Rainy Days

Sitting at work today staring out of the rainy windows, I suddenly remembered that somewhere out in the wild blue yonder I have a blog that I could be writing on. Today will probably be the only day that I remember to write on this blog for another two years judging by my past writing history. Nevertheless, at least today I am writing.

I finished the fall semester of my senior year just a few days ago, and already I am bored. It never ceases to amaze me: drilling my brains and running off of zero energy for so long at the end of the semester, begging for break to come, only for three days of break to pass until boredom begins to set in. A vicious circle, truly. Perhaps this break is so boring because it lacks that which all of my other breaks have thus far: family. My senior year in college, and this is my first Christmas away from my parents. As pathetic as it may seem, I wish I could just be back in their house with its familiar smells, food and company. But not this year…

This year I get to enjoy my first Christmas alone with my husband. Money was more than too tight this month to even consider making the 1000 mile trip back to our hometown for the holidays. As much as we will miss being with our siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews this year, we will have each other. For that we are more than thankful.

Being alone, especially without any money, often times will push people apart from one another. For us, it has brought us closer than ever. For the first time, we find joy in the quiet times we are spending together. Laying in our bed listening to the rain splash on the roof and pavement outside of our window has suddenly become a soothing symphony. Hand washing our dishes together has become a time of laughter, dancing to music, and tickling one another while praying we don’t drop our porcelain plates. Boxed macaroni and cheese has become a hot gourmet meal that satisfies the rumbling in our bellies for a mere $.52/box. There is so much beauty in simplicity.

Christmas is just 4 days away. Our tiny little tree is decorated with our lights and our ornaments. Nothing special, but they are ours. Hung on the wall are the cheapest and most generic stockings we could find. No names on them, just different colors so we know which stocking belongs to whom. Nothing fancy, but they are ours. This Christmas will be unlike any other before, but this Christmas will be ours.


Pig Out Champ

A long standing tradition has been upheld at Hope International University: Pig Out. Every fall semester this event is hosted by the RA’s to bring a little competition and enjoyment to the dorms to help relieve some of the stress of finals. The events from last year were exciting enough to watch that I attended again this year. Well that and the fact that this year, I competed.

Normally I wouldn’t be caught in an event like this. I despise puking! I will allow myself to endure hours of stomach pains just to prolong the disgusting feeling of vomiting, even though I know I will feel better after I do. So, competing in an activity that will more than likely make me puke, further more in front of a whole bunch of people, is far from appealing to me. However, my RA Angie called me an hour or so before Pig Out started. She had a lot of trouble getting people to sign up for events. I promote school spirit better than our cheerleaders, and it was crappy that she played the “please help promote school unity through doing this activity” card. Angie asked me to compete in the team event. So, on top of talking myself into competing, I had to try and talk three other girls into doing it with me. Reluctantly, I managed to rope two of my roommates (Hosanna and Tracy) and our good friend Ally into doing the event.

Teams are divided up according to the halls that students live in. Therefore, an RA represents each team. The guys compete against each other, and the girls compete each other. Four events take place for both the guys and the girls: three individual events and one 4 person team event. Round 1 for the guys was called “Nutty Professor,”consisted of consuming an entire jar of Skippy creamy peanut butter as fast as possible (water was not provided until the end). Round 1 for the girls was called “Sugar Rush” and the girls competing had to consume 11 donuts as quickly as possible. The winner of each round gets one point for their halls, and the winner of the final/team event receives two points. Amazingly, the girl (Liz) competing for our halls won the event! Round 2 was fun to watch as the guys competed in “Can do” having to chug a can of whipped cream while simultaneously chugging a can of cheese whiz. Round two for the girls was “Get your fill” and had girls consuming giant cans of raw pumpkin used for pie filling. That was the first time people came close to puking!

Round three opened up a new level of nasty. The girls competed in “Bye, bye Miss American” and consumed entire chocolate silk pies. This event lasted the longest as the girls couldn’t find it in them to finish. Sadly, the girl that was in the lead ended up puking after 3/4 of the pie was finished. She was the defending champ from last year, but just couldn’t handle it this year. Eventually, a freshman girl one, putting her hall in the lead with my hall down by one point. That meant that my halls were still contenders for the trophy. The third round for the guys was by far the foulest. “Last man standing” took “shooters” to a whole new level. Guys had four shots laid out in front of them, having to down all four within ten seconds. The guys went through three rounds, and whoever was left standing went into a face-off and had to combine all four shots into one glass and chug. The first one to finish was announced as winner of the event. Now what exactly did they have to take shots of?…

One shot glass contained black coffee, another pure lemon juice, another soy sauce, and lastly hot sauce. Three guys made it to the final round, and two of them had their heads in the trash can afterward. I cannot even imagine how painful it would be to puke up soy sauce, lemon juice and hot sauce. Poor guys had it spewing out of their noses!

