Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Appalachia stole my heart...and Young Life Rocks!

Beginning on Sunday night, kids started arriving at my house before dinner. We had the bar-b-que scenting out through the neighborhood and parents giving their hugs to kids being dropped off for the adventure. Kids were whispering to me to get their "parents outta here" and parents were whispering "take care of my baby"...being in the middle, I hugged everyone and winked and nodded to both. That's how I roll!

The evening was spent laughing loudly, eating a lot, playing Rock Band, and genera
lly doing some early bonding. I also would glide around giving shout outs of the countdown until bed time, but no one seemed to take me seriously. I was never wrestled to the ground, or had dirty socks stuffed in my mouth, so I kept at my plan. I had no illusions, but the goal was to get SOME rest before our early rise to get to the airport an hour away. For highschool kids, I was quite happy to see that they had fun, but also seemed willingly be in bed by 10pm....thank you Lord! I am the one who needed rest!

We did wake up early (2am), got dressed, tidied up the house a bit, and loaded into the car. Off to the airport we went and there we met the rest of the group. About 35 kids plus 10 adult leaders made us a group worth noticing. Many people think I am nuts to hang with teens but I have to tell you they are better than most adults I know. I don't know what it says about me, you can judge for yourself, but hopefully you will see by the end of this why I love them all so freakin' much!! We flew from Reno to Las Vegas. My daughter was so excited when I told her she could exaggerate and say she had been there, though her feet never touched soil. She didn't care, she just knows she saw the same buildings that are in the opening credits for CSI....and that is not an admission that she is allowed to watch this show, but who hasn't seen the beginning credits?

Early at the Reno airport. See how dark it is? See how happy the young folk are?

See the sleeping "adult leader" there catchin' it where she can? That is resourceful!!

(never been to the Grand Canyon, but we got to fly over it, can I say I was there too?)

This is me. This is before the rest of the adventure, early, early in the trip now that I look back on it. See how happy I am? My hair is clean, I have a bit of makeup on, and I am feelin' fine! I had even earned my Southwest wings already...

These are two of the kids that I encouraged to get to bed. Before....

I explained that they would be tired and would need their rest for the next day and the next week. They laughed at me and continued their Rock Band concert tour....I should have known they would do this to me. Oh sure, they think they are young and can stay up all night, but poopers!

A quick layover and then off to Nashville. I have to say that I was so pleasantly surprised at how beautiful that city was. Green, hilly and so different from my neck of the woods. Once there we piled all these kids into vans and began our 5 plus hour drive up into Kentucky. For those of you who are wondering...yes it was a looong day, but not nearly as loooooong as the return day. We had time change on our side going East.

Our group was caravaning and we got a bit separated at a stop light. Those of us who made it through the light pulled over to wait and it was at this point I heard a ding, saw a light come on, felt a weird idling vibration. The light changed, we all began to move together again, and then I noticed smoke coming out of my Kentucky! I was SO far out of my "comfort zone" I can't even begin to tell you, and all the promises of taking care of "babies" were weighing on my mind, and then came the smoke. Pouring out of my car!! Did I mention I was in Kentucky? Fortunately, I looked up and we were at the driveway of the church that was hosting us for dinner/pit stop. As I am pulling into the parking lot I calmly told the kids that when I stopped they were to exit the vehicle from the two side exits. We had just been on a few plane rides, so they seemed to know the "emergency plan" intuitively and didn't ask about oxygen masks, or taking carry on, they just knew that when I stopped the needed to GET OUT!
Stay tuned....the adventure does continue!

Go take a breath, get some coffee and ya'll come back soon!


IrishgirlieKnits said...

Wow! Can't wait to hear more about your trip! I spent my spring break freshman year doing a service project in Appalachia and absolutely loved it!

oh, and hope the car was ok...

Tammy said...

You have been busy! Looking forward to the rest of your story.