake Country Triathlon for a few reasons. One, I’ve been wanting to do a triathlon for a few years, but didn’t have the guts to actually sign up. Two, I wanted to push myself physically. Triathlons require so much endurance, and I thought the race would be an amazing challenge! I’m proud to say that found a training program, stuck with it, and finished this race with no flat tires or broken bones 🙂

 The Arrival

My alarm rang this morning bright and early at 4:40am. I actually got about 7 ½ hours of sleep since I went to bed before 9pm. Considering I got about 6 ½ hours of sleep when I worked over the summer, I felt great when I woke up! My mom, dad, and I left for the race at about 5:30 am. Once I got to the beach, I got my race chip and my body markings. Then I set up my bike in the transition area. After that, I just hung out with my parents until the race began.

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Swim 0.25 miles

The race began at 7am, the first segment being the swim. I was the last wave, so I didn’t go until 7:40 am. Right around 7, it unfortunately began to rain–first a sprinkle, then a pretty solid downpour. So there I stood on the beach with only a suit on in the rain. By the end, my fingers were blue. On the bright side, the water felt nice and warm in comparison 😉

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My wave (wave 13)–females 35 and under

I never thought that the swim would be a challenge, but man was I wrong. First of all, I had a hard time getting my momentum going. In the swimming pool, I could push off of the side to start propelling myself foreward. Here, I just had to start swimming. Plus, the rain made the water really choppy, so it was hard to get going anywhere. I really struggled to keep my breathing under control, and I was swallowing a lot of water. I was terrified that I was going to drown. I decided to flip onto my back and just float for a few seconds. Then I did a mix of backstroke and breaststroke for probably half of the swim. After that, I was calm enough to finish the swim by doing freestyle. Normally I love water, but today I have never been so happy to be on dry land.

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Mass chaos in the water. See anyone floundering? Yeah, one of those people was me. 

Bike 15.75 miles

Everything after the swim was easy peasy. The bike ride was a very scenic route through Oconomowoc. There were a few hills, but where I live there are tons of hills, so I was prepared. I finished way earlier than expected, even with my slow mountain bike that has thick, heavy tires–not really the most aerodynamic bike ever. My parents didn’t even have time to snap a photo of me as I finished because they thought I was going to be a lot slower.

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Me as I started my bike journey.

Run 3.1 miles

After I finished biking, I dropped off my bike in the transition zone and headed back on the course. I almost started running with my helmet still on, but a nice volunteer kindly stopped me so I didn’t make a fool of myself. The running course was super flat. I didn’t have any music, but hearing the cheers from the volunteers and the spectators were enough motivation for me.

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So not my best running picture ever, but I don’t care because at this point, I was about 100 feet from the finish line!

The Finish

I finished around 9:30 am; my official time was 1:50:12. I had no goal other than to finish, and I am so proud that I did that! I have been training for this triathlon for two months; I’m so glad that all of my hard work and determination paid off!!

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Done! Now where’s my victory ice cream ? (I did have victory ice cream just to clarify 🙂 )

 

I think I am hooked on races now. I just love how you have to push yourself both during the training and during the race. Plus, I love how races are an individual sport. The only person I am up against is myself. I am constantly amazed at all that my body can do, and for that, I am so grateful. Today wasn’t perfect, but I will will always remember this event in my life.

Lots of love,

Hannah

 

Life Update: Future of this Blog and the Upcoming School Year

Hello everyone! Today, I am coming at you all with a casual life update–important events coming up, move-in day, plans for the school year, etc. First of all, my triathlon is on SATURDAY. What? I don’t know how time got away from me so quickly. I know that I can physically complete the triathlon, but I’m worried about the things that I can’t control. What if I get punched in the face while swimming? What if I can’t find my bike in the transition area? How many people are there going to be? What if my bike brakes? I’m just praying that everything runs smoothly, and that I stay safe throughout the entire race. The following day, I will be at Royal Family Kids Camp! I barely have had time to think about camp, but I am so excited to go and to meet my camper 🙂 You can read a letter that I wrote to my camper here.

