Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Newport, Rhode Island & Boston, MA

Last week, I went to visit my best friend from Baylor who lives in Rhode Island, and it happened to also be my first time on the east coast of the United States.  So, obviously, it was pretty much amazing.  I got to continue my travels by seeing a different part of America, hang out with Katie constantly for a week, and get shown around by her loving, hospitable, and fun parents.  How perfect is that?!

Let me run through a few highlights of the week really quickly before going on to the mushy friendship stuff:

Everything in Newport (a small, touristy town where Katie lives on an island off of Rhode Island) is walkable, and impossible to really take in if you don't take the time to walk it!  So naturally, I did a lot of walking: to ice cream, along the cliffs, into town, around town, to ice cream, to the beach, around the mansions, to ice cream, along the water... all many times and the sights were always absolutely breathtaking.  It was fun to walk around a lot and just take it all in.

Another perk of visiting Katie was getting to experience the local's perspective of a touristy location.  On Saturday night, everyone walking around downtown was in cute summery dresses and heals or some post-beach outfit, while Katie and I were rocking athletic bottoms and sweatshirts.  She didn't seam to notice that our walk to see downtown at night and get delicious pizza at Crazy Dough made us look very out of place, but that's because really everyone else is kind of out of place.  Katie walks into town any day of the week and any time of year, while these dressed up tourists only takeover on Friday and Saturday nights in the summer.  It was kind of neat to feel like I belonged and get the local's perspective on the kind of town I have only ever vacationed in through Katie and her parents.  It also means we got to go to all the very best restaurants!

I also enjoyed all the time Katie and I spent with her parents.  It's weird how we go to college, make these really good friends, and just never meet or get to know their parents because we no longer live at home and we forget that, since we're out of high school, we can be friends with our parents now.  Sitting on the deck, going out for ice cream, lounging in a hottub, eating dinner, playing with kids, talking at night, walking into town, or watching the sunset over providence, I enjoyed every minute I got to spend with this wonderful couple and learned so much from them in just one week.  I never thought I would learn so much from my friend's parents' wisdom; it was a wonderful surprise that I never considered would come when planning my visit!  They are such incredible people-- if you ever get the chance to know Mr. & Mrs. Rodriguez, I highly recommend it.

Of course, it was super to finally spend sometime with Katie, after being apart for a year while we were each studying abroad.  Shopping, walking, eating, cuddling, drinking coffee, exercising, laughing, not sleeping... we just did a lot of it all:  Especially coffee, ice cream, and pizza; and walking to justify our choices.  Katie and I have incredibly different personalities and attitudes towards a lot of things, and we have both changed a ton since we basically lived together freshman year, so our friendship is very unique and I don't think anybody else could quite understand how we do it.  In fact, I don't think we even get it.  But we both have shared passions and priorities, and we always have a ton of fun together, which is really what makes life so lovely.  So that's why I love this girl to pieces and am so so so happy I got to spend a week visiting her!  I'm so thankful we're pals; God definitely has provided me an amazing best friend at Baylor.  Yay for fun, unique, & grounded friendship!

AND of course getting to spend a day wandering around Boston!  The history of Boston is so rich, it's incredibly neat and fundamental to our country, which I absolutely love, but, honestly, I think I am still a bit immune to historical buildings from the last 400 years.  I mean, I got back from Europe just over a month ago, so... yeah.  It is what it is.  I did not appreciate the freedom trail and historical elements of the city as much as I would like to say I did.  BUT we still had a really good time!  This includes lots of amazing desserts, walking for hours in the pouring rain, seeing an 8th grade graduation at the Boston library, tons of shopping, losing the red line on the ground because we're incapable, coffee or food breaks at cute local places to get dry, walking through the first ever public garden, witnessing the beauty of the city in the sparkling rain, getting only kind of lost, seeing churches that remind us of Europe, and not being able to take pictures outside of historic buildings we hardly appreciated anyways because we forgot the umbrellas in the car.  Overall, it was a really fun day and Boston is a really neat city, despite visiting on such a rainy day.

Oh!  Also!  There was the really cool "so grateful I go to Baylor" moment when there was a canvas at a Boston Marathon bombing memorial showing support and care from a Baylor student.

I feel so far beyond blessed to be a part of the huge caring, loving Christian community that Baylor creates.  I love being a part of a group of students that is clearly spreading Jesus wherever they go and leaves a footprint of love all over the nation, and the world.

I'm so grateful for my little vacation and visit with Katie.  Spending time with this Godly girl; enjoying a beautiful, peaceful, little town; finally going somewhere after spending a whole month at home (more on that later); and taking time to reflect on what I want to do with my life was exactly what I needed last week.  I got to spend tons of time reading and praying and talking about everything on my mind with Katie.  I'm still figuring out what God's plan is for my life, and, frankly, I don't think I will ever figure it out until it all happens, so I don't know why I bother trying, but, I digress, this week helped me find a little more direction and decide on some action steps.  And I got to see a new place.  So it's been good!

God continues to blow me away with evidence of His beauty, in both people and places, and He continues to overwhelm me with blessings; it is just incredible.