All I Really Need…

…is a song in my heart, food in my belly and love in my family.

I learned this lesson last year. It’s simple, but all the truth is there. All you need is: water, shelter and food (assuming all of that fits your body’s basic needs); love, even if it isn’t someone you’re related to by blood; and a “song” in your heart. You need something to step to, something to beat to, something to motivate you. And the freedom to move to that song. All the extra stuff: money, mansions, cars, games, toys, whatever. It’s all extra. All you really need is a song, love and basic bodily needs met. That’s it. Those three things and you can change the world. Those three things and you have the freedom to be yourself. Those three things and you have what it takes to whether anything.

The challenge is to help everyone else to have and hold them.

Haha, sorry that got really sentimental. But it’s one of those days.


Unexpected Adventures

Well, today was interesting. All the staff at my job and I went for a canoeing trip today on the White River. Just as some background, the White River runs through Indianapolis, so…not the cleanest river there. BUT, it’s better than others and on the whole not too bad.

ANYWAY, it all started with a bunch of, please excuse the term, rednecks. I guess they were coming down the river as some kind of weekend vacation, so they had tons of stuff. Like, there were at least three canoes devoted to carrying just things. And a lot of beer. Some of them may have already been pretty “happy”. We started at about 2. They were nice.

So we went on our leisurely way.

About an hour and a half in we came to some back-country type houses that line the river. A man came out and yelled at us that there was some debris down the river and to look out for it. Apparently a few canoes had already been lost. Ominous, but of all the things I learned in Boy Scouts, that’s probably the only thing I really LEARNED.

Well, almost two hours later and about 150 yards from the drop-off point, we hit the debris. Two of us were flat out ejected from the canoe. My partner and I were faced with a thick limb that slit, creating a triangle. We went through it. There was a brief moment when I thought I would have something broken because the gap was so narrow, but there was just enough space for us to lay flat and get under it.

At the end of it, we made it out only having lost a single canoe paddle and having some scratches.

Oh, and I walked the length of the longest historic covered bridge in America. Boom.

The Simple Cool Stuff

I’m going to start off this post by explaining that my nalgene bottle strap broke yesterday. SO, today when we went hiking, I looked for a dead yellow poplar tree branch. I found one, stripped the bark and made a rope. I then attached the two ends of the nalgene cap together with it and put a caribeener on it to strap it to myself. It looks like this:

Really simple thing. Everyone LOVED it. Like, they were really impressed. I mean, I was pretty happy too, but it’s such a simple thing. All I did was twist some fiber together really.

I also learned another thing today. I’ve been trying to understand myself, like who I am and not who I think I am…if that makes any sense. But I got a good start on that today. We did a behavior test. It’s basically a personality test that focuses on your behavior and how you react and act around other people. Anyway, I learned a lot. Which is good, because I’ve begun to get lost in a tangle of selfness.

ANYHOW, it goes along with one of the passages we’re studying for this year’s bible curriculum. “Seek and you shall find.” In my Bible, my favorite line is “everyone who seeks, finds.” In my experience this has been true. Okay, maybe not finding your car keys or getting an “A” on an exam, but bigger general things. If you want a wife/husband, you’ll end up there. If you want to travel, you will. If you want to make a change, it’ll happen. They key is to keep knocking and keep trying. I’ll leave you all with this picture for today. Just a calm one.

How Do I Play the Game?

So I’m at training for the camp I’m working at this summer. It’s fantastic. Two days in and I already feel at home and on my way to a new and better direction. Anyway, we played this game called Cat and Mouse as part of the initiatives part of training (initiatives are kind of like team-building exercises).

Cat and Mouse is played like this: Everyone has a dot in a circle that they stand on. There is one person in the middle. The “mice” standing on the circles cannot talk. The “cat,” who is the person standing in the middle, can. The only way the cat can become a mouse is to steal another mouse’s dot when they vacate it. That’s pretty much it.

