My chatty nature and my upbringing in a tight-knit church ensure that I am always the last one to leave social events. Rewind to last week at a Concordia College networking event and you’ll see a familiar scenario: the last coat hanging among empty hooks was mine, I was left chatting with one student while the event coordinator started turning out the lights.
I heard her make a comment about the Habitat for Humanity chapter being short by one trip leader for an upcoming trip.
“Oh, I could help you with that,” I blurted out, shocked by hearing my own voice.
“Really?” she asked. “Really?!”
“Sure, when is it?”
Turns out the trip would leave on Saturday – that was just a week away. Once word spread that she had found a leader, there was no turning back. After jumping through a few hoops and filling out a few forms, I got confirmation shortly before the trip that I would be boarding a bus and traveling 27 hours to Houston, TX. I would help build a house over Concordia’s Spring Break, leading 20 students I had never met.
I took a similar trip to Arizona while enrolled as a student. Back then spending a full day on a bus, sleeping on a solid church floor in a sleeping bag, and building a house was all part of a great adventure, one that my body could handle.
Now, the idea of those things makes me nervous. I’ve already made an appointment with my chiropractor for when we return.
I think about my packing list this time around, compared to eight years ago.
Last time I packed college t-shirts with logos of groups I participated in, and my glasses, so my contacts wouldn’t stick to my eyes at night. Nothing else really stands out, but I do remember being cold.
This time around, I’ve packed work t-shirts that I stole from my husband; one t-shirt that has paint splattered all over it from painting at our house; a polo from Extreme Makeover; a sleeping bag pad so I can sleep comfortably on the floor without too much pain; my laptop, so I can still submit client projects; and my ‘night and day’ contacts so I can keep them in my eyes 24-7.
I recognize that I am at an extremely different stage in my life now compared to the college me. I don’t have any college t-shirts left because I turned them into a quilt and I don’t have a problem boarding a bus with complete strangers and spending a week with them in Texas.
In fact, I will probably be the last one to leave Houston. I will let you know how it goes.