The past week has pretty much blurred past nonstop. Let me try to sum it up slightly:

On Wednesday I woke up in the early afternoon and got cleaned up and headed down to Oxford to see a friend who I hadn’t seen since the beginning of July. We had interesting and amusing conversations (with many digressions) throughout the course of the night and also watched the Red Sox beat the Yankees in the playoffs. By about 3 a.m. or so we were both nearly falling asleep on the couch while the TV blared quietly. The next morning involved coffee downtown at a nice place before she needed to go to class and I needed to be back on the road.

By the late afternoon on Thursday I was in Bluffton and I met some good friends and went up to the English Department to try and say hello/goodbye to some profs. In the evening a few good friends and myself ordered pizza and watched the National League playoffs and cheered as the Cardinals beat Houston. Later that night a few of us who were of age ended up in the local pub drinking a few and singing Kariokie. After the pub closed we gathered a small contigent and went out to the Flying J truckstop. I was hyped up on coffee and so were most of the people there. We eventually left sometime near 3:30 a.m. However, over the course of the time there we had some wonderful debates concerning the concepts of time and human existence.

The next morning I woke to the phone ringing and then went out for coffee with a strange, yet wonderful girl, who has a unique ability to make me laugh (she traveled to Vietnam with our group in May). I had lunch with one of my closest friends ever and we laughed a lot and very nearly made a scene in the coffee shop. For dinner I went out to Findlay with some good friends and my brother. After that, it was to the bowling alley for one of my lowest-scoring games ever. The night ended with me giving some final hugs to good friends and then sitting around in a shed talking deep things while a candle burned. I eventually fell asleep.

On Saturday I said yet more goodbyes to people and then headed home to see a guy I became good friends with about a year ago. I took a shower and fired off a quick email to MCC concerning my visa (which had begun to concern me). I met him in Mount Vernon where we sat around and talked about out potential futures. We walked through the rain and drank coffee and I was wearing sandals because all of my socks were dirty.

My brother got a ride home from Bluffton from a very old friend of mine who now lives in Goshen. When they got back we kind of migrated up to my older brother’s house for my nephew’s birthday celebration. After the cake and ice cream and presents, we wasted a lot of time driving around looking for something to do, and then ended up at my house watching the first game of the world series. My friend left when it was getting late and the remaining three of us stayed up to watch the game. It ended at 12:30 a.m. and it was about this time that I decided that I needed to pack. However, I was mostly clueless. How should I pack for three years into a suitcase and a backpack? I was finally done with everything, including showering, around 4 a.m. and set my alarm for 7.

In the morning I swallowed a bagel and some coffee, said goodbye to my old friend, and my brother and I hit the road for Akron, Ohio. My commissioning service was very emotional. My little brother said some nice things about me, which made us both cry. My mom was crying, my sister was crying and my dad was sniffling too. In any case, we got through it all and then in the afternoon was my dad’s ordination service. It wasn’t as long as I thought it would be, but I was feeling pretty tired when it was over. Eventually I said goodbye to all the people at church and all my family and good friends there and my parents and I cleared out and went to a bookstore. I picked out a few books and they insisted that they pay for them. I didn’t argue too much, because it meant more money with which to buy food and coffee on the train.

We eventually ended up at my aunt’s house in Akron, not too far away from the train station. I fell asleep around 10:30 or so and felt pretty good when I woke up around 5 the next morning. We made it to the train station and waited for quite some time, as the train was about 45 minutes late. I said goodbye to my parents and hopped aboard.

I drank coffee on the train, but fell asleep. I watched the countryside roll past and heard the train whistle blow. We rolled on through some mountains and I looked at the trees dying in thousands of colors. The train went around the famous horseshoe curve and there were people there watching us go by; I waved to them. I eventually ended up at my station of Lancaster, PA nearly an hour late, but there was someone there to pick me up. He drove me to Akron and dropped me off near where I would be staying.

Akron has changed since I remember it. The first time I was here I was 4 and I remember the brightly colored leaves and tricycles. The last time I was here I was about 12 or 13. The building that I remembered staying in and playing around has been completely razed; there is nothing there but a flat patch of grass. Interesting I guess. I met some other volunteers who are all very nice and seem way more qualified than I do. We were taken out to dinner at a nice Italian place and I was full when I left.

Today I have done hardly anything as the main things happen tonight. I have: Got up. Showered. Turned in forms. Picked up more forms. Turned in more forms. I’m looking forward to getting into the swing of things tonight and tomorrow.

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