The final round for the guys was unfairly simple. “Veggie tales” made teams of four consume a raw head of lettuce, a raw bushel of radishes, a raw potato and a bundle of cauliflower. Sure, give the girls the fat-calorie-packed events, and let the guys eat vegetables! My roommates were extremely cautious stepping up to do our event. Immediately I wanted to turn around and walk out, but I couldn’t do that to my friends. I knew they were participating because they love me. That in and of itself was motivation to step up to see what our event consisted of.

A jumbo bowl was given to us presenting four boxes of Mac-n-cheese, eight raw hot dogs that had been cut up, and one large can of sauerkraut. I have had mac with hot dogs before, and I know people put sauerkraut on their hot dogs, but never are the three mean to be eaten together! Our timer started and we were competing not only against the clock, but against five other teams for the trophy. Immediately the crowd errupted!

I stuck my hand into the bowl and gathered a little handful which I stuck in my mouth. Never in my life have I imagined eating vomit, but that’s exactly what this tasted like. Everything from the smell to the taste to the texture was unimaginably ronchy. I looked down into the huge bowl trying not to feel overwhelmed when I saw the mass that we were expected to consume. I was gagging on the first bite, how in the world was I going to consume the entire bowl? I tried to stay positive smiling at my roommates as I saw the pained expressions on their faces. I couldn’t believe that I had talked them into doing something like this! What kind of roommate and friend am I? Sure, lets all get together and vomit all over the place in front of the entire school! Wow, great idea Heather!

I remember that Hosanna was the first to dig both of her hands into the bowl to grab a huge handful and shove it in her mouth. All of the rest of us followed suit. I could hear people screaming and cheering, and I tired to focus on that rather than the sour acidic taste in my mouth. I had to not focus on swallowing because whenever I did, I gagged and came that much closer to puking. At the halfway mark, I thought to myself, “no way might we actually win this stupid thing!” That would have just been too bizarre. Our friends encouraged us by saying that we were in the lead. We kept eating and eating. Soon we had reached the bottom of the bowl and I started to feel some thread of hope that we weren’t enduring this wretched humiliation for nothing. We almost got disqualified for Tracy spitting a mouthful into the trash can. But we kept eating and eating.

After scraping the bowl clean, I got a feeling of relief until we were told to “pick up the scraps” that had fallen onto the table. How much more would we have to eat for crying out loud?! So all four of us began scraping loose noodles together that had fallen on the table; the same table that had been spilled on, spit on and PUKED on! We shoveled the last bites into our mouths as our friends cheering reached levels I couldn’t have imagined possible. We threw the bowl as we were announced winners of the events. We had done it!

After we threw out a few high-fives, all four of us rushed to the bathroom to vomit.

The sense of love that I felt for my friends was overwhelming. I remember telling them at one point in the competition that I loved them. I really meant it too. No one else will ever know what it felt like to consume that much sauerkraut, hot dogs and mac-n-cheese besides my girls. They were wonderful for even competing in the first place, and so wonderful for competing fiercely enough to actually win! We accomplished what seemed like an impossible task, and we did it together.

There is now a lovely golden pig on display for our halls for winning the Pig Out competition. Sure everyone else in our halls might laugh when they see it, but not my friends and I. We will look at it smiling, knowing that the trophy truly belongs to just us.

Preview This

Today was Fall Preview day at Hope International University. There is a preview day once in the Spring and once in the Fall, where our campus hosts about two hundred High School students and their parents. The day is supposed to be an insight for High School Seniors to see what a typical day in college is actually like. The day was going according to plan, all until lunch came around…

I asked my boyfriend Todd to go to the caf (aka the commons) to eat as soon as it opened. It is a well-known fact that on Preview Day, getting food in the caf takes about 4X longer than it normally would, and seating is hard to come by. So, we arrived as soon as the doors opened, only to meet a relatively small crowd. After getting our food, Todd and I sat at a table where we were soon joined by our friends. The conversation was typical flowing through topics such as movies, how the weekend was, random jokes, etc.

After I had finished my food, I noticed that my friend Hughie had let his frosted mini wheats sit in a bowl full of milk for about 30 minutes. In doing so, the wheaties had completely absorbed the surrounding milk, leaving swollen cream-colored wheaties stuck to the bottom of the bowl. I commented on Hughie’s wheatie status. Then Hughie got a brilliant idea; he decided to see if I would give in to peer pressure.

Hughie turned to me and said, “Heather, I will give you $75 if you grab a huge handfull of this wheatie mush and shove it in your face! Then you have to stand up and yell, ‘I just got wheatied!’ and run out of the caf.” Immediately the other five people sitting at our table turned to me to see if my immediate reaction would be to slam the bowl in my face. I admit that I deeply considered it. No, I did not smash the bowl in my face. Call me stupid if you want to, but there was no actual money on the table. My friends kept upping the pot and eventually it got to $115…I am sure by now you think I am an idiot. Who would pass up that much money just for smashing some wheaties in the face? I did pass on the offer, but that is not where the story ends.

