Friday, March 9, 2012

A Very Normal Place

It's day one...well, technically day negative one of our big adventure. We tripped down to Normal, Illinois, home of Illinois State University, today at 4:00. The ride was four and a half hours of bands of Iowa highway. And if any of you know what that entails, that's a boring ride. But I don't want to get to that yet.

Let's back up a little.

First, I need to give a big shout out to my good friends Jennifer and Karly for helping me pack my massive amount of items into three small bags. ...that are bursting at the seams :) My packing list consisted of many "just in case" items because technically they can't tell me any specifics. Nine days worth of clothing. Warm clothes just in case, not-so-warm clothes just in case. Active clothes, a couple pairs of shoes, shower stuff, and toiletries.

Doesn't sound like much, right?
But I'll survive by schlepping around my dorm room in a bag.(Thanks Professor Meier for the cool word.)

Anyway, the buildup and preparation for this trip has been accumulating for about a month now, and its crazy that its already here. We left UNI at 4:10 today - eight of us and all our things. Two cars, one pit stop (because some of us REALLY had to pee), and a couple tacos later, and we arrived in Normal. The jokes ensued. "There's the normal gas station!" "Normal Shoe Carnival up ahead!" Haha :)

We're staying the night at the Campus House, which seems to be a basic Christian ministry house. We met a couple people from the trip, but they were holding some activities in the house, so we had to find something to do for about two hours or so. We piled in cars again, and while the other was lost or not lost or I don't really know what they were doing, our car bought a few things at Walmart. We were in contact with someone here who lived in the dorms and graciously let us shower since the house didn't have one.

Navigating around this campus is quite the feat, and we ended up putting almost every address in the gps. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose. By the fourth or fifth time we circled campus, our driver pretty much had it down (kudos!). The dorms are gigantic. Think about the UNI towers times a billion in size and quality. Yeah. So I took a pretty nice shower, which is great, because I'm not sure how long it will be until I have that again. The luxuries we take for granted...

Now we're back at the house, chit chatting a little before we get some rest. So far, I'm having a fantastic time. Everyone here is so hospitable and kind, even though they kicked us in basketball last week. That probably doesn't matter to a lot of people :)

To summarize today, let us look at it this way...

This afternoon, during lunch, I bit my tongue so hard while eating a hot dog that I had a noticeable bump on it all day long. And it still hurts - seriously, I can't make this stuff up.

But if that's the worst thing that happens to me in the next nine days, I'm in for the best time of my life.

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