Well, here we are, or, here I am: sitting in a temporary on-campus establishment with 4 other post-season, NCAA Championships bound rowers. We are training after school has gotten out (yes, I survived Sophomore year!) in order to do the best we can at this amazing point in our rowing season. We will battle it out with 8 other teams in Division III and see who comes out on top. Varsity has been really great; the girls are amazing and accepting and wonderful (and super funny and into Youtube videos, more about that late). They have been really helpful in the transitional period between Novice and Varsity.
I think just about every time I’m with any of these girls, a Youtube video is quoted or alluded to. The best one is of a black woman driving in Los Angeles (by the looks of it) who yells (while filming herself) “STAY ON YO SIDE” to a driver who cuts her off. SOOO funny. (You can watch here). She’s “dramatic, but less ghetto.” hahaha.
Anywayssss. Kevin and Karina got to come up and enjoy beautiful AND SUNNY! Tacoma! We went to Point Defiance, did the 5 mile drive, went to all the good food places, drove into Seattle, went to Pike Place Public Market, and visited the first Starbucks! =]
It was a really wonderful time, complete with an end of day heart-to-heart. They are really amazing and are doing really well together and staying happy (especially with their new puppy!) I miss them already, but I’ll be headed home in just under 2 weeks!
Moving out is always this surreal experience: literally, one door closes and another opens. I boxed and stored all my stuff that I “won’t need in Los Angeles”… but all that really means is that I boxed up stuff I HOPE I won’t need in LA. haha. Lauren called me the other day (she’s getting so mature on the phone, it’s amazing) and she left me a voicemail that said “It’s your sister Lauren. I just calc-ka-lated how long you’re coming, 17 days. I love you, bye.”
She is so incredible. Being away from her for large chunks at a time makes her progress seem so intensified and huge. I always used to say watching her grow up and mature was like watching your toddler make their big first everythings; now it’s like watching your pre-teen mature into an adult at hyper speed. Obviously I will do all I can to make sure she is still my baby sister! Haha. What would I (or we) do without that inner child of hers? We’d all go crazy. But you all know what I mean: she’s growing up so much right now and it’s beautiful. Such an experience. I’m proud of her everyday. She came up with my dad to the Rowing Championships in Sacramento, CA last week and she didn’t have a single meltdown or anxiety issue. It was so impressive and I was so proud of her. She shook hands with people, introduced my dad to them, sat quietly (and loudly) with people. She did well under circumstances that just 2 years ago would have made her freaaaaaaaak out. It’s so exciting to see her accomplishments.
So last night I went to a graduation party for a few friends of mine (who I will thoroughly miss seeing the faces of on campus next year!) and I met a graduate named Jason Lee. His younger brother (who’s my age) has Autism. Leland is incredible! He paints, plays guitar, and sings! I talked to Jason for 20 minutes about those major steps when they finally hug you or hold your hand. I will always remember Lauren’s first REAL moment of reaching out: When grandpa Bud passed away, we were all clearly and visibly sad and Lauren came and sat down on the couch (she was tear-free and anxiety free at this point) and just sat down with me and held me and told me to “lay your head on me” and she just let me cry on her. My mom and I were speechless and cried even hard; but those were tears of joy and pride. She was tapping into emotions of others in a way she had never done before. Almost 4 years later, this is still an incredible memory, one I won’t ever forget. I talked with Jason’s parents about Leland and Lauren (they know about HELP Group in SM!) and to Jason some more and we all agreed that it’s amazing to watch two people talking about someone they truly admire and look up to; in our cases, it’s our siblings. I have never felt so connected to someone I didn’t know before. He told me to contact him if I want to get involved with helping those with Autism in the Tacoma area. And I definitely will. =]
The past few months since I last wrote have gone by so quickly, but they’ve been great. I can hear my belly growling, so I’m going to go pile some food into it.
Girl in Like of New Friendships