Right, so there was no actual money on the table. Otherwise you had better believe I would have smashed the entire bowl in my face and screamed at the top of my lungs! My friends were just looking for a show, and even more than that, they were looking to cause a scene for Fall Preview Day. I walked away from the table to put my dishes on the cleaning rack. As I came back, I managed to hear Todd mumble, “I’m going to make $20 real quick!”

I sat down quickly, already dreading the attention that Todd was going to bring to our table. Before I know it, he picked up a piece of grilled chicken off of his plate, stood up, and smacked our friend Chris across the face with it while yelling very loudly, “Just fight me you big Chicken!” Immediately, silence smothered the entire caf. All of the anxious parents looked around to see where the yelling had occurred from, and students looked around anxious for some real potential action to go down in the caf. Chris took the piece of chicken from Todd’s hand, threw it back at Todd, and then they both sat down like nothing had happened.

The silence in the caf continued for too long. As a few parents began to mumble and look around nervously to see if someone was supervising this situation, a student in the far corner of the caf started to clap slowly. This clapping was followed by a reluctant, “Welcome to Hope Preview Day!”

Wedding vows

I promise that I will be your very best friend. I promise to laugh with you, even when you are not being funny. I promise to listen to you when you need me to listen. I promise to keep my emotions in check when you just need some “guy time.” I promise to try not to freak out when I catch you looking at another girl, even when I know she is prettier than me. I promise to put up with your farting, even though it grosses me out and I want to smack you. I promise to hold the smack back, and rather just smile at you. I promise to look at you with love and admiration in my eyes. I promise to let you be the man in the relationship. I promise to allow you to make the decisions. I have faith in you, love.

I promise to be your wife. I promise to satisfy you in any way that you ask me to. I promise to be there when you wake up, to kiss you first thing even when you have bad morning-breath. I promise to wake you up with gentle kisses, whispering in your ear. I promise to let you tickle me, even though I hate it. I promise to get up early, just to make you breakfast everyday. I promise to let you jump in the shower with me, even when I just need a few minutes to myself. I promise to wear my underware around the house as much as possible (before we have kids) because I know it will make you happy. I promise to kiss you goodbye every day before you walk out of the door. I promise to make you late to work somedays because I don’t want the kisses to end..

…I promise to be there when you get home. I promise to ask you what you would like for dinner, before I start to cook. I promise to let you help if you want to. I promise to pretend that I cannot open jars, just so that you feel needed when I ask you to please help me. I promise to sit at the table and eat dinner with you. I promise to let you tell me about your day. I even promise to eat in front of the TV sometimes when an important game is on that conflicts with us eating at the dinner table. I promise to serve you seconds, give you the best pieces of meat, and make sure your cup is always full. I promise to clear your dishes, even though I know you will try to beat me to it at times..

..I promise to sit with you and rub your shoulders and your head while we watch the game (with you, there is always a game on!). I promise to listen to your stories about your day as we relax in one another’s company. I promise to help you grade papers from your students. I promise to fall asleep in your arms on the couch…

..I promise to give you all of the children that you want. I promise that I will work to be the best mother that I can be. I promise to still give you attention, even when we have all of our kids demanding our attention. I promise that you and I will always make time, even if we have to pull it out of thin air. I promise to date you until the day we die. I promise to wear clothes that you like, even if they make me feel a little uncomfortable. I promise to still make out with you in the movie theatre, even when we are old and gray. I promise to keep my body in shape to keep you interested in me…

…more than anything Darling, I promise to love you, even when life is not so simple. I promise to love you even if you lose your job. I promise I will hold you close and help you start looking for an alternative. I promise to love you no matter how long it takes for work to come your way again. I promise to love you if you ever get sick. I promise to be the one to clean up the puke off the floor, to bring you your cold medicine, to run out in the middle of the night to get more kleenex because your nose won’t stop running. I promise to hold you close, even though I know it will mean I get sick too. I promise to love you even if you gain weight. I promise that I will do whatever you need me to in order for you to feel comfortable with yourself. I promise to love you as we grow old together. I promise to love you when you can no longer bend over and tie your shoes…

..I promise to love you even when I am frustrated, even when I get angry, even when I am heart broken. I promise to respect you and I promise to value you for who you are. I promise that you will be my one and only. I promise that you will always be a superhero in my eyes…

I love you with all of my heart. Today as I look into your smiling face, I cannot help but catch my breath as I realize how amazing our love is. I will always love you, and I am forever yours alone. Everything I have, everything I am, every part of me that there is to possibly give, I give to you. I love you sweetheart.

I do.