OH MY GOODNESS!
This morning, I began my long trek to FOCUS New Staff Training in Champaign, Illinois. It started with an early morning wake up at 4:30 followed by loading bags into the car and heading to Love Field (Dallas's lesser known airport) to catch a flight. My big bag weighed too much so I had to move 7 pounds into my smaller one. No big deal :)
I flew to St. Louis on an extremely crowded flight, and then took another crowded flight to Midway. The good thing about crowded flights is that you can talk to the people next to you, and they have no where to go! On the second flight I sat next to a gentleman who teaches high school in St. Louis. I told him about FOCUS and about Auburn, and he went to Mizzou, so we talked a lot about football. When he asked where I was originally from, he recognized Southlake as being the hometown of former Mizzou QB, Chase Daniel. More football talk, etc., made for an interesting flight.
Then, at Midway, I met the lovely Ginny Jost for what would become the meat of our adventure. We dragged our baggage (literally hundreds of pounds between the two of us) to the 'L'(Chicago's "subway" named due to it's elevation above street level). We asked a few people for directions to Union Station, and got different answers from everyone, so we took the simplest route, given to us by a very nice man who worked at the subway station. We took the wrong elevator and ended up on the wrong side of the tracks, so we had to backtrack. We rushed to get on because we thought the doors would close on us, but they didn't, and we sat there staring at the open doors for about 15 minutes after we ran through them. We rode the L into the city and got of at Quincy, as we were instructed. The whole ride I seriously thought we were going to get robbed because we are two girls with 8 bags between us who look/act like we obviously don't belong. Thankfully, the people of Chicago had mercy on us and were very kind.
We got off the train and had to get all 8 of our bags down two flights of stairs. This is where it got interesting. We decided to leave our bags at the top and each take one down at a time. That was the plan until Ginny knocked down the bags and they came hurling down the stairs at me. I would have escaped, except I was trapped between this round door thing... it's hard to explain. Anyways, once we made it to the street, we had to walk 4(+) blocks to Union Station with all of our bags. Once we got there, we got our tickets to ride the train to Champaign which didn't leave until 4:05, so we killed a few hours sitting in a bar at Union Station. People kept saying it was hot in there, but we were freezing. It was only 57 degrees in Chicago today.
Once we got on the train (affectionally known (by us) as the Hogwarts Express), we narrowly avoided a disaster. There was a man wearing a football hat with orange and blue on it, and we had an ALMOST War Eagle Moment until we realized that it was an Illinois hat. War Eagle Moment disaster: avoided. Then our lack of sleep kicked in and we started laughing... and couldn't stop. Then we passed out for two hours.
When we arrived in Champaign, CeeCee picked us up and took us to the Newman Center. We ate dinner and got our room assignments and filled out paperwork etc. Then we prayed holy hour with everyone and it was AWESOME! It is so incredible to see how many people are dedicating their time to serving our Lord by spreading the Gospel to college students. I am so blessed! After hh, a lot of people went out, and Ginny and I (along with Brea and Ceec) decided to unpack instead. My FOMO (fear of missing out) almost made me go swing dancing with everyone, but my body said no... I did just haul 100+ pounds of baggage around the country. We got all unpacked, and now we're just waiting for Caralyn to get here tomorrow!
I'm sure that each day of the next five weeks will not be as hectic, and I promise not to give you minute by minute details about the happenings of Summer Training, I just thought you wouldn't want to miss out on the ridiculosity of this day! I am so happy to be here, I can't believe this is a reality, and needless to say, Ginny and I will not be doing arm workouts anytime soon.
Saint Christopher, pray for us!