Archive | May, 2012

Reminiscing about SUMMA CAMP!

26 May

I was laying in bed trying to get some sleep, but my mind kept wondering back to Black Mountain, NC.  For the past two summers, I have given up air conditioning, television (for the most part), and a stable internet connection in trade for the best two summers I could have ever imagined.  Two summers where I was working from 8 am to after 9 pm almost every day, where I had to tread water in a freezing pool 3 times a day, where I learned what it was that I loved to do.

This year, summer school is replacing summer camp.  I didn’t know how much I would miss it.  My heart is aching to get on the road, drive to Camp Lakey Gap, and never leave.  I’m aching to see the smiles on the campers’ faces as they arrive and wait to check in, well, most of them are probably wandering around and trying to adjust to this new environment where they will be for a week, a huge transition that doesn’t come easy for most of our campers. I’m aching to hold my sweet babies in the pool as they learn to trust me, to see the changes in our campers as they get to spend one week without the stigma of autism labeling as “outsiders”, but are accepted and loved and cherished for every little thing that makes them unique. Don’t speak? That’s okay, the “normal” world is too loud anyway.  Need a schedule? Good. So do we.  Like the pool? We’ll be there so much we’ll have permanent wrinkles on our hands so when we sing “the prune song” we have fingers to match.  Like silly songs? We love them. 

I’m coming to accept that the summer camp counselor phase of my life is over.  Time to be a big girl.  Finish grad school. Get a full time job.  Blah blah blah.  But I know something for sure, Camp Lakey Gap changed my life.  It’s where I knew what it meant to be passionate about something.  Autism.  It’s where I realized I was stronger than I thought.  It’s where those campers changed my life, my perspective, and took over my heart.  Words will never do justice to describe just how much I am forever changed and just how much I owe to Camp Lakey Gap, for children with autism.  All I can say is Fluffy Happy Love Camp.

Video

Beautiful

13 May

This is a beautiful story, I was in tears from the time I pressed play.

Reminiscing

7 May

One year ago today, I spent my last Friday night in Joyner 413.  I conquered my last final in Carroll 111.  I cooked pasta for the last time in the joyner 3rd floor kitchen.  I splashed water all over myself and my innocent kitchen observer… Okay, maybe he wasn’t too innocent since he got me back.  I watched a movie on the “magic futon” for the last time, the futon that was good and lumpy those four years of college.  The futon that has so many memories associated with it, so many laughs, some tears, some food spills, some of everything life in a dorm will throw at you.  That futon that now resides in the basement at my parents unless they finally took it to the dumpster, because really, it’s just uncomfortable and not fit for sitting anymore.  

Most of my room was packed and stored under my bed, waiting for my parents to arrive the next morning and take home before graduation Sunday.  The walls that were covered in basketball posters, pictures from previous years of college memories, camp awards, they were barren.  I was fighting back tears that night as so many things were changing.  I knew that after Sunday, my life would forever change.  No longer would I be a 5 minute MAX walk away from my best friends. Most of those friends, I could just yell out my room and they would be there.  People that so quickly came into my life, who I spent a long time hugging over the course of Friday night through Sunday afternoon, who shaped the person who is typing this tonight, would no longer be as present.  Sure, I still keep up with most of them frequently.  Many still live within 30 minutes of Raleigh.  But I can promise all of them are still, and forever will be, in my heart.

I sit here thinking about how much my life has changed since that final final at Carolina.  Sure, I’m still in school, in fact, summer school starts tomorrow.  But life is certainly not what I expected it to be when I left Chapel Hill a year ago.  I wouldn’t say it’s bad, but it’s definitely different.  There are definitely things I wish were different, but I am happy here. Over this past year, I have matured and grown and my faith has gotten stronger, God has definitely been working in my life the past year. But what really astonishes me is how much Carolina impacted me. 

Moving into Joyner for the first time that hot August day in 2007, I never imagined the impact UNC would have on me. I learned what it meant to have real community. I learned how to accept defeat, when the biology major crushed my dental school dreams (which was such a blessing in reality, I would have been miserable).  I learned that some people will take advantage of how naive I was, and I guess, I still am, but not everyone will.  I learned that not everyone thinks I’m crazy for being so passionate about autism, but that not everyone wants to talk about it as much as I do.  I learned that there are more important things to learn at school than what is graded in a classroom.  I remember the late nights studying for tests with friends, but I couldn’t tell you what we were studying.  Pulling what was closest to an all-nighter as I ever did, studying orgo until 5 am, only to drop the class a few weeks later because I hated life because of that class, only to get so delirious that I ended up making a crown out of the molecular structure kit.  I learned that life is about more than diplomas, good grades, and a strong resume.  I learned that I am smarter than I thought, and not nearly as smart as I thought at the same time.  

I made some wonderful friends and memories at UNC.  It’s not about the prestige of the university. It’s not even about the great basketball team.  It’s about the people I grew and lived with those four years.  Even the people that I met who weren’t fellow students.  Sometimes I wish I could go back in time, relive May 6, 2011, just to take in how blessed I was those four years.  One year later, my love has only grown.  Walking those paths of uneven bricks, past the Old Well and the Davie Poplar, taking it all in on Franklin Street as I pass a busker wanting to sing me a song, passing the pit.  It all brings back memories I will forever cherish.