Appreciating Home Anew, But Not Alone

I’ve been home from college for almost a month now, readjusting back into life living with my family, working as Nanny Annie, co-directing two productions at my high school, and digging into all the summer reading I want to accomplish. While I miss Dordt tremendously (only 62 days until I’m back on campus – but who’s counting?!?), it’s been a joy to re-experience all that makes Colorado my first home. Being away for a little while makes me appreciate Colorado’s quirks anew.

And, luckily for me, I don’t have to enjoy all this quirkiness alone. During this last semester, I found a friend in Jessica, who just graduated from Dordt this May.

Hold on. Me, an awkward freshman, friends with a senior? Is that normal? I don’t know about other schools, but on Dordt’s campus, friendships across grade levels aren’t uncommon. Because Dordt requires students to live on campus all four years, opportunities for valuable friendships and mentorships are possible. I’d sometimes spend my Sunday afternoons in Kuyper apartments baking cookies and watching sermons online. I’d wake up early on a Wednesday morning to go eat Mickey-Mouse-shaped waffles with friends who cook for themselves before a big day of classes. I’d head over to Southview apartments to have a late night prayer session with a mentor, or I’d find myself in East apartments getting ready for a theatre banquet with older friends there. Beyond hanging out on campus, though, I had a couple of upperclassmen take me out for coffee at the Fruited Plain simply to get to know me and encourage me in my pursuit of Christ. Wow. If upperclassmen lived blocks instead of a thirty-second walk away, these sorts of relationships wouldn’t be possible. I’m so grateful for Dordt’s intentionality in building Christ-centered community, and I’m so thankful for all my upperclassmen friends, especially Jessica.

Following graduation, Jessica and I took turns driving back to the CO – in a snowstorm that "welcomed" us into summer, I might add! Once safely home, though, we hit a few of the places that make Northern Colorado iconic: hipster coffee shops, the Greeley Mall, Rocky Mountain National Park, fudge shops in Estes Park, the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, and (my personal favorite), the Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory (where you're able to tour the factory that supplies all the Celestial Seasonings tea for the entire globe, sampling all the Celestial Seasonings flavors in production with a tea shot glass at a tea bar FOR FREE). Jessica and I spent time with my family, went to my home church, my favorite frozen yogurt shop, my favorite hike, and spent many a late night watching movies by a fire we built ourselves. Jessica got to see where/who I come from, thereby understanding me better; I got to spend a wonderful week with one of my best friends -- which was coveted, as she’s moving on to “the real world,” and I don’t know when I’ll see her in person next.

It was a rich week of rich relationship, to say the least, and I can’t wait to see what other adventures this first summer as a college students holds.

 -- Annie

 Jessica and I got up far too early for this more than worth it sunrise near Lily Lake in Estes Park.

Jessica and I got up far too early for this more than worth it sunrise near Lily Lake in Estes Park.

 Jessica and I celebrate after graduation. It truly was a lovely ceremony, and I felt so blessed to be there!

Jessica and I celebrate after graduation. It truly was a lovely ceremony, and I felt so blessed to be there!

 
 Jessica, my mom, and I show off our hairnets in anticipation of the Celestial Seasonings Tour -- it's worth sacrificing a little pride!

Jessica, my mom, and I show off our hairnets in anticipation of the Celestial Seasonings Tour -- it's worth sacrificing a little pride!