I spent Spring Break volunteering at the Carolina Tiger Rescue in Pittsboro, North Carolina. The 23 participants signed up because we are all softy-animal lovers and the trip had a very vague description. We ended up not cuddling with baby tigers while wearing safari print maxi dresses as cute animal loving men took candid pictures, providing us with 100+ like Instagrams for months. So this week was interesting. You can see pictures below and on my Facebook, but here is what I learned.
1. It is not state law to let drivers know when there are not any gas stations for over 30 miles.
So listen. I am with ya, kid. I always wonder what kind of idiotic person it takes to run out of gas. But this really was not my fault. If you've ever travelled to the Carolinas, you know that treacherous, obnoxious, winding stretch of road through the mountains in West Virginia. There is a toll right before it and after I paid my $2 to who or whatever that money goes to, my gas light came on. (By "my gas light", I mean the gas light on the Ford Expedition rental car I drove for over 30 hours in the past 7 days.) The gas light indicated 25 miles until empty. No problem, I'll just stop at the next exit. NOPE. 25 miles later, the digital gas-left-indicator-thing was at 0 and I was still going 80 on the highway. Oh. And peeing my pants. So I drive 8 more miles. EIGHT MILES. With actually no gas. Finally there is a sign for a Sunoco gas station. I pulled off the exit and I kid you not....I put the car in neutral and rolled down the hill to the station. I made it to a spot at a pump, turned off the car and said a quick prayer to God, Allah, Muhammad, Jesus, Mary, Buddha, and Meryl Streep. I ran into the station and IT WAS CLOSED. Like closed for good. Shut down. I was so sure the car wouldn't even turn back on, I was in bufu West Virginia with a car full of people I did not know and I had no data left to send a snapchat of my desperation! Long story shorter, I had to drive 5 more miles to the next gas station and we made it. But I barely escaped without wetting myself.
2. Do not eat Cracker Barrel chicken and dumplins on a road trip.
You will choke back vomit for approximately two hours. And it is not easy to make friends with your new road trip buddies when you are muttering through your teeth "DONT. SPEAK." and "DONT. LOOK. AT. ME."
3. I am a peanut butter brand snob
Give me Jif or give me death.
4. Just because it is March and only 65 degrees, doesn't mean you do not need sunscreen.
Says the girl who got h2t sunburns after laying on the beach for not even an entire afternoon. I was also wearing shorts and a tank top so I look like I am perpetually wearing white booty shorts and a "wife-beater" tank. (P.S. Who made up the name "wife-beater"....what an awful name.) I am currently molting like a snake. Sexy.
5. I can, in fact, down an entire pound of shrimp.
After the beach, I ate an entire pound of peel and eat shrimp. An entire pound. My 22 new friends were horrified. Blessed.
6. I'm really ready to be a soccer mom, apparently.
I drove this giant mom car around all week and lugged around 7 kiddos. (19-21 year old kiddos) And I made everyone put their muddy boots in garbage bags, stop for bug spray and sunscreen, and hydrate. I scared myself.
7. I have a chronic disease. It's called overdressitiditis.
Okay. I'm just trying to say that I am a chronic over dresser. I've always known this and it is hard to not be aware of it when your best friend is Lauren McGarr. (Lauren who owns more sweatpants than the entire UC Men's Football frontline combined.) For this trip, I brought "work clothes" and "fun clothes". I did not do a good job at packing either and I did not even notice until I arrived and other girls started throwing around phrases like "nice t-shirts" and "nice sweatpants". What are those things?!? T shirts are never nice!!!! STOP THE MADNESS. I also never wore any of the non t-shirts that I brought.....the non-t-shirts made up 90% of my suitcase. It isn't my fault though...I told you that I expected to get trendy, fabulous grams all week. Instead, I got instagrams in my fake times and mint rain jacket.
8. Always go with the fake timbs.
So I did a similar trip last Spring Break and bought these fabulous fake timberland looking steel toe work boots for like $19.99 at Walmart. On day one of this trip, I saw that all of the other girls were wearing old tennis shoes and A. I did not want to over commit and B. I had no idea what the day had in store. RAH-GRETS. It was muddy and wet and yucky and I ruined my shoes. Tuesday-Friday I wore the fake timbs and kept it fly and fresh.
9. Aloe lotion?!?! SORCERY.
Growing up as a Listerman, I've become an expert on all things sunburn care. I've had my fair share of sun poisoning, peeling and all other side effects of being pale and loving the sun. Growing up, we always used aloe gel. Effective, sticky, pungent, green. This week, I discovered aloe lotion and I've been changed. I want to bathe in it daily. Amen.
10. Water hydrates you faster when it is warm.
A fun fact I learned this week. I was bummed that my water was warm because I had to set my bottle in the sun, but I learned that it apparently was hydrating my body faster. Your body is able to hydrate quicker because the body does not need to work the warm it up first.
11. There is a window to learn peoples names and when it closes, you fifty shades of fudged.
Okay it is not my fault. 23 people is a lot and when you are never all together, it is hard to learn names. We got to like day three and there were a few people who had names that I could not even guess. You cannot ask after day three!! All you can do is avoid any situations where you would have to say their name. Which isn't possible. Then you look awkward. Sorry.
12. I find kinship with cons.
So we volunteered at this place and our supervisors were also volunteers but more experienced. You wanna know why? They were paroled cons serving their community service requirements. I loved them so much. I would not have survived the week without them and their antics. I do not know why I loved them so....maybe it is because I am scared to jaywalk.
13. Tigers are the greatest flirts.
We had to actually be warned that the tigers would look cute, rub their faces against the fence, bat their eyes and give us the look to tempt us to pet them. They apparently do it to draw you in and then they kill you or something, I don't know. Let me tell ya, resisting the cute flirty tigers was the hardest thing I have ever done. I wanted to touch their little noses and twitchy ears.
14. MOST IMPORTANTLY, I learned that there are two types of people in the world.
There are those who disagree and drag their feet through the mud and go kicking and screaming and there are those who just go with the flow because that is what you do when you are part of a group. I cannot handle those who do the latter. You do not need to find something wrong with everything, everyone and every situation. It is a sad way to live. No, it is a thick way to live. I say thick because that is how it felt to be around people like that. It feels heavy and thick. Like walking through marshmallow fluff. But not sweet and delicious. Just sticky and annoying and heavy.
15. It is crazy how quickly you can love people.
It actually terrifies me to the core how quickly we, as humans, (me) can love. I am not talking romantic love. I don't know NUTTIN bout that. I'm talking the love I feel for the 22 people I went on this trip with. I'm talking the love I feel for my Orientation family. I'm talking the love I feel for my best friends. It is scary how fast it happens. Is this normal? I've also learned that I love crazy people. Like batshit-do-Theresa-Caputo-Inpressions-for-6-minutes-straight crazy people. That's it. That's my friendship type. *pretends it isn't also her type-type*
Peace and love.
Happy end of Spring Break! Finish strong, eat a lot of mac and cheese, if and doubt, treat yoself and stay beautiful.