April 14

Happy April to you (our last month)! I’ve had some spectacular weekends lately going along with the spectacular weather! Also, the countdown to summer is getting deliciously low but I have been a bit ridiculous by writing down how many class days I have for each subject as well as tallying finals, studying, and anything else you can think of. Let’s just say I’m excited to fly back home proudly having completed my first year of college! Crazy.

Everything seems to be winding down: I just completed my last math assignment, last physics homework, last honors paper, and tomorrow is my last lab. But, before I get too excited too early (I do have 2 tests and 4 finals left after all!), let me tell you about the proverbial last two weeks:
The Christian Fellowship Club camping retreat was quite different than I expected. I don’t know why, but I just assumed there would be a big open area with sand and hot springs everywhere. I didn’t know FL could have so many trees and BUGS. The first car to arrive (including me) got eaten alive by gnats. Back home, they do no such thing… mosquitoes are the only major annoyance and even then, there’s usually not too many. We burned many ‘a fire to try to smoke the area out. Finally, relief arrived and we sprayed ourselves completely with deet-filled goodness. It worked! The rest of the days were spent getting burnt, snorkeling, finding beautiful shells, chasing vultures, eating s’mores, worshipping, talking, and discovering our inner pyromaniac. It wasn’t all that restful, but it was still a great time of fellowship and I’m so glad I went! (As I’m writing this over 2 weeks later, I’m finally completely recovered from the bites as well as the burn. Ha)

When we returned on Sunday, Campus Outreach had a barbeque social in the pits by McKay, so my friends from the floor and I went to investigate. We had a great time laughing and playing volleyball as the sunset disappeared.

The first half of the following week was quite busy doing homework and writing papers. But, because I was faithful, I was able to enjoy little fun things sprinkled in. For example, on Wednesday I went to a little island on the opposite side of the state with floor buddies in one of the guy’s Cessna. We took some great pictures and enjoyed the ride. It was wonderful because I had been missing flying so much! Later that night, we went to Patty Wagstaff’s talk. I’d honestly never heard of her before, but when I found out about her legacy, accomplishments, and spirit, I was so impressed and relished the amazing chance to take a picture with her, get an autograph, and hear her speak. She was the first woman to win the yearly national aerobatic competition and she did it 3 times. (Ironically, we saw her again at Sun ‘N Fun, but more on that later…)

Thursday was also great because I was able to sleep in and after doing some long studying and my daily exercise routine, I went to the nearby Volusia mall with Alex and a friend from Doolittle. We tried on dresses at Macy’s and had Dippin’ Dots. I also watched a chick flick that night and played a fun game called Viva Pinata… it was nice to be girly again after typically spending all my time with my two guy friends from the floor.

On Saturday, I was out in the sun yet again because of the CFC beach trip. We went to the beautiful Ponce Inlet and saw the lighthouse as we enjoyed riding the waves. I had a great talk with a friend I’d never really been able to chat with before. We all also enjoyed burying a fellow CFC member in sand. A huge storm warning was announced right as we were leaving, so it was perfect timing.

I did more homework before going to bed at a good time for church. After the service, several of us from Riddle and some others from Sovereign Grace met at Panera for lunch. I’d never been there before, so I was delighted to find how delicious and wonderfully French the whole experience was. I can’t wait to go back again sometime!

The rest of the day was study, study, study. I only had 5 days until the very last calc test and I wanted to do well. This mindset carried through the entire week. I pretty much just did homework, exercised, and studied. It paid off because I felt very confident about my test (Which ended up being 20% better than class average!!).

To celebrate, I went to Sun ‘N Fun which was just like its name suggested. It was a great bonding time with other CFC and floor friends. We had breakfast at Chick-Fil-A which provided a hilarious quote from our driving student: “… and can we get 5 orange juice pleases?” We all roared with laughter and continued along the drive-thru line. At the event, I learned a lot. Lunch was provided at the Embry-Riddle Alumni tent. The buffet even had coconut shrimp!! I couldn’t believe it! My favorite part of the day was, of course, the airshow. There are some amazing pilots out there! We stopped at good ‘ol Steak ‘N Shake on the way back and I realized that there was an ‘N in two of the places we’d gone.

So, now as the busy new week continues, I remember the fun times I had and slowly progress toward the end of my freshman year. It’s so close yet riddled (no pun intended) with tests and finals… With God’s help, I will make it through successfully. I can hardly wait to be relaxing at home with no agenda and no rigid schedule (at least for a week or so). Until next time… when I’ll only have 2 finals left before going home…

Natalie Ann



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