The Rolling Hills of Northeast Iowa

My friends and I have decided to make this whole ‘after-finals camping’ thing a tradition, since it was such a hit last year. As soon as exams are over, we empty out our rooms, stuff our cars to the brim, stock up on caf food, and drive to Chimney Rock campsite as the sun is setting. In the dim dusk light, we scope out a flat spot alongside the limestone bluffs and the Upper Iowa. This year, we found a beautiful spot on a soft bed of wild flowers. It was just magical, the way the last rays of sun burst through the trees and danced on the forest floor, stirring satisfaction and excitement in all of us. Summer was finally here.

We all eagerly explored the mini thickets of woods for kindling, and together we created a roaring fire. Most had something to share about another wonderful year together, and we all watched, hearts on fire, as they spoke, faces lit by the amber flames. Some laughed, some cried – some seemed relieved that the year was over. But one thing remained constant between all of us: we would definitely miss each other's company. Our worlds were about to change. Some would be taking three lab courses in the fall, some would be headed for Ecuador, or Austrailia, or Tanzania.

Sophomore year flew by in a flash. It’s been a busy, busy year. To be honest, I often felt like I was drowning in work. Don’t get me wrong - it was extremely rewarding. I accomplished a ton, and I learned a lot about myself on the way. But it certainly wasn’t as much of a social event as freshman year was. As one of my friends put it, "I made two of the hardest decisions I had to make in my life in just this year." Anyways, now that I feel like I finally have time to enjoy Decorah’s beauty, it’s time to go.

It's hard to accept the fact that many of us won’t see each other for a year. And for others of us (AKA, ME!), we’re already two thirds of our way done with our time on campus. This all terrifying news to me, because after Luther, I’m really no longer a kid! I still have no clue what I want to do with my life, and yet my youth is zooming before my eyes. As John Mayer says, “Stop this train!” But at the end of the song he comes to realize, he’ll “never stop this train”. And the best we can do is to make the most of what we’ve got in front of us.

The next chapter of my life is going to take place in Quito, Ecuador! Stay tuned for my adventures in “the most beautiful South American city”!

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