When you play, you look for other people to switch with you. You make eye contact, nod your head, or sometimes you just run at them. Some people will run every time you come to them, even if their chance of getting another dot is hopeless. Some won’t run even when you’ve established that it’s going to happen. Sometimes someone thinks they’ve established that they’re both running and one person hasn’t gotten the memo.

But there are a few things that stand out to me in this game. In a strange way it simulates life. First of all, there is no rule that says you HAVE to move. In fact, the mice could stay safe on their own pads for forever. But that’s no fun for ANYONE.

Second, sometimes you take risks and you fail. And sometimes when you fail, you have just as much fun trying to get out of your failure as you did getting into it. Being the cat for a while was actually a little fun.

Third. The game is fun. Even with no debrief, no deeper thought, it’s a really fun and simple game. But taking it to that next level. Doing something that lasts more than just a few minutes, a few hours, a moment. That’s what the real goal is.

And it makes me think: How much of these three things do I do?

Skyzone and Productivity(?)

So my crazy (but awesome) brother made us all an itinerary of things to do yesterday. Us including my cousins who are visiting as kind of a last hurrah before I go abroad and one of them gets shipped off for military stuff. Anyway, he made an itinerary which, being a college student used to just winging it, was one of the most ridiculous things I’d ever heard. However, somehow we miraculously managed to do everything on it somewhat on time despite the fact that we started an hour late. There were two notable things from this day. One, I saw the Avengers for the first time (yes, and I also haven’t seen the Hunger Games yet. Also yes, I do live in a hole.) The second is Skyzone. At first though, we weren’t so sure about it ’cause there were so many small children there (birthday party?) but we ended up doing it (excellent decision).

Skyzone is a fairly simple idea that goes something like “let’s fill a warehouse full of trampolines and let kids play in it.” So yeah, like the whole floor is trampolines all ingeniously connected together so that your foot doesn’t magically disappear under the springs (has this happened to me before? Yes, yes it has). They also have a dodgeball court thing and a foam pit area that you can jump into. We flipped into that one (literally). The dodgeball court was a blast and eventually we got overtaken by small children and left for…less treacherous waters (not for us, but we might possibly have decked a few kids. I’m not confirming or denying, but it was a definite concern). On the whole, it was a ton of fun and I’m glad we went.

As for the “productivity” bit of this post, I wanted to show you how “productive” I’ve been this past week and a half or so. Here’s a picture.

To answer your questions, yes. I did make this. Yes, it is burned out in the center. And yes, that took like two hours and a lot of tears (literally, that smoke was killer) to make. It was fun though. All thanks to my Wilderness Survival class this year. Which was AWESOME. Here’s what we made in that class.

The Start of It All: The Visa

Welcome to my adventures abroad! I’m still in the States right now, but I really just couldn’t resist starting with this. You see, I recently received my Visa application packet from IU and it’s…let’s say a little bit imposing. First of all, I had to create an account on some website and then fill in a bunch of information that doesn’t seem like it’s all that important. A lot of it was “when did you graduate?” or just basic info. Except it was ALL IN FRENCH. Granted, I speak french pretty well, but let’s just say that when directions that don’t makes sense are in English, it’s a little easier to puzzle out.

Anyway, I don’t really care about all that. However, I have to give them money. In the form of a “money order.” This is already an adventure for me ’cause I didn’t even know this thing existed. Haha not to complain, it’s all an adventure to me!

The biggest hurdle is really the trip to Chicago I’m going to have to take to get a visa at the French Consulate. Which isn’t where I live. Actually, that’s about three hours away on a good day. Except I’m going to be even farther south. Working at camp. So…that makes it all a little more complicated.

HOWEVER, I’m still pretty excited about it. If I need to learn how to take care of myself abroad, it’s probably better that this begin to happen at home. In English. My first language. Just wait ’till I get to France…and have to find an apartment and roommates in French.

Anyway, on a positive note, here’s a picture of “La Petite Venise” (Little Venice) in Colmar, France. It’s in Alscace (if you remember from world history that’s one of the two regions that flip-flopped back and forth between France and Germany). If you ever go to Colmar, take half an hour to just walk around. It’s gorgeous.