The best kind of (cult) friendships

Every year, my University Scholars class at SPU takes a weekend trip to Portland. We call it our official “retreat,” and we make the typical honors-student pilgrimage to Powell’s City of Books, stuff our faces with donuts and home-cooked meals, and play Signs for hours.

View from Vista House in Corbett, OR. Have I mentioned that I love the Northwest?

Moreover, because this was my last weekend in the Northwest, I knew this was the world’s largest cannot-miss-this opportunity. Few things are better than cult friendships.

Ruby, Melissa, Marie, and Annie at Public Domain -- catching up over coffee and hot chocolate!

We spent Saturday in downtown Portland, visiting Powell’s and exploring the city. In the afternoon, after grabbing lunch from Portland’s famous food trucks, a group of us girls split off and settled in for coffee and girl talk at Public Domain — an indie coffee shop with some of the best brewed coffee I’ve ever tasted (and we all know that I drink a lot of coffee). It was so refreshing to catch up with my friends…although it made me realize just how much I’ve missed them and WILL miss them again this semester. Ugh. After the much-needed girl time, we met back up with some of the guys and got Voodoo Doughnuts. If you’ve never had a VooDoo doughnut, slap yourself and then get to Portland for the weirdest doughnut experience of your life. No, really. We got the “VooDoo Dozen,” which included (among others) bubblegum, Tang, Froot Loops, Cocoa Puffs, and marshmallow flavored/decorated donuts.

UScholars cozied up with good friends and books (and iPhones) inside the Waldo home in Corbett.

On Sunday, our plan to hike at Mt. Hood was derailed by snowfall, but the day actually turned out to be my favorite day of the trip. I caught up on my Bible study in the morning, curled up with two of the sweetest dogs (Remi and Max) and a cup of coffee. Later, we trekked out to Adam’s house in Corbett, instigating a couple of snowball fights and hiking around before warming up inside.

We played a game of Superlatives (in which I was voted “Most likely to secretly know how to pole dance” – not accurate – and “Most likely to run a secret cat adoption agency for government mutations”…Um…accurate! Half-cat, half-sloth, all the cute!), and one last round of Signs — both of which made me realize how well we know each other, how far we’ve come together, and how much I value these people in my life.

So, to all of my friends I saw this weekend (roommates, housemates, France trip chips-and-salsa buddies, and UScholars — both those who went to Portland and those who did not), thank you for reminding me what I have loved about the last four years of my life spent at SPU. Our friendships, the camaraderie we have formed through shared experiences both inside the classroom and out, have been the best part of my college experience.

This perfect last weekend at home makes it hard to leave again, but I also have to remember that SPU was so much more than the wonderful people. Attending SPU was the right choice, and I recognize that; SPU allowed me so many opportunities I wouldn’t have had anywhere else. But it has been hard for me in so many ways…I think I was outgrowing SPU’s campus, in a sense, even as it provided the foundation for everything I accomplished. I guess that’s why D.C. was (and is) the right choice for me this year.

Now I’m (mostly) packed, ready to head out tomorrow if the snow melts a little. We’re pretty much snowed in at my house, and my flight leaves at 8:40 a.m. tomorrow! But in spite of my early-onset cabin fever/flight cancellation worries, tonight I’m looking forward to one of my favorite meals (my mom’s homemade Zuppa Toscana — better than the Olive Garden original!), a game of Apples-to-Apples with my favorite people, and a movie night with my sister (Harry Potter 6).

It’s almost time for a new adventure…let’s hope my flight doesn’t get canceled!

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