Hello World – Again.

Well…Here we are again. Another school year, another required blog. However, this year I will be reporting for The Columbia Missourian. Things are getting serious around here, but before they get too serious, here’s what you’ve missed since the last time we met. 

 

Summertime. Three delightful months of fun in the sun, friends, happiness and no homework, right? WRONG. At least not for me. My summer was not at all what I’d anticipated. I knew that my goal this summer was to make money, but I didn’t think that’d be working six days a week and spending my one free day each week in the hospital. 

I worked two jobs this summer. For the past five years, I’ve been a cave guide at Talking Rocks Cavern in Branson West, Mo. It’s been an absolute blessing to work there. I love the people I work with. They are an extension of my family and I can’t imagine a life without them, but the pay isn’t as great as what I needed this summer. So I told them I would be looking elsewhere for a serving job. It broke my heart, but I did indeed get a job as a server.

If you’ve ever been to Branson, then you’ve probably heard of Dixie Stampede. It is a delightful dinner show where horses jump through hoops of fire, pigs race and buffalos roam, all while the audience is served their own WHOLE CORNISH HENS, as well as other tasty dishes, equalling a delicious 3,000 calories. I managed to snag one of these coveted server jobs this summer. You get to wear these extremely unflattering North/South Civil War era uniforms while running around an arena carrying huge trays of food. To say I was a hot sweaty mess this summer is an understatement. But the job only consumed four days a week for me, so I couldn’t resist going back to my beloved cave two days a week. I had four days of profuse sweating and two days of a wonderful 65 degrees underground. 

So there I was, working six exhausting days in row. It made for a quick summer because my weekly prayer was to make it to Tuesdays (my day off) in one piece. Unfortunately, shortly into the summer, this really cute stomach issue I’ve had for several years got really severe. Anytime I eat, I feel nauseous. It’s great. I feel hungry, but I don’t want to eat. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I racked up quite the bill after five or six hospital visits. Finally, they told me it’s “probably stress or anxiety.” What? I (my parents) paid you thousands of dollars to tell me I’m stressed? Well now I’m stressed. 

The worst part of the whole summer is that I live four minutes from the beautiful Table Rock Lake and I didn’t make it to the lake until August. I made a lot of money, that’s for sure. And honestly, it’s a pretty good tradeoff. I plan to study abroad in London this spring, so being able to pay my tuition, housing and food for my entire fall semester makes getting a loan for $20,000 seem a little less horrific. 

Now that I’ve ranted about the bad aspects of my summer, here comes the good news. I still loved it.

I made so many new friends this summer, from servers at Dixie to hospital nurses. I got to spend three glorious months with my family that I love so dearly. I made enough money to support myself (if only for a semester). I slept – REALLY SLEPT – for the first time in months. I turned 20 years old. And finally, I realized how unbelievably blessed I am. I’ve always known I was lucky, but it really hit me this summer. So even though I may have a rare disease, didn’t get to focus on photography as much as I’d liked to, and didn’t have a lot of fun in the sun, I still had a great summer. 

Now I’m just hoping for a stress free school year (lol. News Reporting), improved writing/photographing skills and sweater weather. 

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