Alas, Poor Summer—I Knew It Well

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What a wonderful summer this has been.

Slower paced compared to the whirlwind of last summer—but still wonderful. Perhaps it was wonderful because it was slower paced. Who can tell?

God let me go back to Croatia. And can’t express my gratitude properly for that trip—I just can’t. Not only did He get me over there, but He gave me fantastic students and blossomed friendships that were only seedlings last year. It was hard, exhausting work, coaching those children in their English skills—but fun work, seeing how enthusiastic they were about learning. Now I don’t just want to go back—I feel like I absolutely must go back, at any cost, never mind that I’m starting grad school next year. I love the people too much to stay away. This is a love I wouldn’t have come by without God working in my heart, and for that I am truly grateful.

This summer, I tried new things. Mangoes, for instance. Smoothie-making. Pie-crust baking. Manufacturing tricksy non-cookies (that tasted delicious). Owl City. A long list of songs I’d never heard before. Eating ćevapi. Drinking tea instead of coffee in the mornings. Doctor Who. Grilled broccoli. Yes, most of that has to do with food. No, you shouldn’t judge.

My wonderful parents gave me a car for my twenty-first birthday. I think the awesome ramifications of that sentence are self-explanatory. I thank them often. I will keep thanking them until the car rattles apart around me. There are no words for their love.

I got to spend a week in North Carolina with my family. Not only North Carolina, but the mountains of North Carolina. It’s my favorite place in the world, and I’ve never gotten to spend a whole week up there, so that was a treat beyond treats.

There was a ton, and I mean a TON, of rain this summer in Anytown. We’ve been in a drought for a decade, and for once I am not exaggerating. It has rained daily since March—not just little rain showers here and there, but torrential downpours. Daily. Our lakes and rivers are back up to normal levels again, and not once did any of the Rambler clan have to go out in the morning to water the plants.

This has been my healthiest summer. The exercise I have gotten has been frequent and energizing, and I’ve never eaten better in my life. A skin skirmish that started in March (right along with the humidity) got me to change my diet to eating no refined sugar, heaps of fruits and vegetables, almost zero junk food, and lots of fish. Did I lose any weight? Nope. If anything, I gained. Do I care? Nope. I’ve never felt better. A number on a scale, after all, is just a number. You may recall how well I handle numbers.

Writing poems. That happened a lot. I have written more poems this summer than I ever have in my whole life, and that’s counting school projects from my elementary school years. I love it so much I can’t stop, and I’m grateful to have had the time to devote to it.

Best yet, I got to spend time with good friends all summer long. Normally I spend my summers in a kind of willing isolation, either at work, on vacation with my family, or at home, recuperating from a hard school year with the aid of books. But at least once every week, I got to hang out with one person or several people. Whether it was to watch a movie, go to a park, go out to eat, or to just sit and talk—every week ensured a lovely time spent well with wonderful people. And that, my friends, was fabulous.

God has given me the best summer of my life. Perhaps they will only keep getting better. Let’s hope.

But as of tomorrow, it’s back to school. Back to pencils. Back to books. Back to…

Well, you know.

Next summer will hold its share of adventures. The last Sisterhood road trip—or at least the last road trip that all of us can attend, since one of us will be getting married and moving to Wisconsin (also next summer, after the road trip). I hope to return to Croatia for more experiences in English-teaching. I’ll be moving far from Anytown to begin graduate school. Lord willing. Stay tuned for more of The Adventures of Risabella Rambler. Same time. Same station.

 

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