And the semester just goes March-ing on

In spite of my great love for writing and for blogging and for hearing about how many people stalk my blog when I post regularly, I remain terrible at maintaining the discipline blogging requires. I can organize the rest of my life (or at least lie about it here and hope that everyone who isn’t really close to me believes it’s true!), but blogging always slips through the cracks.

Sorry, Mom. This is the blog I said I would write, uh, two weeks ago.

Some of my favorite memories of the year have been in the last couple weeks of March. Unlike last semester, it’s not all about “federal Washington” and the crazy amazing first-time experiences anymore. It’s about people. It’s about places with the people…but mostly the people. You can see them in the pictures in the gallery below. You can see the things we did, but what I really want to stress is that you can see the people I love.

So, we borrowed Ellie’s grandpa’s car and drove to Great Falls, Virginia, where we went for a lovely, wintery walk and did NOT get fined by a park ranger for traipsing off the path where it wasn’t marked.

I baked a fruit pizza to celebrate my lovely roommate Annie’s 1st anniversary/birthday as a Christian. The next night, we went to Serendipity at 11:30 p.m. to celebrate Ellie’s birthday, and it was quite an adventure to get there via the Circulator.

Last week, I ran to the Jefferson Memorial at the Tidal Basin with Tom at 6:30 a.m. to see the cherry blossoms.

But this brings me up to date with the best weekend of my entire school year. I know I came across the country and fell in love with D.C., but in all honesty, this past weekend was the best weekend of my entire year, and I didn’t even spend it in the city. Five of us (Ellie, Lisa, Tom, Jon, and I) borrowed Ellie’s aunt’s cabin in West Virginia for a night, and we just got away from everything. We hiked a mountain in the pouring rain. And when we got to the top, we saw this:

Absolutely amazing. I just keep going back to that moment in my mind, and it feels like a really good dream. The best dream.

As we hiked up, the clouds were really thick and, like I mentioned, it was pretty rainy. After about 20 minutes, even our waterproof rain jackets were soaked through. We just gave up on even trying to stay dry. Once we got to the top, though, we immediately knew it was worth the soaking-wet hike. On the way back, it even cleared up, allowing us to see over the other side of the ridge we were on and off into the valley.

We came back to the cabin, showered, and settled in to read on the porch with a cup of tea. As we covered up in blankets and cracked our books (and maybe even fell asleep for a nap), we all realized: Is this what old age will be like? If so, sign us up. Looking out into the valley (and up through the trees to the place we had just hiked) was so relaxing and peaceful. I think one car drove by all afternoon. There were no sirens. There were no other people. Just us.

I just don’t have words to say why this weekend meant so much. So, here are some pictures that point out the important things. I realize that I’m using a lot of pictures in this post, and that’s partly to make up for the fact that I skipped so much time, but partly to avoid having to write when I would have to force the words.

 

After last weekend, coming back to class/work is like carrying the weight of the world. The ASP class deadlines are closing in, and it feels like I’m running out of time (again). Maybe that’s the worst part of these study abroad programs: They end, and we all go back to the places we came from (unless you’re…me). But I think the biggest thing I have learned from this semester is the importance of trusting people with your heart and allowing yourself to change in the process.

And I do still have 5 weeks here. That’s plenty of time. Lots will happen.

Enjoy the rest of the pictures.

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