Sunday, May 12, 2013

18th Birthday Week

Well, once again I find myself on my birthday looking back and wondering where the time went. I'm no longer a "kid" and am "officially" an "adult." I put these in quotation marks because it doesn't really feel like anything has changed. I still have the same supportive parents who have given me the freedom to make my own decisions. I still have the same friends and the same sense of adventure that I suppose I've always had. I  have the same God who has always been and always will be there for me. 

That said, it was amazing to have two of my best friends over for my birthday--to celebrate, and to go on our first road trip without "adult supervision.";-) Ultimately, this turned into one of the best weeks of my life and probably my best birthday ever!

Noah and Bowen were scheduled to arrive at 11:30 pm, but their plane was delayed. They ended up switching airlines and getting in at 2:00 am. Needless to say we didn't get much sleep, but I was so glad the delay didn't mean we'd have to miss the trip and/or the concert. 

Ah, the open road! We loaded everything in the car, making sure we got the tickets in. About two hours down the interstate we realized we forgot the sandwiches we made. That was a bummer, but we were glad we forgot the sandwiches instead of something more important. We ended up stopping at Sonic for lunch instead.

We stopped for a quick break in Las Cruces, and I showed them NMSU. We went into the bookstore and looked around a bit. Just 30 miles more to El Paso!

We made it to our hotel around 4:00, got checked in, and tried to go swimming. I say tried because the pool heater was broken and the water was freezing. We swam for a few minutes but it was miserable, even though it was around 80 degrees outside.

We dried off and went out for dinner next door at Texas Roadhouse. We ordered up some cherry limeades and some big steaks. It was an expensive meal, but it was the perfect way to start the evening and we all pitched in. We even saved some leftovers which we had for lunch the next day.

We then took off for the concert at the Abraham Chavez Theatre in downtown El Paso. We took I-10, and were able to see Cuidad Juarez, Mexico across the river. It was definitely humbling to see such extreme poverty just in our own back yard. Definitely made me thankful for what I have and for the amazing opportunities I've been given!

We arrived at the theater, got parked, and went inside. We were going to buy some t-shirts, but there was a mob around the t-shirt stand and they were really overpriced. We decided to just wait and order some off of the website later. They let us into our seats around 45 minutes before showtime. 

A band called The Virgins opened the show. They were fairly talented, but didn't put much energy into their set. 

Finally after the roadies set up the stage, it was time for The Killers! They opened the set with Mr. Brightside, their biggest hit, and that set the tone for the rest of the show. The crowd was fired up, the entire band was on the top of their game and it didn't let up for the entire 90 minute show. I'm not sure I've ever seen a lead singer put as much energy into a performance as Brandon Flowers did that night--even in videos of other Killers shows.

After the concert, we went around back to try and meet the band. We found their really cool tour buses and watched the roadies load the equipment into several semi-trucks. We met Ted Sablay, their touring musician by the buses. He was really nice and let us get a picture. It was so cool that he really seemed to care about the fans!

The band had to rush off to a secret show at a bar, but we were able to watch them get into the van. We'll have to try again to meet them if we can make it to another show!

We had an uneventful drive back to the hotel, still a bit in awe at how awesome the show was.

We slept in and didn't wake up until after 10:00. We checked out of the hotel, hit Krispy Kreme for some doughnuts, and decided to drive back into El Paso to show Bowen downtown and the view of Mexico.

We decided to go to White Sands National Monument on the way back home, so I followed the signs from El  Paso to Alamogordo and White Sands. That was a mistake. The signs meant White Sands military base, not the monument. We ended up being turned around at a military checkpoint after we had already gone about 30 miles into New Mexico. I felt like an idiot for not checking the map, but we eventually found our way back to the interstate and to the White Sands monument

We decided to go back home through Alamogordo for a change of pace, so Noah took the wheel and we made our way back after we finished sledding at White Sands. We stopped for dinner at Arby's in Socorro, and made it back home around 8:00. We told my parents about our adventures and then finished the day with a Tim Hawkins DVD.

Wednesday and Thursday
I had to work both of these days, so not all that much happened. We played some poker, Wii, and watched some movies in the evenings.

Birthday! We got up and got the cheesecake in the oven. (Noah makes an awesome cheesecake) Then we went to Santa Fe to give Noah and Bowen a tour of the Plaza and to meet my dad for lunch at Bumblebee's Burgers. 

After we got home Noah cooked up some fantastic steaks for dinner. I came down with a really bad headache, so we had to postpone the cheesecake and movie to the next day.

We drove down to Route 66 and Old Town, then we went to see "Life of Pi" in 3D. It was an awesome movie! We came home, had some cheesecake, played capture the flag, and then went to the Stars football game. When we got home from the game we built a fire.

All good things must come to an end... But there's the promise of many more adventures ahead. Now it's time to get back to work to earn back the money I spent last week.=P

Sunday, May 5, 2013


It was one of the best weeks of my life....and one of the hardest. I feel like a success....and a failure. I feel like I did my best to glorify God....but that I also let pride have too much control. I'm excited to move on to college....but I'm really going to miss this people. What a roller coaster ride. And what an incredible journey it's been in speech and debate.

Being able to compete in Region 3 has honestly been one of the best experiences of my life. I've met many people and have rekindled friendships from the past, and I've grown so much through competing in Team Policy this year. Josh and I had our last debate round ever (more on that later) and I still can't quite bring myself to unpack the debate box, recycle the evidence, and put the flow pads back on the shelf. I know God had a reason for us not making it to nationals, but the hardest part for me is knowing that it's over...forever. No more great clashes of arguments, topicality presses, power-matching speculation, or anticipation while waiting for breaks to be announced. That ship has dropped me off on the shore and sailed off without me.

As hard as saying goodbye to debate was, saying goodbye to friends was harder. I'm thankful to be able to attend nationals with some, but most will not be there. Instead of seeing each other once a month, it could be many months or years before I see many of these people again... I might not ever see some of them again.

At the ballot party, I was talking with one of my good friends about how much it sucks to be a senior and to know this was my last Regionals. He said, "I never say goodbye to anything. I just say hello. Saying goodbye is too hard." That is so much easier said than done, but those are some of the wisest words I've ever heard. Hello college. Hello adulthood. Hello Andrew the alumni judge. Hello stronger friendships. Because I thank God the end of my speech and debate career doesn't mean the end of the fellowship with the people I've met.