Thursday, May 29, 2008

XL Mountains & Ceramicists

This update will span from May 25 to May 28th because a lot has gone on and I do not want to fall far behind. Marta and I just finished studying for our midterm which is tomorrow...I don't even want to start on the fact that we have a midterm, 5 page paper, and a final for this one month "class." Nevertheless we studied, and it reminded me nostalgically of Anthony, April, and I's time in the library. 20% studying, 80% conversating. Tonight Mike (Dr. Ferrara) asked us if we had discovered we were long lost sisters and basically we pretty much have. She and I were talking about graduate school a few days ago and she actually brought up the idea that I should go to UGA for graduate school. I had never really considered it before BUT if I will have to abstain from going to Physical Therapy school because I will still have to take that one class OR if I decide that I would rather get my masters in teaching or health education or the like and work as a teacher/athletic trainer then Athens would be the perfect place for me to do that! They have a highly accredited program and it is only 20-30 minutes away from Gwinnett and I am becoming more and more familiar with the people there as our elapses here. So many options and so much to think about! Who ever thought I might even contemplate becoming a Georgia Bulldog...So anyways, back track to May 25, Sunday, we headed out on a 3 hour train ride to Toroko Gorge where we arrived to a downpour of rain. Well it actually began as a drizzle but by the time we were a fifth of the way down the trail it was pouring down! My "rain jacket" did nothing to protect me and so I was completely drenched from head to toe! It was actually a blessing in disguise because had it been clear blue skies I would have been to busy fighting of bugs and pouring sweat to really soak in everything around me. The rain cooled our skin as we walked along the man made path towards the base of the gorge. There are mountains that seem to climb for miles and miles above your head all around. The kind of mountains that cling to fog clouds all around. I took many many pictures so I will most definitely be sharing those but for now all I can say is that I looked around and just knew that this was God. He was just everywhere. In the rain, in the winding clear blue river, in the weather worn marble stones--the walls twisting and turning mazes. Talk about sensory stimulation overload! It was so simply, extravagantly, incredibly amazing!! 
After our peacefilled trek we headed to dinner where we celebrated Marta's birthday and then went and saw a traditional Aboriginal dance. We were all pulled out there at one point or another to join in the dance, pretty hokey/touristy kind of place but it was still fun. I enjoyed the music and synchronicity of it all, if nothing else. After the dance we went to check into our hotel and had a little free time. We tried, sadly, to find something to do with out free time but finally gave up and went to bed. The hotels here are very....weird. you have to put your card into this little slot before ANYTHING in the entire room will even work. That took a good twenty minutes to figure out, you can imagine me pushing every single button until I just happened to try the card in the slot. Thank god for my imaginative mind ;). 
The next day consisted of...White Water Rafting through Toroko Gorge! It was the most amazing experience I've had here thus far. Three and a half hours of nothing but pushing, pulling, sunshining on my legs and arms, wide open cool waters, a few good rapids, and mountains climbing the sky all around me. It was so heavenly I cannot even describe it adequately, we will just have to go!! Our team raced the last fifteen minutes of the trip to the finish, what an amazing feeling to just pull and pull yourself to the end! I see now why drew loved crew so much, I'm pretty sure I would have too!! We christened our little boat with the name Scooter because he was diligent and loyal, plus it's pretty much the best name ever for a little Taiwanese raft. After our trip we ate lunch, having just spent the last 3 hours in the sun the last thing I wanted to eat was greasy food, so I settled for ice cream instead. :) 
The rest of the Toroko Gorge endeavor was a feeble attempt at entertainment by our tour guides. We went to a sculptural museum which was a complete BUST (except for a few cute pictures we managed to take) and then a house that used to house soldiers during the Japanese and Korean war, I think. Whatever the case the house was actually located above the city which made for a great view (reminds me of my favorite spot in Rome) AND had it's own little coffee shop in it. Marta and I completely our sweet filled day by purchasing two pastries. One for then and another for later. Thank you Lord for chocolate, coffee, and the ability to work it all off afterwards! 
