Reminiscing On Brief Trips That Brought Unique Experiences + Lasting Memories
The beginning of September translates into the transition into Fall which signals a shift into my student season of life. My summer days spent as an avid world traveler are put on hold for the time being — trading in the passport + sightseeing for thick textbooks + studying. As I am settling into my new routine of courses, labs, tutoring, leading, I wanted to take a moment to reflect back on a few few-day trips that weaved their way into my wondrous weeks of summer break.
The first mini trip was spent in charming Charleston. I traveled down with my brother who was visiting the Medical University of South Carolina where he hopes to attend for dental school. While he was busy with a schedule full of meet-and-greets, touring campus, mock labs + demonstrations, etc., my parents and I had the opportunity to explore the Charleston area, which brought back many memories, and definitely created some anew.
In 1995, my parents came here and stayed at Shem Creek Inn for their honeymoon. We spent some time around the area, walking on the boardwalk along the marsh + line of shrimp boats where they recalled to me their adventurous activities + sweet stories from their time spent here. Later that evening, we drove around the Battery to admire the beautiful old homes + waterfront at sunset.
We spent the next day as tourists around the downtown area, Battery Park, Waterfront Park, and Kiawah Island. We also took some time away to head over to Angel Oak which was a favorite of mine when I was younger. The tree is thought to be the largest, towering at about 66 feet. Despite 400-500 years of harsh weather and curious tourists stopping by, the tree still manages to hold deep roots + stand strong for all to admire -- what a perfect paradigm for me to apply to my life as I inevitably face the many confusing, stressful, difficult, overwhelming moments that come with being a full-time student again. As long as I have a strong foundation + deep roots in the Word of life, I will stand strong + withstand any circumstance that comes my way.
One of my favorite things about Charleston is walking around downtown exploring all of the eclectic shops + foodie spots, as well as the open marketplace. In addition to the plenty of plates of seafood that I put down on the short trip, I stopped by some health-focused cafes + juice bars including Huriyali where I got a loaded açaí bowl + a vanilla beet cupcake topped with cashew frosting, rose petals, lemon zest — score!
My next weekend getaway was to another lovely southeastern coastal town. My mom and aunt took a long weekend away from work to spend with me around Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. There were off and on summer showers, but the Lord held off the rain while we were out doing activity + sprinkled the grounds as we were indoors doing other things -- nothing could put a damper on our girls trip when our good Father is looking out for us!
We toured Bellamy Mansion, explored downtown Wilmington’s shops + restaurants, and spent an afternoon at Airlie Gardens where we saw the oldest live oak tree of 470+ years, historic chapels, art sculptures, and beautiful flower + butterfly gardens. We ended the evening with a delectable, fresh seafood dinner + a sunset cruise along the Cape Fear River.
We set out early one morning to Fort Fisher to take the ferry over to Southport, which was a unique experience from what I have done before. Southport was the film location for numerous movies + TV shows including Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven. We walked around the local neighborhoods, did some shopping (salt water taffy to bring back for my brother + thrifted clothes for me!), had lunch on the water, visited Wrightsville, Kure, and Carolina Beaches, then headed back to our place for the weekend to watch Safe Haven, pointing out all of the spots in the film that we had just visited that day!
Before we could even unpack our bags from our beach weekend in North Carolina, my mom and I set out again along with my Dad for a road trip up to Indiana. My brother had won an outstanding + infrequently given award under the Boys Scouts of America Order of the Arrow known as the Distinguished Service Award, so we drove over 8 hours, through 5 states, to celebrate him + his awesome accomplishment.
We attended a dignified national recognition dinner + ceremony at Indiana University for the select group of individuals who won the award, then headed over to an impressive show hosted by the Scouts with a reception following.
Leading up to the main events for the evening, we had a day open with freetime that my parents and I spent exploring the surrounding area. A notable feature about the town is the extensive natural supply of limestone rock. We sought out a particular rock quarry nearby that provided the stone in the construction of the Empire State building. However, we weren’t quite successful in gaining access to the quarry, so we visited around downtown Bloomington, went to local parks, the visitors center, and Indiana University’s campus.
As I finish typing this post, my heart is full of gratefulness. I am beginning to sink deep in assignments + responsibilities, but I am overcome with awe at what the Father has blessed me with ― the big, the small, the in-between. These blessings that God has gifted me in my life in terms of family, opportunities, experiences are far more numerous + incomparable to any bump in the road or hardship I may come across. Reminiscing on moments, events, places such as these forces my eyes to see nothing but the good in all things + my mouth to speak nothing but praise + thanksgiving to the Father who provides His children good, perfect, pleasing gifts (James 1:17). As I approach the start of this Fall semester, I aim to keep my mind lifted to things above (Colossians 3:2), remind myself of the provisions He has blessed me with + always stand rooted in the purpose He has called me to (Colossians 2:6-7).