In 12 days, I move into college for my sophomore year!!!!!! I am beyond excited. I move in a week early due to training for my on-campus job, which basically organizes weekly programs centered around faith and vocation. I can’t wait to see my team again and to meet the new freshmen joining our team. I also am so excited to see all of my friends again. My little trip to Appleton (read my post about it here) was just a little reminder of how much I have missed these awesome ladies. My friends and I will be living in a service learning dorm together. My suite in particular will be working with the YMCA’s youth programs throughout the year.

In addition to doing service, I will be involved in many extracurriculars. I will be a TRIPS leader, which leads a mission trip over winter/spring break to address various social justice issues. I am also planning on being a chemistry tutor and doing research with my previous biology professor. He studies flatworms, specifically their protonephridia, which has similar functions to our kidneys. I am genuinely interested in my classes this semester as well. I will be taking Genetics, Organic Chemistry, Physics, and Theology. I am least looking forward to Physics, but I don’t think it will be that bad to be honest.

So you are probably wondering how I am going to keep blogging with all of the stuff that I will be involved with this semester. I am wondering the exact same thing. As of right now, I can usually post at least two times a week. During the school year, however, I think I will try to post every 1-2 weeks, since I probably will only have time to write on the weekends.

That’s a quick life update for you all. I have tons of packing to do for Royal Family and for college. My room is a mess, but eventually it will get sorted out. This is such an exciting time, though. I have high hopes for this year. I think it will be filled to the brim with new experiences and memories. I cannot wait!

Lots of love,

Hannah

Reuniting with Friends

It’s almost the end of summer, and I realized that I hadn’t seen any of my college friends. None of them. Granted, most of them live about 2 or more hours away from me, but still, not seeing them was driving me crazy. It was like summer made me take a 180– instead of seeing my friends 24/7, I didn’t get to see them at all. However, one of my friends offered to have a sleepover/reunion at her house, so I immediately jumped on board.

Thursday afternoon, I drove on up to Appleton to pick up two of my friends, and then we continued up towards Green Bay to our friend’s house. When we finally got there, I was overwhelmed with joy. I would have never have imagined that I would have missed my friends so much; we have only known each other for one year after all. Even after one year, though, we have such a strong friendship because we lived on the same floor, we were in the same Honor’s classes, and we value the same things. We spent the night touring my friend’s amazing farm filled with gardens and animals, eating delicious food, and talking endlessly about our summers and about how excited we are for next year!

On Friday, we ventured back down to Appleton. Before we got there, though, we stopped at Frogg’s ice cream shop for some incredible soft serve ice cream. I got a twist cone dipped in chocolate, and it was heavenly. I looked like a mess with all the melting ice cream dripping on me, but I didn’t care. I was in my happy place. Afterwards, my friends helped me experience thrifting. I only walked away with one item, but I’m hooked on the idea. Since I’m pretty frugal, this seems like the perfect way to keep getting new clothes for my wardrobe without spending all of my paychecks. Later we walked through Lawrence University’s campus and ended up at Copper Rock, which sells amazing (expensive) coffee. Mile of Music was also simultaneously occurring, so we got to listen to some new bands too. For dinner, we ate at Basil Cafe, which is a cute Thai restaurant. I learned how to properly use chopsticks while eating my mixture of vegetables and tofu in a peanut sauce. I love ethnic food–any type. The spices that were in my meal were so refreshing compared to what I typically eat at home. It was a great choice for dinner 🙂

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That ended my short road trip to the Fox Valley Area. I’m so grateful for meeting these amazing ladies this year at school, and I cannot wait to live with them next year! Each of them are so kind, intelligent, thoughtful, and quirky. There really is nothing better than spending quality time with these wonderful friends. This was just a taste of the joy and laughter that I will experience again once I am on campus. Only 15 more days until move in, but who’s counting 😉

Lots of love,
Hannah