Well, I’m 20 now. Woo whoo! I was so excited to no longer be a teenager that before my birthday, I asked a bunch of friends for suggestions how to celebrate. I wanted to do something immature I could blame on being a teenager before I went into my 20s. Boy, my perspective of being an adult has changed just from natural experiences around my birthday. I didn’t even need to plan anything exceptional. It was naturally memorable.
I grabbed two friends, (“Suzy” and “Ashley”) and headed to the beach. Sadly, my car decided to act more like a paralyzed hippopotamus than a car, so we took Suzy’s car. The trip there was great. It took three hours like it should then we changed into our swimsuits and were also paralyzed hippopotamus on the beach…until Ashley needed to blow her nose and left in search of a napkin. I was so engrossed in the conversation with Suzy that I forgot Ashley left. Until Suzy thought we should go look for her. So we did.
At this point, we needed to put more money in our car meter which had a 2-hour parking limit. Suzy didn’t want to go alone in case she would become lost like we thought Ashley was….so we both went to add money to the meter.
Suzy and I couldn’t find a parking space so I left her to look for Ashley. I went back to our beach spot only to find myself in a near panic when she wasn’t there. A good hour passed since she left. I thought through the situation as clearly as I could which ended up with me seeing horrific images of my innocent, napkin needing, companion being stuffed into a truck and being taking away to Canada. CANADA!!
The most logical thing I came up with at this point was talking to a lifeguard. So I did and described her the best I could and he radioed some guy that spread it down the chain and said he’d let me know if they found her. I walked back to my beach towel aaaand there she was. Right there. On the towel, calm as a clam, like nothing happened.
Apparently Ashley told us that she was also going for a walk, not just getting a napkin for her nose. But neither Suzy or I heard her say that and she didn’t say it very clearly. And she didn’t take her phone with her. So I was calm until I thought Suzy wasn’t calm, so I started getting concerned…apparently Suzy and I both thought the other was more upset than we were and we fed off each other’s nervous energy until both of us were incredibly anxious.
When Ashley was on her stroll and I was talking to the lifeguard, Suzy was still going in circles searching for a spot. She called her fiancé. “We lost someone, I can’t find a parking spot…please pray!” So he did. Right at that moment is when I called her saying Ashley was no longer lost. I was also praying as all of this was happening. The prayers of a fiancé are effective. (Also non fiancés since I am not a fiancé).
We de-stressed after that by eating at Subway then shopped around, enjoyed some more waves and went home…or at least tried to…
So there we were, in the car again, about to leave for home. Ashley started off driving for the journey which went pretty smoothly. After a while she wanted a break so I took the wheel.
In the area we were driving, there were many on and off-ramps and I drove on many different highways and this and that and some of the roads weren’t marked very clearly…In the middle of this tangled knot, the check engine light decided to come on. Suzy, who owns the car, immediately called her mechanical coworker. He suggested taking it to an auto parts shop to discover the problem.
We rerouted to an auto parts store, but had a hard time getting there. At one point, we went under this shady bridge where two guys were walking towards us on the opposite sides of the road. It was just really weird.
When we finally got to the auto shop, Suzy went in and asked if they could run a test on the check engine light. Apparently they don’t do that anymore. We lifted the hood of the car to check it out…I’m pretty sure none of us knew what we were looking at, but Suzy pulled out the dipstick and dried it on her shirt. I’m like, “Seriously?? On your nice white shirt? We could have used a tissue!” (Or one of Ashley’s napkins).
It didn’t seem to bother her and the oil was fine, so we prayed and went on our way.
It took me a couple attempts to find the right highway…We went over a ginormous bridge. When we got to the bottom of the bridge, the GPS said to turn around and go back over it. WhAt?! We had to pay an unnecessary $4 toll just for that. Thanks GPS.
Long story short, it took us 5 hours instead of 3 to get home. We were all happy to be alive when we arrived at my house. Suzy had another 45-minute drive from my house to get home. My dad was at my house at the time, so he looked over the car before she left and said she should be ok to drive home. Ashley stayed overnight. It was crazy, but definitely a fun, memorable, beach adventure.
The next morning, Ashley took me to Shady Maple for my birthday! That was so sweet of her. We had a great time. Then while at work, a friend from my childhood, (the longest friend I’ve ever had whom I haven’t seen in two years) randomly called me up and was like, “Yo, what are you doing tonight??” And I was like, “Going bowling with my bro and the friend who took me out to breakfast.” And she’s like, “How far away to do live?” (I’ve moved so much, it’s hard to keep track of me :p ) She ended up driving an hour just to make me happy on my birthday. Reunited Childhood Friend for the win!
We bowled and enjoyed ourselves then went to the grocery store and bought some milk. Then we went to my house and watched the Olympics. My Childhood- Blast-From-The-Past-Friend slept over and made us pancakes for breakfast. It was an awesome birthday.
Through these experiences I discovered there was really no need to jump out of an airplane or do one more childish thing before my 20th. I’ve learned the importance of staying calm under any circumstance like when you lose a friend or can’t find a parking space or can’t drive….
Speaking of not driving, my car is finally on the road again after being a paralyzed hippopotamus for 2 weeks. While my car was out of commission, my brother lent me his car, which is stick shift. I was very nervous about driving it since I never drove stick before, but I needed to drive to work, so I took the risk.
My bro taught me how to drive it the day before I needed it…It went ok. At the end of the driving session, my brother jumped out of the car and kissed the ground.
Friday came around like Friday always does and I faced the unknown and drove down the highway, until it was time to get off the highway. So I did and it went great. Then I had to stop at a red light…that was not great.
So I’m sitting at the intersection until the green-light smiles at me, so naturally I try to go…except I didn’t go. I stalled. “Not a problem,” I thought. “I’ll just try again.” So I did. Again and again. I tried to restart at least 5 times over the course of 3 rotations of the green-light. Thankfully I was the only one turning left and no other cars were behind me.
The light turned green again. I let go of the clutch and tried to smoothly pass my left foot with my right on the the gas. Except I didn’t. I stalled in the middle of the intersection. The other light turns green. I’m screwed.
At this point I’m starting to panic a…”MOM??” All of a sudden my mom is waving at me like, “GO, TINA GO!!” She’s coming from the other side of the intersection where the cars were starting to blow past me. She stops in her big white van so no one else can get past her which gave me enough time to putts into the bank parking lot, which was where I was trying to go anyway.
I’ve never been so happy to see my mom in all my life. We just stared at each other and laughed for a solid 2 minutes before we said anything. She lent me her van and I got safely to work.
I’m changing gears. I’m 20. That’s a big gear change for me. But I already went through 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and all the other gears I needed to get where I’m at. I’m thankful I don’t have to go from 1st to 5th, it doesn’t work that way. Small steps and some leaps of faith are all that’s required for this crazy journey we call life. I’m grateful for the numerous times God fills in those gaps I can’t reach yet. And for helping me at a literal crossroad in life. I’m learning fear really has no place when Jesus always carries me the rest of the way when I stall out.
If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for reading!
More updates about Germany to come, this was just some real life learning experiences in the meantime.