We returned to NTSU to the reminder that we had aquatic adventures the next morning. Aquatic adventures turned out to be an actual swim meet that we had been signed up to participate in. I was a good sport (eventually) and signed up to swim 50 free, 50 fly (riiight), 50 back, and a relay. Good ol' Swimcats flashback. But in the end I only had to swim the back stroke and then a few fun swims. I didn't exactly win at the backstroke (although Marta did place 3rd!) but our teams kicked but at the cooperation competitions. I'm not sure if it's because of our competitive spirit or amazing brainstorming skills but we finished the goofy races miles ahead of the other teams. After the swim meet we ate lunch and I found out, most importantly, that Eva is returning to Georgia College next year as the Assistant Athletic Trainer. I was feeling a little lost with all the changes this coming year but what with Eva coming, Paul staying, and a whole new department otherwise I'm excited to see what might come of our program! I feel like the program had come to a stand still and that this is just what it needs to jump start us into a new arena of possibilities! I also feel like this trip has given me an amazing opportunity to talk to people from a huge spectrum of programs and to really get a feel for what is working and what is a definite possibility for Georgia College in the near future! I'm especially excited about getting the AT club started and seeing what we can do with that. So much to think about!!! 
I had to go to basketball practice for clinicals and that was not a very eventful occasion. The only positive was that I got to tape an ankle, however, NTSU does not purchase "the good stuff" and so I had to tape it using Cramer and Cramer want to tear your hands off fabric tape. It was nearly impossible and made me forever grateful for Johnson and Johnson!!! Afterwards we had sushi and pizza for dinner....sushi for me but of course. And then Tai Chi. 
Marta and I got my buddy, LB, to get us real pizza (as in not seafood infested pizza) and so a bunch of us all sat in the common area and fiested on the luxury of American style PIZZA! After that Marta and I went running again which has really become a fantastic release at the end of a long day! 
So finally, yesterday morning I woke up and had instant grits for breakfast! They made me close my eyes and feel like I was home again. Love me some grits! After breakfast we headed to class which was all about herbal medicine. It was pretty interesting, we even got to measure and mix our own concoction and put it on a pad to be placed on people's sore spots. I definitely didn't use one but it was fun to make! Afterwards we loaded up the bus and had subs for lunch on the way to the Pottery Museum. We toured the museum and then headed to the little pottery city about 15 minutes away (by foot). This was another one of my favorite activities, we got to sit down at a wheel and throw our own creations! I made a little something for Jason and it will be shipped to UGA after it has been fired. I cannot wait to see if/how it turns out! 
Afterwards we spent a good 2 hours browsing the extensive pottery shops before loading the bus back up to head to the NTSU student Athletic Trainer's end of the year banquet. 
A very unique thing about the transportation here, okay so the buses here, is that every single one of them has karaoke built into it. Every single one. Okay so there are few, um well boisterous people (SURPRISINGLY NOT ME) on this trip, that feel the need, every time, to take the microphone and sing about 6 or 7 songs during the course of our trip. Okay and when I say sing I really mean just scream into the microphone for 6 songs straight. So on this particular evening, on the way to the banquet, we discovered that there was second microphone and I took a hold of it. While they were screaming I took the microphone and actually started singing the song. Everyone stopped and one guy was like wait a second who is that singing, they coaxed me into finishing the song which I did mostly because I didn't want to hear them screaming anymore and I'm not going to lie it was nice to have them quite for even just a moment. I love the power a single voice can have, especially when it doesn't have to yell.
When we arrived to the restaurant we walked in to discover three of the juniors up on stage dressed up and dancing/singing. It was fantastic! There was singing/dancing, reminiscing, gift giving and praises as well as goodbyes, charades, and even another tape off! Even though we couldn't understand 95% of what was going on it was so great to see that camaraderie seems to be a worldwide tradition. 
After the banquet a lot of our people decided to go out to Taipei, considering it was already late and a 30 minute taxi ride away a few of us just decided to stay local and go out with a few of our Taiwanese buddies. We went to a local restaurant ate some bread, had a few drinks, and just relaxed and enjoyed our time to breath! 
So there! Now I have thoroughly updated up until today and now I must sleep. Thank you guys so much for your prayers & thoughts and know that I love and think of you always!!

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