Whitewater Tubing on the Potomac River in Harper's Ferry, WV

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Let's talk about whitewater tubing. No, I don't mean whitewater rafting, which includes the safety of raft with a bottom, paddles, a guide, and other rafters. And, no, I don't mean whitewater kayaking where you have all of the above except the guide. I am talking about whitewater tubing:

1 person + an innertube like what is found in a swimming pool + two arms to serve as paddles

The day started innocently enough. Jeremy and I take a leisurely drive to Harper's Ferry, WV, to begin our adventure. There is a sign hanging at check-in that states: Whitewater River Tubing is our the most dangerous sport we offer. Even though I have the swimming abilities of a third grader, I shrug off this warning. Jeremy says, "Don't worry, babe, it'll fine." We watch a five minute video that tells you how dangerous the tubing is, board an old school bus, pick up an innertube on the beach, and set out.

The first leg of our journey involves paddling with our hands across the Potomac, to the far side of the river. How wonderful. I am flopped in my tube, using every bit of arm strength I have to propel myself across the damn river, approximately a quarter of a mile wide.

We finally make it to the far side, and we hit our first rapid. I am in the middle of the pack and hold on for dear life as I descend. To my pleasant surprise, I remained on my tube. "This isn't so bad," I think, as I look back to see the woman behind me fall off her tube, lose her shoes, come above water, and find her tube deflated. I briefly think about going to help her, but alas, I swim like an 8 year old, and the current pushes me forward. Jeremy and I hit more rapids, laugh, and then lazily float once we hit Harper's Ferry. He turns to me and says, "The worst of it is over--it must be smooth river from here on out."

Five minutes later, we are seperated by a roaring river and Class III rapids. I am somehow in the lead of the pack now. Jeremy is thrust off his tube twice -- once I am close enough to see and another time I am too far away to notice. As we are nearing a 4-5 foot drop, I make the final descent. Right behind me, another girl falls off her tube and her tube floats in my general direction. Shit. Since she is swimming to a rock and already behind me, I make my way to get her tube. My plan was to bring it back to her, but this is a rapid river!

In the final minutes on the Mighty Potomac, I can see the beach where we are supposed to get out. "Must get to beach," I say, and I arm-paddle as hard as I can to it. Instead of the beach, I end up on a giant rock down shore, before wading through the current to get out.

What started out as a group of 9 solo tubers ended with Jeremy and me. Two people had popped innertubes and had to get our early, four people got out and walked the shore when they saw the final rapids, and one girl was taken by ambulance for severe abdominal pain. That abdominal pain girl? Yeah, it was the poor soul I left on the rock!

When we meet up with the van driver, we told him our tales, and he says, "Yeah...the office was really trying to talk people out of tubing today..."

Everything's Changing

Saturday, March 28, 2015

So much has happened in the last three months, and even more is to come. I am nearing the completion of my fourth semester of NP school. My focus lately has been on taking care of women and children, and it's been a welcome change.

At the end of April, I am transitioning out of work at CH. You guys: this inevitable change makes me tear up even as write this. Since I have moved to DC, Christ House has been such a pivotal part of my life. When I first moved here, I was 24 years-old, bright-eyed, and naive. Five years later, I am way less idealistic, but strangely even more hopeful. I have seen brokenness and bitterness in my patients, yet I have also witnessed these same spirits transform. I am leaving knowing that I have much left to learn about the human spirit, but I am really thankful for the foundation CH has laid in my heart.

With my transition from CH comes a move out of Emmanuel House. My entire DC life has been based around one block in AdMo. The physical space of EH has been warm and safe. I have cried a lot of tears here, but I have also laughed and dreamed and rested. My favorite moment each day is popping out of my basement apartment and walking up to the front stoop. I always take a minute to soak in my surroundings before starting my day. If CH has given me hope, EH has given me comfort.

Jeremy and I start our lease in our beautiful apartment in Southwest DC next week. It feels right, exciting, and joyful. The space is full of light, and Jeremy and I anticipate the many memories to be shared in our "marital home." :)

Leaving Room for Miracles

Friday, January 2, 2015

During the first week of January 2014, I started grad school. The decision to go to nurse practitioner school was one that came from four years of trying to decipher if the program was "worth the money" and if advanced practice nursing was really where my heart was. Neither of these questions were fully answered before I found myself knee deep in class and clinical, with three of five semesters done by December.

Meanwhile, my wonderful boyfriend and I paddled out to the middle of the Tidal Basin one August day for an innocent outing on America's pond. The next thing I know, he's holding a diamond ring, I'm crying, and we are living one of the happiest days of our lives.

These two life events, school and wedding planning, have been exciting but busy. Throwing them on to an (almost) full-time work schedule was my crazy idea. Over Thanksgiving break, I broke out with a fever that lasted seven days. SEVEN days. Now, I am no stranger to febrile illnesses, but this one was particularly draining, as I was working to finish final papers in between headaches, coughing fits, and doses of Tylenol.

Somewhere around Day 5 of this fever, the combination of being sick and studying was too much. I cried big, wet, emo tears all over the place. Despite the amazing things I had going on, I felt incredibly empty. I felt weighted by the anxiety of trying to fit all of these pieces into my life. I realized that, for the last five months, I had put on a smile and jokingly told those around me about my "first world problems." On the inside, I felt consumed with guilt for being stressed out about all of the things I was doing.

In that moment, I realized that I could not do it all. In fact, I could not do anything at that point because I was contagious. After taking a break, I realized that in my effort to do it all, I forgot to leave room for the little miracles and joys that each day brings. Like sunrises. (Okay, well, we all know I never really get up in time for that miracle.) But other joys, like living in my favorite city, spending quality time with my loved ones, traveling to cool places (Guatemala!), and just being.

My 2014 was exciting, busy, adventurous, and life-changing. I am thankful everyday for God, my family, Jeremy, and my friends.  I am generally a sucker for New Year's resolutions, but this year I decided not to make any. Instead, I am choosing to enjoy each day's gifts, rather than burying them in anxiety and guilt.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hellers Bakery in my mouth. Saturday morning being local and hipster at the farmer's market
with Alyssa.

Late Summer Fun

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

No one knows why all my recent photos wanted to be black and white. We're just going with it. This post gets us caught up to present day, where I find myself browsing on wedding blogs instead of doing homework. I have had the last couple of days off to get my head back in the game, catch up on lectures, and just be.

Jeremy and I take a long weekend trip to Williamsburg for some coaster riding
and historical reenacting.

Brother came to visit, and we went to Abe Lincoln's cottage!

Alyssa is back in town, people. Nats game.

Jenny comes to DC. We are juice fasting in this photo. We wanted to go five days, but
only lasted 24 hours!

Stormy walk-jogs to the 8th Wonder of the World.

My first time standing up on the paddle board. Scared for life.

A weekend with Mom and Sister in an undisclosed location. So fun, relaxing, and renewing.